You may be looking for an online Learning Management System(LMS) for your learning institution or organisation. Here are the most important features that a LMS should have.
Any discussion or comparison of Learning Management Systems (LMS) will inevitably turn to features. They’re central to the entire system, yet only 39% of users rate their LMS features highly. What are the other 61% of users looking for that their systems aren’t providing?
There are almost as many answers as there are users. Check out Christopher Pappas’s post for a list of 99 LMS features that might be essential – or useless – depending on your needs.
Determining the must-have LMS features for you requires careful consideration of your needs and the goals of your training program. What sort of an organization do you represent? What form does your training take? What do you need the LMS to integrate with? Do you need e-Commerce? How will your needs change in the coming years?
This post will describe a series of key features a Learning Management System must have. After reading, you should have a better understanding of the features that are relevant to anyone comparing LMS solutions.
1. Ease of use
In a recent study, the Brandon Hall Group, a Human Capital Management (HCM) research and advisory services firm, found in 2016 that 44% of companies using an LMS are thinking about replacing them. The number one reason for changing is the search for a better user experience. Reason #2? A better administrative experience.
A good LMS interface is intuitive and user-friendly whoever the user. It should be quick to learn. After all, a series of courses on how to take a course is hardly how individuals and organizations want to spend their time, energy and resources. Ease of use is a must-have LMS feature for everyone.
What makes their LMS platform easy to use? And is it easier to use than the next LMS on your list of Google search results? Plus, with over a thousand LMSs (and features) to choose from, how will you know if you’re making the right choice?
By knowing what to look for! Let’s dive into the must-have features and functionalities of every easy-to-use LMS, starting with logging in.
A. Easy To Log Into
In a digitally driven world, keeping track of login details across dozens of accounts can be, well, painful. Still, passwords are necessary protection to keep trolls and hackers at bay. So, lucky for us, technology has introduced a little trick called Single Sign-on (or SSO, for short).
Instead of having to remember yet another username and password, SSO allows you to use your credentials from one account to log into a different account. Neat, huh? You’ve probably even experienced SSO before, like when you get to use your Facebook credentials to log into a new app.
Now, in the same way, learners get quick, convenient and secure access to learning management software. A single sign-on LMS is a truly easy-to-use LMS platform.
B. Easy to create courses/Classes
If yours is an easy-to-use LMS platform, creating and editing courses should be clear and simple. Of course, learning how to use any new platform takes time and practice—just some more than others.
With a user-friendly LMS, the learning curve should be relatively flat. In other words, by following a logical, easy-to-remember set of steps, anyone in your company is able to create online courses.
But knowing whether an LMS offers easy course creation can be tricky unless you hear it from existing or past customers. So, check out customer reviews of the LMS you’re considering, and look out for any warning signs that course creation is complex, time-consuming or best left to administrators and instructors.
C. Seamlessly Switchable
Oh, the roles you’ve played! Administrator, manager, instructor, and even learner. Switching between these roles, like when you need to view the LMS from a learner’s perspective, can be a user’s nightmare. Especially if your LMS requires you to log out and back in every time.
But, with an online Learning Management System, that’s easy to use, switching roles is effortless. Really, as little as two clicks! This saves time and energy and makes the User Experience all the better for it.
D. Offers Maximum Support
A good LMS support answers the questions you asked, not the ones you didn’t. Because a quick and simple resolution to problems is a large part of the LMS User Experience. And getting stuck on error messages, with little help beyond generic FAQs and support emails, adds a frustrating delay to your workflow.
An LMS that is easy to use comes with support that’s easy to find; and useful! The vendor’s support team should be clued up on all of the LMS’s features and functionalities, as well as customer training offered by the company.
Clear, simple self-help articles also go a long way toward saving users’ time. With a simple search, finding the LMS information you need means that you don’t need to spend time on the phone, or waiting for an email response. In short, the support you get from your vendor should leave you feeling like you’re in good hands.
2. Content management
When you compare LMS solutions, you will see that content management is a very basic, but necessary component of a learning management system. If you take a closer look some do it better than others.
Questions to ask include:
- Does the LMS support the latest international standards for eLearning? SCORM and Tin Can/xAPI are widely-recognized standards for eLearning content that are compatible with much eLearning software.
- Can you upload existing documents, videos and exams, and link learners to web content hosted elsewhere?
- Can your curriculum, learning materials and evaluations be organized into a meaningful and effective learning path? A learning path is the series of courses, events or learning experiences learners must complete to achieve a goal.
- Can learning materials and events be shared between courses or learning paths?
3.Support for mobile learning
Mobile learning is the delivery of training or education materials or learning support on a mobile device like a phone or a tablet. You may have heard about responsive design, designing online content to adjust to different screen sizes, but responsive design is just the beginning of mobile learning. Due to the demands surrounding the mobile format, mobile learning tends to be heavily interactive and delivered in short segments.
This ties in with the Brandon Hall Group study mentioned earlier, which found that mobile learning and interactive, social technologies are companies’ top priorities for the learning environment.
Another survey, this one by Software Advice, had similar results. It asked users for the most important LMS features for fostering learner engagement. The top request was for learning to be broken into multiple, smaller segments. Users also wanted more social engagement, with learners able to communicate through discussion boards.
4. Support for blended learning
LMS tend to be very effective at presenting and recording e-Learning, but what happens when the best way to learn is offline? You can learn all about the rules and theory behind soccer online, but at some point you need to get out and practice kicking the ball. Lectures, seminars, workshops, on-job demonstrations and opportunities to practice skills may all deserve a place in a training program.
In these cases, LMS support for blended learning is an must-have LMS feature. Offline learning events must be tracked, recorded and assessed along with online ones.
An extensive list of LMS features may be needed to effectively support offline learning:
- Can you register learners for classes, seminars, workshops and other events through the LMS? Can learners register themselves?
- Is there support for synchronous and asynchronous learning?
- Can eLearning and offline learning be combined in a learning path?
- Is there support for documenting and tracking offline or even external certifications and other qualifications? Can they be included in learning paths?
5. Testing and assessment
Flexible testing and assessment options are almost always considered important LMS features, although they’re not always available.
Think about how many of these features you might have use for:
- Does the system support pre-tests and post-tests?
- Are formative assessments supported, or must learners pass all evaluations?
- Online exam systems are ubiquitous, but how flexible is the system?
- Are all available questions asked, or can random questions be pulled from a test bank? From different topic banks? Weighted banks?
- Can multiple choice answers be randomized?
- What question types are supported: multiple choice, text entry, short answer, long answer?
- Does the LMS support both automatic and manual marking, or are users limited to one or the other?
- Can assignments and tests be weighted?
- Are learners’ complete assessment portfolios stored as long as necessary?
7. Reporting and tracking
Enhanced reporting capabilities was another need identified by the Brandon Hall Group Study. Key reports address learner progress, content quality and e-Commerce.When you compare LMS providers, consider reporting capability as part of the must-have features, and especially:
- Learning item reports: Reports on which learners have completed particular learning items and which learners have not.
- Learning path reports: Track learners’ progress through a learning path.
- Exam reports: A good LMS doesn’t just assess learners, it helps the organization assess the learning system. Exam reports analyze exam performance to help ensure the validity and accuracy of the exam.
- E-Commerce reports: Track purchases, revenues, the performance of marketing initiatives etc.
Security of data in the LMS is another must-have feature. An LMS holds not only the personal data of learners, but the learning material is usually proprietary or of commercial value.
- Sign-on is the first point of contact. Is it secure?
- How is sensitive data protected? Where is it hosted? What is the delivery method: cloud-based LMS vs on-premise?
- How are user authorizations handled? Which users can access what data? Many Learning Management Systems restrict the number of users who can be given administrator privileges, but this strategy often backfires. When people who have a legitimate need for access aren’t granted the necessary privileges, they often resort to sharing passwords, compromising the security of the entire process. Access becomes uncontrolled, and records of administrators? activities are no longer accurate. It’s better to choose a system that allows unlimited administrator roles so you can be sure your needs will be met in a controlled manner.
- How is data integrity maintained? It’s not just about who can see sensitive data; it’s also about who can change it. Data modification is another level of security.
7. Customization and branding
You’re proud of your brand and for good reason. It tells a story and unites your company with a cohesive theme. To represent your company well, an LMS should enable easy integration of your brand image. Use your own color scheme, layout, and logo to make the LMS yours. An LMS that allows branded content allows you to convey your image clearly through every step of the learning process. materials.
If you are looking for a LMS that have this features, you don’t have to look any further, we have developed an online Learning management system that have all this features. If you are interested you can book for a demo here or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org