Learning Management System (LMS): Characteristics, Functions and Benefits
A Learning Management System (LMS) is a software application that is used to plan, deliver, publish and place self-paced online courses in online catalogs. Employees login to the LMS by using a browser. They can select courses from the online catalog and begin their online study. Alternatively, a manager can assign courses to employees based on their learning needs.
An LMS allows managers and administrates to track course completions, current status or performance of employees. In fact, all employee activities in the LMS can be tracked that could be useful for performance evaluation, competency management and other related functions.
Features of an LMS
An LMS today is a one-stop shop of hosting, assigning, managing, reporting and evaluating eLearning courses. It can be used for a variety of educational, deployment and administrative purposes. So, if we were to list down what you can do with an LMS, they would be as follows.
- Managing users, courses, roles, instructors, and generating reports:This includes uploading courses, assigning roles, recommending courses and generating various reports.
- Making a course calendar:This is a feature that enables LMS users to view the available training programs or courses at one glance. As a result, they can send requests for registrations to those that they are interested in easily.
- Messaging and notifications by learners:You can send reminders and notifications to employees on upcoming training events or deadlines. You can also use the forum to promote existing eLearning courses to encourage more registrations to your courses.
- Assessments that can handle the student's pre/post testing:You have assessments uploaded which can serve as a follow up to classroom training programs. You can also have diagnostic assessments to assess the level of knowledge of employees and assign suitable level to them.
- Certification and display employee scores and transcripts:In one location, you will be able to access employee scores and transcripts and maintain an ongoing record of the performance of the individual. You can also certify employees who have successfully completed courses.
Functions of LMS
LMS allows administrators and managers to perform several important functions in an organization. Broadly speaking, the following are some of the functions that prove to be invaluable to LMS administrators and L & D managers.
- Competency Management:With this, one can track and manage the skills and abilities of an organization's staff and compare them against their business goals. This includes performing skills gap analyses and recommending prescriptive learning solutions to correct gaps in the skill base of the organization. It is advantageous to organizations, since it is timely and cost-effective.
Making a Course Calendar:This is a feature that enables LMS users to view the available training programs or courses at one glance. As a result, they can send requests for registrations to those that they are interested in easily.
- Instructor-led Course Management:This functionality is time-saving and efficient, since it has a single, centralized tracking system. For this reason, it is preferred. Check this blog to learn more about how an LMS can support your traditional training activities.
- Tracking and Reporting:It provides a wide range of standard and custom summaries and detailed reports, so that the learner may view his average test scores, final test scores, single user report, company log-In record, summary of overall tests taken, etc. Here is a blog that gives more details about the type of information that an LMS can track.
- Administration:This helps facilitating the ways and means of getting enrollment approval, individual and batch registration, verifying prerequisites, etc.
Benefits of LMS
LMS has proved to provide invaluable services to LMS administrators. To list down briefly, it provides the following benefits and hence is very popular with L & D managers. It is fairly easy to use and can be easily customized to suit the training workflow of the organization. Some of the open source LMSs are easy to expand with increase in your learner base. They also can be upgraded, based on the changing training requirements of your organization. Now-a-days, it is possible to set up a multi-lingual LMS that can be accessed by your employees across different geographical regions. Here are some ways an LMS can prove beneficial to your organization.
- It provides immediate training access. Employees can log in and access training content instantly and that too as per their convenience. Knowledge or skills can be updated as and when required, reducing skills gap.
- It does away with any training lag time from new employees. You don’t have to wait for a group to form to train new employees. Every single employee can get integrated into the organization as and when they join. This ensures their time is well utilized and they align themselves with organizational needs quickly.
- It provides on-time delivery for new product training. Sales people can be updated about new products almost simultaneously across the world. This ensures quicker introduction of products in the markets, resulting in a competitive edge.
- It reduces delivery costs for each course and can train more employees. Courses are developed once, but can be used over and over again. Over a time period, the cost of delivery for each course is dramatically reduced. This is particularly true in organizations where there is high turnover.
- It gives organizations more value for their training investment. With the help of eLearning curricula, employees can be trained in greater depth over a period of time. This ensures better learning, which will translate into better performance, resulting in better business outcomes.
If you are still not convinced about the benefits of an LMS, check out this presentation that might bring other interesting aspects into the forefront.