What is a Learning Management System?

A Learning Management System (LMS) is a software application that came into light directly from e-Learning. Today, the majority of LMSs focus on the corporate market, although the first LMS, which was introduced in the 1990s, was meant for the higher education sector. 

An LMS is a web-based platform used to plan, execute, and evaluate a particular learning process. It consists of two elements in its most common form-

• A server that performs the base functionality

• A user interface operated by instructors, students and administrators.

The primary use of LMS is for Knowledge management (KM). KM involves allocating, organizing, sharing and analyzing organizational knowledge in line with the resources, documents and skill. The purpose of LMS is also to deliver and manage all types of content including videos, courses and documents. Compared to LMS in the corporate sector, LMS in education markets has additional features like rubrics, teacher and instructor-facilitated learning, a discussion board, and so on. 

Types of LMS-

  1. Web-based vs. Installed LMS– A web-based LMS can be created with low set-up fees which are quite contrary to the creation of Installed LMS. Installed LMS can be created by creating a vendor account on your own internal IT team but it is difficult to maintain. Modern LMS vendors develop Web-based offerings, which are cost-efficient and enable the growth of their online software.
  2. Cloud-based vs hosted– In cloud LMS or SaaS, all the responsibilities are in the hands of the LMS vendor. On the other hand, if you host an LMS software, you are in complete control of servers.
  3. Open-source vs closed source– Web-based and installed software both consist of open-source and closed source LMS. Open-source LMS gives you the freedom to share and modify code without needing to purchase a license. Whereas, utilizing a Closed Source LMS system may require you to pay for support, license and also for the updates and modifications of the product.
  4. Free vs Commercial–  LMS vendors provide few free solutions which the user must install and maintain. If you don’t want to install and set up a software yourself, the best option for you will be going for Commercial LMS.
  5. Integrations– There are systems with and without integrations. You need to work with an LMS which provides 3rd party integrations for the free flow of data.

E-Learning

E-Learning has a lot of demand currently in many sectors, especially in the higher education sector as it enhances student learning. Most higher education institutions are leveraging E-Learning to continue providing education to their students, helping them carry on with their new academic year. 

LMS in e-learning enhances student relationships with their peers and teachers. LMS with its unique features like blended learning,  social learning, gamification and so on, enhances learning management in training programs.

Few examples of learning management systems being used by educational institutions are- Moodle, Blackboard Learn and Schoology. Popular Learning Management Systems operating at an enterprise-level include Adobe Captivate Prime, Docebo LMS, TalentLMS, iSpring Learn and eFront.

Important Learning Management System Features:

  1. User-friendly Interface- A user-friendly interface allows users to easily navigate the LMS platform. It also aligns with the goals and capabilities of both users and organizations. 
  2. User Feedback- User feedback gives importance to the student’s experience. Through LMS, students share their feedback with teachers, trainers and their peers. This feedback helps teachers to know what they are lacking in, improve their work and provides scope for growth. 
  3. Improves Teacher-Student Communication- LMS creates professional course content. Teachers/Trainers can add pictures, texts, links, slideshows etc. LMS manages courses, users and their roles. It enables teachers to handle students’ online assessments. Some LMS allow attendance management and classroom training integration. This platform provides the opportunity of different questions like- one/multi-line answer, multiple-choice answer, drag-and-drop order, true/false etc.
  4. Tracking- LMS prepares records on student progress, content quality of your e-learning platform and helps you track your revenues. It is important to learn what items students have completed and left out. These reports can help you track a learners’ path and understand whether your e-learning platform is engaging enough for the learners.

How the LMS transforms E-Learning

  1. 24/7 availability and cost-efficient

LMS provides services round the clock. An individual can have access to e-learning platforms instantly and from their mobiles as well. They don’t really have to dedicate or fix a particular time slot. There is no need to print materials as they are available online. All these add to company’s cost benefits.

  1. Efficient Resource management 

With e-learning, there is no need to travel daily. Companies can benefit from minimal travel and accommodation cost for employees. Since online classes can hypothetically accommodate an infinite number of students at a go, there is no need to conduct repeat sessions again. All these benefits strengthen your e-learning platform’s functionality.

  1. Scalable education

LMS trains and educates employees/students from different geographical locations. Without allocating new funds, online courses can be used repeatedly. This indicates the addition of new clients and permits them to follow the ongoing schedules. The LMS allows you to scale modules for adding new ones when necessary. 

  1. Convenient 

Online training has become more convenient when compared to face-to-face training sessions. E-Learning offers standardized training for everyone by eliminating minor mistakes. No matter how many times a teacher or an educator has revised their methods of teaching, chances are they are more likely to make mistakes in traditional approaches. These can be overcome with the standardization process offered by e-learning. LMS permits the customization of courses as per the company’s/institute’s specifications.

  1. Boosts collaboration and administration

LMS gives you the control of complete administration. This makes it easy to connect to many groups and individuals for collaboration. It allows you to create as many groups and courses in the software application as you want. It also helps in assigning different roles to learners, instructors and supervisors effortlessly.

In conclusion, the LMS plays an important role in enhancing e-learning growth. To make the most of the LMS, one must know which one suits the best according to the LMS types and feature specifications. It is not like a one size fits all solution, so it is important to assess organizational requirements.