What is a Learning Management System (LMS) and what can it do for me?
A Learning Management System (LMS) is an application software that deploys and tracks elearning and training. It allows anyone to create, track, manage and distribute learning materials of any kind, anywhere, on any device.
In the past 10-15 years, Learning Management Systems have changed considerably, to be more streamlined, effective and efficient, and today, it is an essential learning tool and an invaluable component in a company's learning strategy.
A good LMS helps you get rid of the manuals, PowerPoint slides, and spreadsheets in learning administration. The LMS can be a powerhouse for your corporate elearning programs - here are some of learning management system features and benefits:
1. A good LMS has manageability
An LMS takes the hard work out of record-keeping and administration. With it, you can automate the distribution of elearning: deploy modules, send notifications and reminders, distribute documents for mandatory reading, for example. All of that can be done within a system that is easy to edit, allows user-specific personalisation of training and can be branded to suit your company's overall image and style.
Furthermore, an LMS provides a Learning Record Store for all forms of training. Besides online training, you can record face-to-face training, seminars, blended learning initiatives, or anything else you require. It will even allow you to book and manage events.
2. LMS is perfect for Compliance training
In many cases, employees’ training will be geared towards being compliant with legislation. As an LMS automates record keeping and certification, it allows you to provide evidence of compliance almost immediately and from one source. This easily demonstrates due diligence and is a powerful risk management tool when it comes to avoiding fines or costs incurred through non-compliance.
A good LMS, like Sponge's Spark, will automatically monitor and report on compliance levels and provide early warning of renewal or recap requirements. It will also have the functionality for User Verification and/or Facial Recognition – making sure that the person completing the module is who they say they are.
3. LMS is a powerful reporting and performance management tool
A good LMS is not just an administration solution, it is an integral and strategic tool to help you grow your people and your business performance. Simply put, a good LMS has powerful reporting which gives you access to the data that helps drive individuals and overall business growth.
Data-driven business results are crucial in today's environment and a good Learning Management System lets you see much more than just the exam results. When an LMS learning management system can track and record all activity performed by trainees, for example, progression through modules, volume completing training and status of training, actionable results are available much faster.
Spark LMS provides data on how many attempts learners took to get questions correct and even which answers they have when they got it wrong. You can get data on time taken to complete the training or sections, and compare against the average time taken.
All of this provides a valuable insight into learner trends, performance levels and how effective the learning experience was, to make improvements and act with agility. The progress intelligent analysis software allows the managers to determine who the high-flyers are and find the under-performers.
By using an LMS, you can improve performance management in your company and provide clear development pathways for employees. On the back of the data you gathered, your recruitment teams can develop selection practices to ensure that you hire and retain key talent.
4. LMS optimises the learning experience
A good LMS allows a business to easily create engaging and interactive electronic learning experiences, or use a variety of off-the-shelf content. It has the functionality for gamification in elearning, video, and virtual reality.
One of the crucial features of a contemporary LMS are Learning Kingdoms, where the learner sees their modules in the form of an immersive learning journey. This can create a customised learning pathway for every user according to their needs and without overwhelming them with information-heavy training.
If your training requires allocation of assessments, both the allocation and the e-submissions - the collection of submitted materials - can be done in one place, where the assessments can also be graded. You can automatically distribute certificates to users, via email, as they complete a module.
5. LMS fits around your employees' lifestyle
Many employees today demand learning solutions that will fit in with their workload and lifestyle. A good LMS allows learners to access training when they need to, without waiting for a face-to-face classroom trainer. That is where the LMS that is optimised for mobiles, tablets, and PCs provides an edge over the competition.
However, a good LMS also provides a solution for a blended learning approach; it provides a single record location for all forms of training, whether through an online platform or face-to-face, and also allows elearning content to be easily transformed into face-to-face course content.
6. An LMS needs scalability and flexibility
An LMS shouldn’t be ‘one size fits all’ – it needs to meet the needs of your organisation and allow you to harness technology to become more efficient. With many different systems in use, there is a demand for integration with respective payroll/HR systems. An LMS that has a seamless Application Integration Interface (API) can automatically add or remove employees across systems.
A good LMS also allows for scalability – you can distribute training to as many learners as necessary. This number might start off small but may increase with staff turnover or growth. Distributing the same training means that the learning experience is consistent, so you can ensure performance goals are also consistently met. Tailoring the learning to your employees' educational needs, for example by language, and by storing different versions of the same training on one system, each learner can have their own individual profile and audit trail.
Spark LMS by Sponge provides the services of a Learning Management System, Learning Record System and Virtual Learning Environment all rolled into one. As a next-generation LMS, it designed to create, monitor, distribute and report on the learning & development, giving you a competitive advantage, as it helps you nurture your most important business asset - the human resource. For a more in-depth view of the aforementioned features of a good learning management system, check out our LMS overview page.
This article was last updated in 2020.