Learning Management System: Definition, Benefits, and Shortfalls
Learning Management System (LMS) popped up in the 1990s to help students manage their assignments and facilitate e-learning. In recent years, they have become popular in the business. LMS are frequently used to train new employees and get them acquainted with company practices. Spekit serves as an integration with traditional LMSs, enabling businesses to implement employee self-training and achieve quicker results than they would using an LMS on its own. With Spekit’s in-app learning and content creation features, employees can go from novices to masters in no time.
What is a Learning Management System (LMS)?
So what is a learning management system? A learning management system (LMS) is a software application that hosts and delivers educational materials.In some contexts an LMS may be referred to as a learning experience platform (LXP). Learning management systems are useful for a number of purposes, including onboarding and analysis.
LMSs usually consist of two parts: an admin interface and a user interface. Managers use the admin interface to organize and set up their learning materials. The user interface is what users see and interact with. An LMS allows you to build online learning materials and share them with employees and partners in a quick, efficient way. You can also monitor their progress and see how they’re performing in different areas, much like a teacher tracks the progress of her students.
Businesses of all types and sizes use LMSs, as they are exceptionally helpful in delivering e-learning content to broad audiences, whether they’re working remotely or onsite. An LMS system may be used to sell courses, train employees, and everything in between. A platform like this can help you deliver quality educational content, regardless of your industry. These are just some of the reasons that LMSs have become so widely-used.
Of course, one of the best uses for a learning management platform is employee training and onboarding. LMSs are especially helpful to businesses with remote and hybrid employees. LMSs allow employees to learn from home— and complete courses and training on their own time, in their own way.
How Do Businesses Use LMS?
LMSs have multiple use cases. They are used by businesses of all sizes, as well as government agencies and educational institutions. Here are some of the most common ways that businesses today use LMS platforms.
One of the most common uses of LMS platforms is employee onboarding. This can be especially useful for remote employees, as they’re often unable to come into the office for traditional onboarding activities. With an LMS, employee onboarding can be made much more flexible, allowing for employees to complete tasks on a timeframe that’s better aligned to their schedules.
Rather than having to come into the office at a certain time for a given period of time, they can simply log into the LMS platform and get things done at their own pace. This can be a great way for them to get to know more about the company and access materials as they need them.
An LMS can also provide ample employee training opportunities. Learning management systems help streamline and automate the training process, making it easier for employees to access required resources in a more timely, organized way. Like onboarding, employees training through a learning management system often have more flexibility in terms of how and when they complete tasks and learning modules.
Employees can feel more empowered by using an LMS, as these platforms allow them to take greater control of their own learning. Learning management systems can also help make training fun. Managers can implement games and other interactive content to help keep users engaged. Your employee training process doesn’t have to be boring.
In fact, with an LMS, it can be fun. Enabling users to go at their own pace and track their progress is essential to creating an effective training program. It can also be helpful to allow employees to go back and review the assignments they’ve completed. LMSs make this possible.
In addition to employee onboarding and training, LMSs can be used with sales enablement to assist with sales onboarding and equip sales teams with the knowledge and resources they need to hit their targets. An LMS platform can also help them with product launches and sales skills training.
Training is an important aspect of sales because it helps teams improve client interactions and close more deals. Sales training through an LMS, gives salespeople a roadmap to success and gives them the freedom and flexibility to complete tasks in a way that’s better suited to their work and life responsibilities. As a result, LMS can help both remote and in-office workers complete their training and level up their skills in a more flexible time frame.
This is yet another example of how LMSs can be great for remote employees, as well as in-office workers that want to complete training and grow their skills in an adaptable time frame.
Employee Development and Retention
While onboarding and training are crucial to setting employees up for success, it’s equally as important to ensure their continued development. This is why an LMS is frequently used to inform employees of product releases, process changes, and updates. Employees can receive ongoing tips and training to help them stay on track and aware of new policies, resources, and announcements. Your employees shouldn’t feel that they’re totally left to fend for themselves once they’ve completed their onboarding and initial training. You want to show them that you’re committed to their learning for as long as they’re with you.
Employee retention is an important, but often overlooked use case for LMS platforms. Onboarding new employees is only half the battle—you also need to work at keeping them engaged. LMS activities can help them stay involved and promote their development. Consider using your LMS for employee retention and additional training to nurture their growth and the value they bring to your business.
Benefits of Using an LMS
The benefits of using a learning management system are extensive. The following are some of the top reasons businesses use LMS.
Reduce Training Costs
Because LMS platforms are designed to be used independently, businesses can save money by having their employees train onlines instead of learning in person. For instance, in some training programs, hired experts come onsite to teach employees. With an LMS, employees can complete training through a centralized, uniform system, eliminating many, if not all costs associated with onsite training.
Improve Training Consistency
LMSs allow businesses to store and organize all their big data in a single location, promoting consistency in training. Manual or traditional training makes tracking employee progress a challenge, especially if they’re in different locations and are being trained by different people.
Enable Remote Employees
LMSs enable remote employees to perform to the best of their abilities. Learning management systems enable them to receive the same training that onsite employees receive, regardless of whether they step foot in an office. Further, LMS platforms offer a great deal of flexibility, allowing remote employees to complete training items by a specific date, when they want, according to their schedule.
Boost Learner Engagement
With today’s various tools and technologies, employees expect a more interactive onboarding and training experience. Learning management systems can help make learning fun and allow users to track their progress. Some businesses may also choose to gamify certain aspects of their LMS, promoting engagement and getting employees excited about what they’re learning.
Increase Knowledge Retention
LMS platforms allow users to review what they’ve learned and revisit content as needed. Unlike with an in-person lecture, users can easily find what they need with an LMS, much like how you can skip to a favorite part of a movie. As a result, knowledge retention rates can increase by as much as 60% with e-learning, which is why LMS are popular among businesses that want their employees to absorb and retain content.
Provide Individualized Learning Paths
Contrary to popular wisdom, one size does not fit all, especially true for learning. People learn at different paces and in different ways, and an LMS platform can make it easier for employers to provide personalized learning paths for workers. In addition, learning management platforms and systems can often be customized to fit the needs of individual businesses and employees, helping to facilitate learning on a personal scale.
Increase Employee Satisfaction
Flexibility is the main reason LMSs tend to increase employee satisfaction. In today’s busy world, workers appreciate completing training and onboarding in a way that suits their lifestyle. Online learning can also be more convenient for employees, especially remote workers. As a result, they are happier with the training process and their work in general.
Track Progress and Performance
Training is ineffective if it does not provide actionable feedback and insights on employee performance. LMS platforms often provide real-time feedback so that employees don’t have to wait for formal assessments. Instead, they can complete an activity and receive feedback almost instantly. That way, they can make incremental changes as they go.
Increase ROI on Training Programs
An LMS can help you get the most out of your training program—LMS use has risen substantially in recent years, indicating that more and more businesses recognize the value of these platforms. Your LMS of choice can help you provide better training, ensuring that the knowledge employees gain sticks.
Main Types of LMS
There are many different types of LMSs, but some are better suited to certain tasks than others. Here’s a quick breakdown of some of the main types of LMS platforms.
By Deployment Model
LMS platforms vary by deployment model, or the way in which they’re built and delivered. The following are some of the most common types of LMS platforms by deployment model.
- Cloud-Based LMS: A cloud-based LMS is hosted on the cloud. These are often made available through third-party applications and include scalable options, meaning that users can pay for what they need—they don’t have to overspend on features and storage that they don’t use. For the most part, cloud-based LMS can be accessed by anyone with an internet connection, whether they’re working from the office or anywhere else. As such, they’re a great option for remote or hybrid teams, or anyone that requires easy, yet secure access to training materials.
- SaaS LMS: Most cloud-based LMS platforms operate under a SaaS model, where businesses pay to use the software hosted by other companies. LMS SaaS providers usually offer different tiers and packages, depending on how much or how little you need to use. You can purchase whatever tools and features your organization requires, which is why the SaaS model is generally considered to be among the most flexible in terms of price.
- Self-Hosted LMS: The primary difference between a self-hosted LMS and a cloud-based or SaaS LMS is that businesses install and manage self-hosted platforms on their own servers. While this added layer of responsibility can prove challenging, it can also provide greater flexibility. You can customize and modify different elements of the platform to fit your business needs. Self-hosted options are great for those with the time and expertise to maintain them, and can be modified to your preferences to an extent that other LMS options can’t.
- Private Cloud LMS: With a private cloud LMS you get access to a private LMS. Like self-hosted LMSs, you are responsible for managing the system, but they aren’t as open as typical cloud-based platforms. Private cloud options are usually highly customizable and can integrate with your existing infrastructure.
By Industry and Use Case
In addition to the deployment model, LMSs vary by industry. These are the main learning management system types by industry and use case.
- Corporate LMS: A corporate LMS describes any LMS platform that is used in the business world to train employees. These LMSs often include information on compliance, remote training, onboarding, and sales enablement.
- Education LMS: Education LMSs are used in schools to promote student learning. Students can view and attend courses through an LMS platform, as well as gain access to instructional materials and grades. In essence, they’re similar to corporate LMSs, except their emphasis is on academic learning, not training and onboarding.
Key Features to Look For in the Best Learning Management Systems
LMSs vary in terms of features and capabilities. While you should aim to find an LMS that’s most compatible with your business objectives, there are a few key features to look for, regardless of your industry or specific company goals.
A platform that’s difficult to use defeats the purpose of having an LMS in the first place. When searching for an LMS for your business, you should prioritize an intuitive user interface above just about anything else. If your employees can’t make sense of the LMS or can’t easily access their training materials, they won’t be too thrilled about having to go through the process, and this can hinder their learning and suppress motivation.
A good LMS should not only allow for mobile use, but provide an optimized interface by which users can access items in a hassle-free way. More and more people are starting to work from their smartphones. They aren’t glued to their computers, and so it’s important that they be able to complete training and view their progress on the go. Mobile-friendly LMSs make it possible for them to gain quick and easy access to training and onboarding materials.
It can be helpful to have an LMS that automates certain tasks and procedures, especially those that are repetitive and time-consuming. Your LMS can automate these tasks so that you have more time to spend on other things.
Gamified LMS features are a great way to increase employee engagement and get workers excited about the training process. It can also help foster some healthy competition and help employees get to know each other. Popular gamification elements include leaderboards and badges.
The importance of being able to easily access materials should not be overlooked. While it can be easy to get caught up in all the bells and whistles of an LMS, you shouldn’t lose sight of the basics, and that includes—perhaps first and foremost—the ability for employees to navigate the platform.
Ideally, your chosen LMS system will allow for collaboration. It’s important to keep employees engaged with the training, and one of the best ways to do so is by providing collaborative opportunities. This can also tie into gamification.
Personalized Learning Experiences
Perhaps most notably, an LMS can help standardize the training process. That said, it is also important to offer personal touches here and there. You can personalize the experience for employees by leveraging AI and uncovering the best ways to meet their individual needs.
Built-in authoring tools allow you to create content directly within the LMS. This is often easier than having to build elsewhere and transport your materials into the system.
Microlearning may be thought of as “bite-sized” learning, and it can be a great way for employees to learn and absorb information in an easily digestible way. A good LMS should allow for the deployment of small bits of information.
Support For Multiple Content Types
You should look for a learning management system that’s compatible with many different types of content. You want to be able to scale and diversify your content as you grow, so it’s important to ensure that your system can handle various content types.
It should go without saying that a learning management system should allow for course management. You should be able to easily make changes to your courses within the platform.
Being able to assess employee learning is one of the most important features of an LMS. Your LMS of choice should enable you to track their progress and perform assessments to gain deeper insights.
Analytics and Reporting
Along with assessment tools, a good LMS will provide regular reports and analytics letting you know how well employees are performing on their training. These reports can show you where they’re struggling and may need some extra assistance.
Security has become top of mind for many businesses, and you don’t want your LMS to compromise the security of your data. It’s a good idea to look for a system that emphasizes user privacy.
It’s important to find an LMS that offers third-party integration capabilities. For instance, Spekit integrates with Slack and allows users to create knowledge bases. In this way, Spekit can complement your LMS by enabling you to integrate with another platform to provide maximum value to your employees.
The Problem With Traditional Learning Management Systems
Learning management systems have undoubtedly transformed the corporate training process for the better, but they still have their downsides. One of the significant drawbacks of traditional LMSs is that they often fail to provide contextual learning experiences. As a result, LMSs are still “destinations” where people need to seek information.
In other words, LMSs cause friction because employees need to leave their workflows to log into a separate system. As a result, this slows them down, cuts into valuable selling time, and distracts them from finding the knowledge they need in the now.
Just-in-time learning delivers contextual content to employees whenever, wherever they need it. Employees do not have to remember passwords, open separate tabs, or exit the tools they’re in to get answers.
Another benefit of just-in-time learning is smaller, more digestible bits of information. LMSs serve large chunks of information that aren’t helpful for immediate, real-life scenarios or situational learning. Having to trawl through dense company wikis can frustrate employees with the training process. And, when they can’t find what they’re looking for quickly, they’ll seek alternative solutions to their questions, which can involve distracting others. That’s why you see what would have been a self-service question repeated time after time on Slack and in emails.
Future LMS training programs will need to show employees how to apply information rather than dump it on them and expect them to memorize it. Spekit helps users with contextual, in-app tools that promote more effective short-term applications and long-term learning.
Give Your Employees a More Contextual Learning Experience
There are many benefits to using an LMS, but accessibility and ease of use are at the top. Employees prefer online training systems because they provide greater flexibility and allow them to keep track of their progress. However, having your learning materials online isn’t enough. Businesses need flexibility and the ability to react to fast-evolving situations. Contextual, just-in-time learning and delivery allows them to do that.
The Spekit LMS integration can elevate the corporate LMS experience through just-in-time and contextual, embedded learning. Spekit offers solutions for multiple use cases, including Salesforce adoption, sales enablement, employee onboarding, and training. Most importantly, it extends the capabilities and value of the LMS you’re using or plan to use.