LMS: The Ultimate Guide (2022)
- Chapter I: What is a LMS?
- Chapter II: Key features of an LMS
- Chapter III: LMS, LCMS, LXP : what is the difference?
- Chapter IV: LMS History & Trends
- Chapter V: The role of LMS in companies today
- Chapter VI: Uses of the LMS
- Chapter VII: The advantages and disadvantages of an LMS
- Chapter VIII: How to choose an LMS?
- Chapter IX: How to organise your LMS training?
- Chapter X: What is the future for LMS?
Learning Management Systems (LMS) have established themselves in the world of professional training and e-learning for several decades now. Today, the LMS is the preferred choice of companies and an essential part to their training. It can manage and analyse learner data in order to optimise their learning path, by offering simplified e-learning or blended learning courses via a single platform.
The use of such a tool has become a priority for companies looking to go digital. Whether small, medium or large, digital learning is fundamental to a companies' culture and supporting employees in developing their skills. This platform allows companies to monitor the development of their employees while reducing training costs. As a result, learners are involved in the process and in the organisation.
Let's discover together what the acronym means, why it is so widely used, how to choose one, what its advantages and disadvantages are, and many other topics. Although the LMS is widely used, its range of software has only expanded recently with the remote-working boom. Now, LCMS, LXP and LRS are getting in the way of the LMS. So, how do we differentiate between them? And what does the future hold for the LMS?
What is an LMS?
LMS, or Learning Management System, is an online platform that allows learners to access training modules while creating dedicated and personalised learning paths for their needs. The learners belong to a virtual community, which reinforces the sense of belonging to the corporate culture. The trainers and tutors deliver training content to the learners. It is then possible to evaluate the effectiveness of the training offered using a number of tools.
Definition of LMS
L for Learning
The "L" in LMS stands for learning. The LMS is a platform that creates and delivers learning materials to learners using an IT tool. The course material is unique to the company, enabling the organisation's internal expertise to be reinforced.
M for Management
The "M" in LMS stands for management. Management is fundamental in a company. In the LMS, management consists of managing and organising the proposed training module. It is then possible to organise learners and their results, and the effectiveness of the learning platform itself.
S for System
The "S" in LMS stands for system. The LMS is itself a system, or rather, a software for the benefit of learners and their development. The advantage of the system is that the platform allows recurrent tasks such as marking and reporting to be automated.
Access and hosting of the LMS
Who has access?
Two groups have access to the LMS:
LMS rollout: The different types of LMS
There are two types of LMS:
- Hosting the LMS on its own servers: this allows the company to fully manage its training and customise it according to the needs of the learners and the company. However, this option is costly, particularly because a complete team is needed to carry out technical maintenance (recruitment, security, back-up, etc.).
- Hosting the LMS on the cloud in SaaS mode: the data is stored on the LMS provider's computer servers. The supplier is then responsible for the complete management of the LMS (operation, data storage). The company therefore does not have to deploy any infrastructure, which in turn, reduces costs. It is also easier for learners to use the LMS, as they do not have to download any software and the LMS is accessible via the cloud.
What is the purpose of an LMS?
With an LMS, it is possible to create training courses and monitor the progress of learners, particularly with the help of exams. In an LMS, you can create training courses, manage materials, provide content, and monitor and develop the training system at any time. All training is managed within the company itself to support its learners. The usefulness of an LMS platform depends on the company's needs. The LMS can evolve according to the company's expectations and acquire new functionalities when necessary. Learners can access training whenever they want, from wherever they want, and on any device.
An LMS allows for flexible, adapted, and fun learning, particularly through gamification and social learning.
Why use an LMS?
Who uses LMS'?
The LMS is an educational tool that can be used by companies for professional training, but also by schools, universities and other organisations. In reality, the use of an LMS simply depends on whether the organisation is willing to make learning a priority. The functionality of an LMS depends on the software you decide to adopt. Some software has basic functionality, such as course design, tracking, educational diversification, while others may have built-in reporting systems or certification systems.
Whether small, medium or large, all companies need a learning management platform to cover different training needs.
Interconnection of the LMS
The LMS, in addition to being an essential tool for professional training, has a significant functionality. The LMS can also be interconnected with certain internal company tools to meet the company's needs. Training management is optimised and more efficient by interconnecting, for example, the company's HRIS. The HRIS collects data on employees within the company, such as departures or holidays, which makes it possible to know more about the employee and their needs.
Key features of an LMS
The Learning Management System is an adaptive digital learning tool that supports companies' e-learning strategies. It is becoming increasingly widespread and allows learners to access a personalised training program online. What is the purpose of this? To help you achieve your training objectives and optimise learning management.
What are the functions of an LMS?
Simplifying access to learning
Learners can access the Learning Management System whenever they want with mobile learning. To meet accessibility needs and adapt to the hyperconnected usage practices of employees, the LMS is available on several digital media platforms (smartphones, tablets, computers). Learners can continue their training course whether they are on the move, in the street, or in the office.
In addition, the LMS allows learners to target the modules that interest them; whether in the field of marketing, accounting or e-commerce etc. They can therefore access a multitude of resources by connecting to the system, and instantly train online on the chosen subject.
The simple and user-friendly nature of the LMS makes it appealing to learners, who can quickly find the content of their choice.
The LMS offers learners and companies a tool that aims to facilitate access to the educational journey of each learner, regardless of where they are and what they wish to learn.
Managing training-related data
Another function of the LMS is the possibility of centralising and organising the content of its online training. The LMS allows the company to bring together all the modules and activities of learners in a single tool. By using the LMS, the company can create its own training courses. It has the possibility of integrating its courses directly into the platform as it wishes. The company's resources and knowledge are therefore available on the same tool and can be updated at any time.
The company can access the LMS's memory system to view the participants' usage data (connections and module completion).
Finally, the Learning Management System analyses learners' performance indicators using reporting systems (league tables for example). The company can use the LMS' data to evaluate the progress of learners throughout the course, and improve the format and content of the training.
Increasing learner engagement
The LMS promotes learner interest by integrating tools to assess their skills, such as fun quizzes.
This functionality is based on an adaptive learning method, i.e. a personalised learning path that guides learners. They earn rewards or badges that certify success in an exam or quiz. In turn, learners' motivation is maintained.
The Learning Management System also has the function of developing learner engagement. The trainer can set up a feedback system allowing LMS users to make suggestions or remarks. By analysing this feedback, the trainer can optimise the training course and implement improvements to facilitate the learner's user experience.
Encouraging collaboration between users
The Learning Management System is based on a social learning method. The aim is therefore to develop collaboration between learners.
Users can find several social learning support tools on the LMS:
- A conversation (chat like) space that allows learners to ask questions or share their knowledge
- Meeting spaces for bringing together a group of several users: these spaces dedicated to group work promote team spirit and collaboration between users
- A space that brings together knowledge useful to the training course. Learners can also share their resources with each other
- News feed
- A space dedicated to sharing photos
LMS features: for the company VS the learner
An LMS is made up of two interfaces, the administrator interface for the trainer who creates and customises the content, and the learner interface.
For the company
- Personalise and adapt the training course to each user: according to their level, their needs, their progress
- Manage access to content based on the user's profile: quickly create new access adapted to the user's role. For example, it is possible to give greater access to certain experienced users who can modify the course management parameters.
- Engage employees and build long-term interest
- Identify user habits to optimise their learning paths
- Analyse learners' progress through the learning modules: with reports on their activities and success in assessments, participation percentage, etc.
- Successfully onboard new talent by offering them personalised courses, under the supervision of a trainer (presentation of the company culture, job-specific instructions, etc.)
For the learner
- Develop new technical and soft skills with the LMS
- Access to online training through different media (mobile learning)
- Benefit from engaging and personalised content (videos, gamification, collaboration tools)
- Receive certifications and rewards when passing an assessment: badges, awards, etc.
- Interact with trainers and other users with the LMS tools: meeting and discussion space, online messaging
- Be supervised and guided throughout the learning process: via the resource spaces (practical info, tutorials) and discussion areas. The learner therefore feels neither isolated nor left to their own devices.
LMS, LCMS, LXP: what is the difference?
The market for Learning Management Systems has expanded rapidly in recent years, especially following the pandemic. Most companies have equipped themselves with an LMS, or LCMS and LXP. All these acronyms are a real headache, but we will help you differentiate them and allow you to equip yourself with the tool that will best meet your needs. Take your pens out!
What is an LXP?
LXP, or Learning Experience Platform, are platforms that allow learners to train in a completely personalised way. This platform has been in circulation for 5 years in response to a lack of satisfactory user experience on platforms like the LMS. For many companies, an LXP surpasses an LMS.
The LXP is an adaptive learning tool, and by analysing the performance of learners, it is possible to know the individual needs of employees and to personalise their training path. For this, it is necessary to evaluate the learners, collect as much information as possible, and to make personalised recommendations. The user experience is only improved. The features offered by an LXP can be inserted into the LMS to improve this famous user experience. However, an LXP can be completely independent and exist on its own.
What is it used for?
The LXP is a platform that has many features that make an employee more engaged in their skill development. This is particularly possible with an LXP, as it offers varied teaching formats and microlearning using gamification. The great quality of an LXP is to use artificial intelligence (AI) to analyse the behavior and data of the learner, and recommend training courses customised to their needs and objectives.
- Learners are engaged and motivated in their progress
- Educational material as varied as it is fun (micro-content and personalised suggestions)
- Much more intuitive data automation
- Platform in itself very engaging (in the form of a Netflix of training)
- Increased business performance
LCMS stands for Learning Content Management System. In reality it is an LMS + an authoring tool. The authoring tool, in addition to the LMS, makes it possible to create tailor-made learning materials. It is then possible to create training, assessments, and automate tasks related to training. However, the LCMS alone does not allow to broadcast learning content. It is a software to manage distance or blended learning.
- Manage content
- Create teaching modules
- Centralise training
- Simplify and optimise training content
And the LMS in all this?
Despite the many advantages of the LMS (see chapter 7), there are some limitations with this learning management platform having been on the market for 30 years now:
- The user experience is not very engaging
- Adaptive learning is not really possible
- Knowledge transfer is top-down
- Reporting is limited (completion rate, time spent, overall average...)
Differences between LMS, LCMS and LXP
LMS vs LXP
These two solutions can be totally integrated and combined on the same learning platform. The LMS is theoretical whereas the LXP is practical. Moreover, the user experience is complete and personalised on an LXP. It is also possible to develop social learning with an LXP, which includes learning from others by sharing knowledge and skills. The LMS is much less engaging for the learner.
LCMS vs LXP
An LXP is the new generation of the LCMS because the LXP also allows the creation of teaching materials, but its advantage is its multimodal training courses, which are entirely personalised to the learner's needs.
LMS vs LCMS
The LCMS creates the content and the LMS distributes it. The LCMS on the other hand, focuses on the development of training content as well as its management and creation. This is why we say that the LCMS = LMS + authoring tool. The LCMS does not allow for the distribution of educational content. This is why the LCMS is very often coupled with an LMS.
All three tools and software are different, but have their own functionalities and uses. To know which tool and platform you need, you must first determine your needs and objectives.
LMS and LCMS are complementary in their functionalities and both optimise educational content. The LMS is still the learning management platform used most by companies. However, more and more companies are turning to an LXP platform because it offers a complete and very efficient user experience.
LMS History & Trends
As a reminder, the Learning Management System enables distance learning, i.e. e-learning. But what is the history of the LMS, and of e-learning in general? How has it evolved over time? What are the trends in LMS? We dive into its history below.
E-learning: not a new concept
We take a look at the key dates in the concept of e-learning, from its inception to today:
- Caleb Phillips was the first teacher to give distance learning courses in 1728. He had his lessons delivered to his students by post from Boston every week.
- In the 1980s, the concept took on another dimension with the emergence of cassettes and CD-ROMs.
- The emergence of the Internet and common use of computers marked a turning point in the history of distance learning in the 1990s. E-mails allowed students and teachers to exchange knowledge.
- 1994: launch of the first online college course: (CalCampus).
- 1999: the term e-learning was first used at the Tech Learn seminar on Computer Based Training systems by Elliott Masie.
- E-learning became more professional in the 2000s. Previously, e-learning was only used for school education. The development of digital tools (tablets and smartphones) and social networks also had a direct impact on the way people learn and access information.
- 2012 : “the year of the MOOC”
- In 2018, the online learning market was worth $168.8 billion.
- 2020 : Covid19 pushes companies to digitalise their face-to-face training.
- 2021 : The emergence of mobile learning being increasingly used by companies.
The 2000s: a major turning point
Le Préau, a monitoring centre for information and communication technologies, and the Observatoire de la formation, de l'emploi et des métiers (training, employment and professions observatory) carried out a study in July 2002 of around one hundred French establishments. 54% of them set up an e-learning system between 2000 and 2002. Between 1995 and 1997, only 7% had done so.
So, why the sudden change? Quite simply because mobile devices, telephones and tablets have gradually become established in the home. These tools are no longer just for making phone calls, but for playing games, learning, reading, and watching videos. Online learning has never been easier with the emergence of the internet and its features.
In addition, the 2000s were also marked by a fall in the cost of computer equipment and the development of free software. E-learning is gradually finding its place in the professional and academic world.
LMS: from its inception to today
The LMS as we know it today has changed significantly since its invention in 1924. The first LMS, the "teaching machine" was created by Sydney Pressey. Similar to the typewriter, it had a window for asking questions and a window for answering them.
Later, M.E. Lazerte created the "problem cylinder" in 1929. Students had to solve the problem by checking the steps to enable its resolution.
Adaptive learning was introduced into LMS's in 1956. Gordon Park and Robin McKinnon-Wood developed the SAKI adaptive teaching system. This allowed questions to be adjusted according to the learners performance level.
In 1970, HP introduced the first desktop computer, a turning point for the LMS world.
In 1987, NKI began its first online distance learning courses in Norway. The LMS was developed by NKI.
The first LMS software was released in 1990. Launched by SoftArc for the MacIntosh platform.
In 2012, LMS's are mostly hosted on the cloud. Organisations no longer have to worry about installation or maintenance.
What are the LMS trends? We detail the 3 LMS trends for 2022 below:
Adaptive learning: personalised courses
You may have already heard of the concept adaptive learning. This teaching concept is based on the following objective: adapting teaching solutions to the specific skills and needs of each learner. Today, the LMS must be as close as possible to the learners' expectations so as not to discourage them.
Adaptive learning does not only correspond to a sequencing of the course according to the answers. This is only the first level of adaptability. It can be adapted according to the results obtained and the learner's preferences.
Microlearning: targeted learning
The trend towards microlearning via the LMS continues. But what is microlearning? Microlearning involves providing information in small, highly targeted sequences. In short, targeted content. A typical module could be in the form of a video, podcast, or quiz and can be completed in 5 minutes.
Gamification: when you learn by playing
Gamification is the application of game concepts and mechanisms to non-game applications. The advantage of this concept lies in the excitement and commitment it provokes in learners. The LMS can be easily gamified with quizzes or rewards, depending on the learner's progress.
The role of LMS's in companies today
Learning Management System software has been around for almost 30 years. It occupies a central role in the digitalisation of training.
The multitude of training software options available continues to grow. With good reason, the training of employees is a priority for most companies. The many advantages of the LMS explain its popularity within companies: from simplifying the management of training processes, to the success of objectives defined upstream. In addition, vocational training plays an important role in the retraining and internal mobility of talent. Investing in a training path adapted to the needs of learners is therefore essential to companies today.
Impact of the global health crisis
Digital training is widespread within companies. Its use has been democratised and accelerated by the global health crisis. In particular, the obligation to remote-work as soon as possible has encouraged companies to integrate the LMS into their practices. However, it must be kept in mind that the digitalisation process, accelerated by periods of confinement, still excludes a part of the employees in France.
For 70% of companies, Covid-19 has been an accelerator in digital projects related to training, according to the survey on the digitalisation of training conducted by myRHline in partnership with Beedeez, on a panel of 300 companies from May to September 2021.
For some companies, e-learning has even established itself as the solution, and all training is now fully digitised.
Thanks to the LMS, even during the health crisis, companies have been able to continue to develop the skills of their employees. Since the beginning of the health crisis, nearly 1/2 of all French employees have followed an online training course (Barometer 2021 Transformation, Skills and Learning).
In the context of social distancing weighing on mental health at work, the LMS has also made it possible to integrate new talent through personalised onboarding training courses.
The decisive role of employees
The integration of the LMS in companies depends largely on the ability of employees to include it in their professional practices. This is why it is essential to ask employees for their opinions and preferences in advance regarding the choice of the LMS. The company must also ensure that they are adequately trained in the LMS, and collect their feedback once the LMS is launched.
Between 2019 and 2021, the monthly percentage of employees who logged into their company's LMS has increased.
Particularly since the Covid-19 crisis, companies must make sure to maintain the link with their employees, and to spark the interest of learners. The LMS makes it possible to respond to the lack of social connection and need for communication among employees. Various tools make it possible to promote user collaboration and engagement (gamification, communication space, virtual meeting classes, etc.).
The Covid-19 crisis has accelerated the urgent need for the digitalisation of training. This awareness concerns both companies and employees.
- 70% of companies believe that the health crisis has been an accelerator in the digitalisation of training (survey on the digitalisation of training by myRHline)
- 1/2 of all French employees have followed an online training course (Barometer 2021 Transformation, Skills and Learning)
- 56% of companies believe that digital is the most effective training system (survey on the digitalisation of training by myRHline)
- 61% of employees connected to their company's LMS each month (Learn Assembly 2021 Barometer of Learning Companies.)
Uses of the LMS
Today, more than 2 billion euros are deployed by companies in the field of LMS. LMS', like other learning management platforms, are widely used by companies to enrich their professional training offer. It is worth asking how the LMS or Learning Management System helps companies to diversify their training offers and to increase employees' skills. So, what are the uses of an LMS? Let's discover them together.
Definition of onboarding
In order to understand the first use of the LMS, we need to go back to a key concept in human resources in 2022: onboarding. In HR, "onboarding" is the process of integrating a new employee into the company. The onboarding phase starts at the end of the recruitment process and continues until the start of the job. It is important to integrate employees on arrival to ensure they feel part of the company and make a long-term commitment to it. The more seriously the onboarding phase is taken, the better the employee will perform. This phase is therefore fundamental and should be taken seriously even several weeks after the candidate is hired.
LMS and onboarding
The LMS is a very useful platform for onboarding a new employee. Using an LMS to integrate newcomers is a very powerful tool, as they will be accompanied by both the teams and the software. By using the Learning Management System, the employee can be prepared for their new duties within the company quickly and easily. The aim of the onboarding phase is to train the employee in new skills, but also about how the company works in terms of values, culture, and administrative procedures. The learner will be able to develop a sense of belonging with other colleagues, as they all come together on the LMS platform to learn.
The most obvious use of an LMS is to train employees. Employees are the foundation of a company's sustainability, and by helping them develop their skills, the company grows. The development of employees' skills allows the company to have highly competent people who can share their knowledge with each other. In addition, they can visualise their career plans. With training, employees broaden their range and can benefit from internal movement if interested. The fact that training is accessible via various platforms encourages learners to learn as they wish. The use of the LMS is therefore very flexible, and learners can work at their own pace. The LMS also makes it possible to increase employee commitment with teaching material that is very varied, rich and fun.
Evaluation and follow-up
The LMS provides companies with the powerful tool of employee evaluation and follow-up. It can often be difficult to accurately measure the progress of learners, and what information they have or haven't acquired. The LMS makes it possible to evaluate learners in order to determine their progress during the course of their training. It is then possible for administrators and trainers to adapt the training course to the needs of that learner and according to the company's expectations. This management tool is very useful as it allows the effectiveness of the learning materials offered to be determined.
Finally, the LMS enables the validation of learners' achievements and helps them to improve their skills throughout the course. This is essential for improving the user experience, particularly because learners can give a satisfaction rating for the platform, with which it is possible to carry out reporting. The LMS is therefore an adaptive learning tool depending on the features of your LMS. With the possibility to monitor learner's progress, the training can be adapted and personalised to the learner's needs.
Another very important use of the Learning Management System is the certification of employees during their training. Rewards are a very important part of employees' self-confidence and commitment to a company. The more the employee feels useful, the more they will be involved in the company's success and the more their manager will congratulate them. It is possible to issue a type of diploma to learners on some LMS'. Certification only takes place when the learner has completed and passed an exam, or completed key stages of the course. Certification takes several forms:
Regardless of how the diploma is awarded, it is important for the learner to receive recognition and reward for their progress. In turn, their willingness to learn will increase, as will their commitment.
These various uses all show that employees can develop multiple skills with the LMS, whether technical or soft skills. As a result, these employees become loyal and more committed to their companies.
The advantages and disadvantages of an LMS
LMS, also known as Learning Management System, has become an ally of companies for some time now. But why do you think that is? The answer is simple: it offers a multitude of advantages both for the training administrator and for their learners. A win-win solution.
It is an innovative and ever developing online training management tool, however the LMS is not suitable for all companies and all subjects.
Here is a look at the advantages and disadvantages of the Learning Management System.
LMS: a tool of many advantages
What are the advantages of the LMS? Read below:
- Flexibility and accessibility of learning:
Unlike face-to-face training, online training with an LMS can be carried out anywhere and anytime. It is based on the ATAWAD principle: AnyTime, AnyWhere, Any Device. There is no longer any need to reserve a specific time slot for training. The learner can choose when to do the training and on the device of their choice (tablet, mobile or computer).
What's more: learners can also come back to a concept that is unclear to them at any time.
- Centralisation of information:
Who hasn't dreamed of a tool accessible to all, that allows all the information of a company to be centralised? Time saved for both the organisation and the learners.
What's more: an LMS can be very useful for the onboarding of new employees. The new learner will be trained much quicker, and will be immersed in the company culture and equipped with all the information they need to know.
- Lower training costs
The use of an LMS in your training program allows you to make real savings. Distance learning allows you to save on the cost of renting a training room, as well as transport and accommodation. Moreover, distance learning allows you to train more people than with face-to-face training. With the LMS, one training course can be allocated to several employees.
Training your employees individually can quickly become expensive, especially if you are a small company.
- Save time
It is well known that time is a scarce commodity. With the LMS, employees can access their digital training as soon as they wish. They are not dependent on the fixed times of face-to-face training. Online training also reduces the time spent travelling to the training location.
- Monitor learner progress
The Learning Management System provides access to learner follow-up and in particular to certain key data: course completion rates, number of learners. It provides live information on the progress of learners as they develop their skills.
- Measurement of training systems
As well as tracking learners' progress, LMS' collect key data that enables you to know how your training system is performing. For example: connection time, preferred module, etc. This data makes it easier to personalise content according to user preferences.
What's more: measuring the performance of your training systems can also be done by proposing immediate evaluations to gather learners' opinions. Be careful, learners may have different opinions when they are completing the training compared to afterwards. It is therefore important to offer an evaluation one hour after the course and an evaluation one week later to compare the results. Remarks missed during the first evaluation phase can be given during the second.
- Create fun and engaging courses
The LMS is full of fun features. Gamifying your content has never been so easy with an LMS: videos, texts, images or audio. By using engaging and appealing content, your learners will be more engaged with the learning material.
- Regularly updated training courses
Last minute content changes? With an LMS, you are free to modify your training content at any time.
Limitations of the LMS
What are some limitations of the LMS? We explain a few:
- E-learning is not suitable for all learners
It is often said that the younger generations were born with a phone in their hand. However, this is not the case for all generations. Not all employees of different generations have the same digital culture.
Before starting an e-learning course with an LMS, it is important to know the digital skills of your employees. Without this phase, it is possible that an employee who is apprehensive about digital tools will become resistant or devalue themselves. With a little help, digital training becomes accessible to everyone.
- Lack of social interaction
Online training can easily isolate the learner because of the lack of human contact. However, solutions exist to counteract this loneliness. Social learning, defined as a collaborative learning method based on interactions between participants, is proof of this. This can be achieved by creating forums or chats where learners can interact with each other. To counter this limitation you can also use the alternative of blended learning. This combines the advantages of e-learning and face-to-face training.
- Not suitable for all subjects
Not all subjects can be covered by e-learning. Why? Well, certain complex subjects require hands-on practice. Flying a plane or baking a baguette requires hours and hours of practical training. No one wants to buy a baguette that doesn't resemble the taste or shape of their usual form.
- Requires self-discipline
E-learning courses require self-discipline. Online learning is less guided than face-to-face learning. There are no fixed schedules or deadlines. Learners must therefore be able to manage their time and be in control of their learning.
The LMS brings a number of advantages: time saving, reduction of training costs, flexibility and accessibility of learning, diversity of formats and learner follow-up. However, it is not suitable for all companies and all learners. Each company has different needs and requirements when it comes to their corporate training.
For companies that are still sceptical about e-learning, there is a compromise solution: blended learning. This solution combines e-learning and classroom training.
How to choose an LMS?
There are several Learning Management Systems available on the market, and it can be difficult to find the one best suited to your needs. The cost of the LMS increases according to the add-ons requested from the provider. Knowing how to choose your LMS and its functions is therefore essential to find the one that will best meet your expectations.
3 steps to choosing your LMS
Define your training objectives
The first step is to define the educational and strategic objectives of the training, and then to quantify them. The company must then ask itself how to accurately measure the impact of the training.
For example, with regard to educational objectives, the company can indicate the competences or soft skills that the learners should acquire through the training.
As for strategic objectives, the company may agree on a desired percentage improvement in turnover.
Once the objectives have been clearly defined, the company can conduct an audit measuring the results of the existing training. It can then define the objectives of future training, taking into account the criteria for improvement (content, format, accessibility, etc.) that make the current training insufficient.
Identify the user profile
Next, the company must define the profile of users. This means knowing the number of potential learners in the first year, but also anticipating an increase in this number according to the company's objectives. It is also useful for the company to determine the current skills of users, and those that need developing. Finally, the company must know the digital expertise of its employees and their comfort level with digital tools. Depending on their comfort level, the company can anticipate potential difficulties in using the LMS. Its format (e.g. microlearning with a digital application) and content (PDF, Powerpoint, Excel, etc.) may be more or less complex depending on the user profile.
Compare and evaluate suppliers
- Evaluate the LMS through demonstrations: ask employees to try out the platform. During these tests, upload as much content as possible in various formats (video, audio, visual, PDF) to the LMS. This test will allow you to see if the LMS system can handle the weight of all your data correctly.
- Request feedback from users who have tested the LMS: what do they think? Are there any indisputable aspects? Are there any areas for improvement and training that should be implemented for employees?
- Gather opinions from other staff (IT and development departments, trainers, users).
- Examine the opinions and comments of the LMS' users.
- Measure the quality of support and customer service provided (in case of technical problems, updates etc.).
Choose an LMS based on your needs
Accessibility and ease of use
Depending on the objectives and target audience, access to training from different media (tablets, smartphones, computers), in a responsive and mobile-format is important. New technologies at work has changed learners' expectations and usage practices. The LMS is a lever to support your digital strategy. Easy access to training modules from anywhere allows learners to train at their own pace and according to their availability. The company can then observe the progress of learners with evaluation results.
Social learning tools
In some cases, companies will have to choose an LMS that relies on social learning tools. The acquisition of skills can take place in a fun and educational way with various tools that encourage gamification (quizzes, badges, rewards) or collaboration (chat areas, messaging, blogs, etc.). In addition to optimising the training process, these tools make it possible to develop employee commitment and encourage teamwork.
Specificities based on the company's needs
- Analysing and monitoring the LMS' performance: the company must ensure that it chooses analytical reports that correspond to its operating methods
- Ergonomics and aesthetics: for example, including the company logo on training modules. Features such as this will enable the company to make an initial selection among the LMS' available on the market.
- Knowing whether the LMS has specific features such as an integrated content creation tool, evaluation platforms, a function allowing the creation of online meetings etc.
- Choose an LMS that is compatible with the SCORM standard: this allows information to be transmitted between the module and the platform that hosts it. Compliance with SCORM allows the company to retrieve results of evaluation modules, for example.
Conditions for integrating an LMS
Implementing a Learning Management System represents a cost for the company. The cost of LMS' increases according to the number of add-ons the company needs. This is why it is important to understand your needs and to define the essential functionalities of your company's LMS.
Additionally, when it comes to maintaining the platform (updates, monitoring, modifications), the company will have to provide human resources (IT department) or financial resources (training of users and administrators, or the cost of a paid service offered by the supplier) to take care of it.
These costs should be put into perspective with the costs usually incurred with face-to-face training courses (materials, transport costs, accommodation).
Technical organisational conditions
- Take into account the technical limitations of learners and their digital know-how
- Knowing the technical limits of the IT department: getting to grips with the LMS, deployment time, maintenance and upkeep of the platform
- Possibility of integration with other software, HRIS and e-learning tools: integration of the LMS platform with the company's HRIS saves time, for example automatic registration of new recruits to the onboarding course
- SaaS (Software as a Service) VS local server installation:
SaaS LMS' are hosted in the cloud and uploaded by the provider. Users log in directly with their login and password. SaaS LMS' require little or no internal resources (IT staff) dedicated to technical maintenance, this is managed by the provider.
Self-hosted LMS' on the other hand, are installed directly on the company's servers, and generally require the expertise of an IT department.
In order to choose the right solution for your company, the IT department must be consulted.
How to organise your LMS training?
Organising training with an LMS can quickly become complicated if certain steps are not followed. Rushing is not a good strategy. Digital training requires much more than uploading a document online. Knowing the codes, assets and functionalities of your training will only be beneficial for its implementation.
How to implement your LMS?
7 steps for the implementation of an LMS in your organisation:
- Establish clear and precise objectives: what are the reasons why you want to set up digital training? This step should not be taken lightly. It will guide the implementation of the project and contribute to the success of the training. Setting objectives and deadlines will ensure that the project runs smoothly and is easy to follow.
- Choosing the right e-learning tools: this is when you should choose your LMS. This step echoes a part of the guide described above.
- Create a plan: the budget, the stages, the design: everything should be detailed. It is up to you to decide who will be in charge of the project and how. For example, whether or not you will outsource the creation of learning content.
- Creation and preparation of the LMS: this stage is only necessary if you are the creator of the learning content. Start by making simple content. Once created, you can upload it to the LMS in order to create pathways, modules and courses to organise the training by skill set.
- Conduct a test: before launching your training, it is important to conduct a test in a pilot session. This stage provides initial feedback to make adjustments and check that everything is working properly.
- Communicate internally about the launch of the training course: before the official launch, it is important to inform employees of its arrival. A simple mail-out increases the conversion rate by 10%.
- Start the training: once all steps have been taken, you are ready to get started with your training!
What to do after you begin training with an LMS? A review. One of the advantages of the LMS is that the platform collects and analyses various data.
LMS & Key Performance Indicators
In order to measure the effectiveness of training courses, certain LMS indicators can be useful:
- Completion rate: corresponds to the percentage of learners who finish a course after starting it. Also called training conversion rate.
- Evaluation results: the results obtained by employees through an evaluation system.
- ROI: Return On Investment determines the impact of the training in return for the financial investment made.
- Feedback: feedback from learners is necessary for all types of training to evaluate their effectiveness. In order to collect feedback from your learners you need to:
- ask for feedback at the right time;
- send relevant questionnaires;
- apply the PEA method (Perceptions, Effects, Analysis);
- choose a feedback collection method;
- analyse the results of the evaluations.
Kirkpatrick Model: evaluating the LMS
One of the possible methods to evaluate your LMS is based on the Kirkpatrick Model, named after Dr. Donald Kirkpatrick, who developed this evaluation scheme in the 1950s.
Evaluating your LMS is based on 4 essential criteria:
- Learner satisfaction: an employee who is not satisfied with their training course (because of content, format, duration, accessibility, etc.) will be less inclined to put what they have learnt into practice. On the contrary, a satisfied employee will mobilise the skills and knowledge acquired during the training. The LMS makes it possible to assess the level of satisfaction of learners by introducing a satisfaction questionnaire at the end of modules and courses.
- Knowledge and skills acquired by users: the trainer must be able to monitor the progress of learners and their skill levels at the end of each training course. The LMS offers assessment sessions throughout the training. By comparing the results obtained at the beginning of the training with the final results, the company can see the ussers' level of progress.
- The practical application of these new achievements at work: this allows the trainer to have a concrete overview of the impact of training on learners. Do they put their new skills into practice while working? Managers should compare employee progress by analysing performance before and after the training.
- Achieving the objectives set beforehand: the objectives are linked to performance and productivity. For example, the company will be able to analyse whether there is an increase in sales or turnover. Finally, it will assess the cost/benefit ratio of the training.
What is the future for LMS'?
Some predict the end of the LMS while others speak of a major transformation. The global health crisis has disrupted many codes of the workplace. In addition to obligatory remote-work during periods of confinement for some, learning management tools have also evolved. With professional training having to be conducted at a distance, many companies that did not already have an LMS have since equipped themselves with one.
With Covid19, employees who were not fond of e-learning have been forced to take a liking to it. LMS software has been an indispensable tool in professional training for 30 years. However, many HR professionals are wondering about the place of this software in the future of their companies. According to a study conducted in 2020 by Brandon Hall Group, nearly half of all companies are not satisfied with their LMS. Companies want to strengthen their digital learning and offer more advanced functions to enhance user experience. The aim is to keep their LMS but add certain LXP functions to further engage learners.
How to improve the LMS?
LMS' are struggling to humanise learning. One of the challenges for the sustainability of LMS platforms will be to develop the user experience more than ever so that it is intuitive, engaging and fully personalised to their needs (particularly through AI). Collaborative and social learning are also important levers for increasing the skills of learners. In short, the LMS must be more fluid and be 100% at the service of the learner. The platform must therefore be personalised and fully scalable!
Easy navigation within the LMS
Searching for specific content within the LMS must be easy to encourage employees to learn. If they cannot find the information they need, they will stop the training module. In addition, using an intuitive and engaging platform is a big plus for user loyalty. Modern graphics in the form of Youtube training works extremely well. It is there to be developed!
Developing a learner network
If you want your LMS to be sustainable, it is necessary to practice collaborative learning on your platform. Collaborative learning allows learners to learn alone and with others. All of us benefit from the expertise of others, so it is important that learners can communicate with each other. This reinforces their feeling of belonging to a group; of being colleagues and of wanting to progress while maximising the company's profits.
Encouraging administrator creativity
When administrators create learning modules, they should be able to tailor them to suit their own creativity. The more creative they are, the more engaging the training material will be for the learner. This stage is crucial to the success or failure of the LMS.
The features described above are mainly used on LXP platforms. These platforms allow for a much higher level of employee engagement. However, LMS and LXP can complement each other.
The development of LMS' is necessary, including automating authentication and learner data to get to know the learner better. Learning therefore needs to be personalised, tailored, collaborative and gamified to increase engagement. The more motivated employees are, the more they will want to follow the training courses and improve their skills. This makes learning effective while also delivering better results for the company. This hybrid approach appears to be the future of LMS', especially in the context of a permanent transformation. Will LEP and LXP end up replacing the LMS? Only time will tell!