As the future of learning moves ever-more online, one tool that is a must-have on your tool belt, is an online Learning Management System (LMS).
An online LMS is a software application that allows you to manage your e-learning courses almost like a database. A good LMS allows you to add users, administer courses, track your user’s learning and set goals for your team.
There’s a wide range of LMSs out there, and in addition to your price point, there are some other important features to consider. To effectively manage your online learning, we recommend keeping these 5 things in mind when choosing an LMS.
One must-have feature of any good LMS is the ability to be able to organize your e-learning courses in a way that works for you and your users. Often called ‘learning paths’, or ‘pre-requisites’, you need an LMS that’s able to assign a hierarchy to courses, just like in school.
That way, if some fundamentals must be learned in one course before a user should move onto the next, you can make that first course a prerequisite to completing all the other courses. Alternatively, if you can set it up so that a user has to pass a course with a certain grade in order to be able to move onto the next course, you can ensure that they’re understanding the subject material before getting too far ahead of themselves.
Learning paths allow for a hands-off approach to the micromanaging that online learning used to me. Users that are quick learners and picking up the course material quickly can move on freely, leaving you more time to help the users that might be struggling.
Another thing you should look for in an LMS is the ability to organize your users into separate subsections or groups. This can be beneficial if you want to group users based on what the main topics they need to learn are, what their skill level is, or other unique divisions based on your needs.
For your own organization needs, it’s important to have the ability to break up your users into smaller, more digestible groups. This is particularly true if you’re planning to have a few dozen, or even hundreds, of users in your LMS. Without the capability to break those learners up, your ability to successfully monitor and track your learner’s progress will be in jeopardy.
This brings us to the third thing to look for in an LMS: how good are it’s reporting capabilities? The first thing you should look for is the ability to see high-level user data. Can the LMS tell you when users have logged in, for how long, and what courses they accessed?
Also look out for the ability to see course-level data though. Course data is able to show you which courses are the most popular with your learners, and what sections of your online learning users spend the most time in.
Finally, the key to a really good reporting system in an LMS is the ability to see the user’s results, not just their usage of the courses, but also how well they did on each course or section. Digging deep into how your users scored allows you to assess your learners, and better guide them in the learning going forwards.
A really great LMS will offer customization options that will make your e-learning feel like a homemade, tailored to your needs, online learning portal. Everything from simple things like the design or layout of how you want the courses displayed, to the ability to create custom assessments is offered in some LMSs. Here are a couple neat customization features to look out for:
- Design options, such as adding your company logo and colours.
- Creating custom tests and assessments.
- The option to gamify learning and add badges, awards, and even a leaderboard in order to encourage friendly competitive learning.
- Communicate with learners via email or in-system notifications.
A customizable LMS will allow you to have exactly the right amount of control over users, whether it be full manual administration, or a hands-off automated system. Choosing the right customization settings will make your job as a course administrator easier, and increase the popularity of it with your users.
The last thing to keep in mind when searching for the right LMS for your needs is to research the company that offers it. There are some LMS distributors who have been in the game for a long time and were at the forefront of online learning, and some companies that are brand new and bringing incredible innovations to the LMS software world. Both have their benefits and drawbacks, but there are some universal things to look out for.
Does the LMS work with other companies of your size and industry? If so, they will likely be better able to service your unique needs. What channels of support do they offer? If they’re on hand to quickly answer any customer support questions you have, it will make your job easier if and when you run into any issues.
A learning management system can be an incredible tool to increase your online learning presence and experience, but it’s important to make sure that you’re picking the right one for your needs. We hope this list helps you narrow down your search! Ask your content provider today if they have an LMS.
At Simutech Multimedia, we’ve just launched our brand new LMS. Complete with learning paths, customization, and hands-on assistance for administrators, it can greatly add to your company’s ability to train and teach technicians to prepare for their work ahead. The best part is, it comes free with any purchase of our software.
Inquire about our LMS today by reaching out to [email protected]