LMS Overview: Key Learning Management System Features Olivia McGarry Published on October 10, 2019 Using a learning management system (LMS) streamlines training delivery. It makes the process seamless and minimizes the time spent on manual admin tasks. In a nutshell, it enables you to easily create, manage, and track training, all in one place. This LMS overview contains a list of the primary features your business needs to deliver corporate training to your employees, partners, and customers, and the benefits you’ll achieve from doing so. But first, let’s define exactly what an LMS is: "A learning management system (LMS for short) is a software application that is used to administer, track, report, and deliver training." Wikipedia Corporate LMS Overview Implementing a corporate LMS enables you to easily deliver any type of training to anyone inside, or outside of your organization. However, with hundreds of LMSs to choose from, it can be overwhelming to find the one that meets you and your learners’ needs, so where should you start? When looking for a new LMS, we suggest you focus on answering two core questions: Does it create a great user experience for our learners and admins? Does it have the features our business needs to deliver effective training? Depending on your organization’s specific needs, the LMS features you require will vary. While some need white-labelling, others are happy to stick with more basic branding features. To help you with your search, we’ve compiled a list of LMS features that are most wanted and used by organizations today. 10 must have LMS features 1. Course Management The main function of an LMS should be that you can easily deliver course content to your learners. Therefore, it's essential to get an LMS that makes course creation as simple and straightforward as possible. A great LMS lets you drag, drop, and arrange content into place, making it easy to create courses. On top of this, you need to be able to use multiple content formats - PDFs, slides, videos, audio, even live training sessions - mixing these together creates an engaging experience for your learners. Learner assessment is equally important. Knowledge checking your learners using assignments and exams is a great way to achieve this. And, on top of all this, you can gain insights, and get learner feedback, via LMS surveys. In addition to creating individual courses, a feature like Learning Paths is incredibly helpful as you can combine multiple courses together to create a path of courses that leads your learners straight to their training goals. 2. SCORM & xAPI Compliant SCORM and xAPI are the most popular ways to standardize learning content. So, with your LMS it’s critical it has the ability to upload SCORM and xAPI course files in an instant. The process should be intuitive to do. And your preferred authoring tool should be compatible with your chosen LMS so you can rest easy knowing that your files will work. 3. Learning Portals As your organization grows, you’ll inevitably have more learners and audiences to train. That’s where Learning Portals come in. They’re unique learning environments, like “mini” LMSs, that allow you to control, manage and deliver training to your employees, partners, and customers. You have one top-level portal from which you can control each of your sub-level portals. Once you add a learner to their respective portal, you can tailor the course content within that portal to meet their specific learning needs. You can also style each portal to suit your learning audience, by adding your brand colors, logos, and banner images. Managing your content at scale should be a fundamental element of any LMS too. And, by copying course content from one portal to another this is easily achievable. You can simply adapt and reuse training materials to save you admin time and centralize training for your whole organization. 4. Branding & White-labelling As an LMS is an extension of your business, it's key that it should reflect your brand and be recognizable to your audiences. So, when investing in an LMS, make sure you can quickly and easily upload your logo, banner image, and choose your organization’s brand colors to make the LMS your own. You can go a step further with white-labelling, an additional branding feature. It allows you to customize URLs, and remove any references to the LMS provider. And, as far as your learner is concerned, your LMS is just another part of your business. 5. Integration Your LMS should help you to automate your training and take time-consuming admin activities off your plate. By having a solution that integrates with the software you’re already using, like an HR system, CRM or webinar tool, you can automate actions, including user creation and access, data synchronization, enrollments, and more. With Single Sign-On (SSO), your learners only have to sign into one system, like Google Suite, and they’re securely logged into your LMS. Additionally, if the solution has a RESTful API or is connected to Zapier, this allows you to push and pull data directly into and out of your LMS. This can then be used to create and add users to groups, enroll them in courses, and send data back to third party systems - much less work for you! 6. Automation The LMS you pick should do the hard work for you - it should scale your training processes and cut training administration time. Here’s where automation comes in. LMS automation removes repetitive admin tasks enabling you to spend less time micromanaging training. Many LMSs will automate adding and removing users through integrating with your HR system or CRM. You can even set up auto-enrollments based on criteria that assigns your learners to the right courses or learning paths. Keeping learners up-to-date on their training is another vital action, especially if the course is mandatory. Therefore, you need an LMS that sends triggered notifications via email. These let learners know about assigned courses and remind them of approaching due dates, and any other activities they need to be aware of in the LMS. 7. Learner Experience Having a learner-friendly platform that’s easy to access, engaging, and simple to use is crucial for creating a great learner experience. Learning needs to be effortless for your learners; you want them to spend their time training, not learning how to use your LMS. Any good LMS should make it easy to access training and responsive on any device. Whether they’re commuting to work or waiting in line for a coffee, your learners need to be able to complete training anywhere, at any time, on any device. You can also support learners and show them that learning is a priority by making additional training, outside of their assigned or mandatory courses, available to them. You can encourage learner autonomy by providing a catalog of courses from which they can self-select, and self-direct their learning. 8. Gamification Gamifying learning also creates an engaging learning experience. It sets clear goals, milestones, and recognizes achievements which motivate your learners. You’ll find gamification elements like badges, points, and leaderboards in an LMS. Badges and points can be customized to match your brand’s look and feel. And, having a learner leaderboard adds an element of healthy competition to completing training, further engaging learners. 9. Forum A great training experience encourages your learners to share their learning experiences and knowledge gained from training. It also nurtures communication between trainers and learners. And you can facilitate this communication through an LMS forum. It creates a space where learners can support, and learn from, each other, and acts as a repository that learners can search to find additional training information that’s helpful to know. It’s a great tool for nurturing your organization’s learning culture. 10. Reporting Reporting is one of the most valuable LMS features. After all, if you don’t know how your training is performing how can you know the impact it’s having? LMS reports should contain digestible data on user progression, survey responses, exam results, training histories, and more. It’s also helpful to be able to export and schedule reports so they’re sent straight to you or your stakeholders inboxes. You can then analyze these reports to identify trends within your courses, highlight opportunities to improve your learners’ experience and the impact your training programs are having. It also gives your organization valuable insights into what your learners want to learn, and how they prefer to learn. For example, you might have a lot of written content, but notice that webinar and video-based courses get a higher engagement rate. Armed with this knowledge, you can create more visual courses to meet your learners’ needs. What LMS features does your organization need? We haven’t covered every single feature you can expect to find in an LMS here. This LMS overview focuses primarily on the features you’ll need to make delivering corporate training efficient and simple to do. Your preferred LMS should save you time by centralizing and scaling training management while reducing the cost of delivering training to your employees, partners, and customers. And most importantly, it should allow you to accurately track exactly how your training efforts are performing so you can identify the courses that are succeeding as well as those that need improvement. Start by identifying the training objectives your organization wants to achieve with an LMS and work back to the features you’ll need to meet them. Do you have any questions on these LMS features? Or any others that you think we should feature in this post? Let us know in the comments below.