Learning Management Systems 101 - All There is to Know
A breakdown of what a learning management system really is and how it can help your business succeed and create a learning culture.
October 31, 2022
Learning Management Systems 101 – All There is to Know
Before you begin prepping your next corporate eLearning strategy, why not brush up on learning management system (LMS) functionality and capabilities? Sometimes, revisiting the basics can help you analyze where you are and plan an optimal upcoming corporate training program.
Now, you may think that a learning management system is just some software that houses your eLearning material. This is true. But an LMS is also a tool to help map out your online training, track performance, and manage results all in one space. Not to mention that it also allows for various employees to access training whenever they like.
In today’s world, learning management systems have evolved into platforms that host learning content while assisting with employee onboarding and career development.
Let’s look a little closer at what learning management systems have to offer today.
What is a Learning Management System?
A learning management system (LMS) is a platform that helps facilitate the hosting, management, delivery, and tracking of an organization’s online learning programs.
Most learning management systems out there are cloud-based software (SaaS) solutions that many corporates use to manage their onboarding training programs. It is predominantly managed by the Learning and Development (L&D) department in a business. The HR department can also find it handy when introducing new staff members to the mandatory onboarding training in an organization.
The History of Learning Management Systems
Believe it or not, learning management systems have been around for decades. Technical innovations redefined the teaching and learning process and methodology as the years went by. Today, it is a highly advanced piece of software. Here’s a quick breakdown of some of the history behind learning management systems:
The 1920s: The first LMS was developed when Sidney L. Pressey invented the “teaching machine”.
The 1950s: The first adaptive teaching system was developed. This adjusted questions for learners automatically, based on their performance level.
The 1990s: SoftArc launched the first LMS software for the MacIntosh platform.
The 2000s: Moodle, the open-source internal network, was launched with three users; administrator, teacher, and students. Moodle is still used today by many enterprises.
The 2010s: Learning management systems started to be hosted in the cloud, removing the need for businesses to install and maintain in-house systems.
Different Types of LMSs
There are four main types of learning management systems:
Cloud-based or SaaS LMS: A SaaS (software as a service) LMS is cloud-based and, therefore, simple to set up. Generally, this type of LMS is hosted by an LMS provider and allows you to create your learning academy on a single platform. This is a favored LMS type for many organizations today.
Installed LMS: This gives you more control over where and how you choose to host your data. But it isn’t as convenient as a cloud-based solution because an Installed LMS requires you to maintain your own server space.
Open-source LMS: These are free-to-use systems and can be adaptable to your needs and specifications. They work in a similar way to how open-source code would. It’s a good halfway solution between a cloud-based and installed LMS because you get to create something custom, but aren’t building it from scratch.
Custom-built LMS: This is ideal if you have a specific solution in mind and need to tailor many components of your training program. It is much more expensive than the other three options, and all the updates and maintenance are the owner’s responsibility, so few entities choose this option.
What Features Should You Look for in a Learning Management System?
Whether you want your LMS to help you with employee onboarding, knowledge sharing, or hosting your annual compliance course, you should look for some key features. Here are our top features and capabilities to look for in a learning management system before choosing one:
User-friendly navigation and dashboard
Having a dashboard that is easily navigable across desktop and mobile is imperative. You need to be sure that administrators, teachers, and students can access what they need quickly and efficiently. The navigation menu should be straightforward with no ambiguity. Try also to look for a platform that is pleasing to the eye and has fewer clicks to each destination.
This is the core reason you’ll use an LMS to house and manage learning material. Ensure that your LMS allows you to upload content to the platform without fuss and that each piece of content can be labeled, categorized, and managed efficiently. It’s also good to check that your LMS has no content size limitations.
Operating as a business means that learning programs must be compliant, protecting yourself and your employees. This becomes especially important if you conduct online compliance training within the LMS. Ensure that your LMS provider allows you to manage your compliance processes within the platform. You should be able to track your employees’ progress via the reporting feature.
Reporting and analytics
Tracking employees’ learning progress is an essential part of eLearning. Your LMS should be able to tell you where people are if they’ve completed a course, and when last they logged into a course. This data can help you understand employee pain points and also help inform future training programs.
A learning management system should help you build a sense of community and knowledge sharing. This is where employees get to collaborate and learn from each other. If an LMS has this capability, you can use it to start building a valuable knowledge base.
Personalized Career Journeys
Think of your LMS as something more than a training platform. Think of it as a career development platform. That’s right; some premium learning management systems allow you to develop employees using state-of-the-art technology. Each employee follows a personalized development plan which is enhanced with projects and resources so that they’re set up for success from day one.
An Advanced Learning Management System for Your Business
Getting an 80% pass on a leadership training or compliance course is still valuable, but modernizing the learning experience at work is the key to success. By using a learning management system, you automatically have a plethora of benefits. You can track each employee’s progress, performance, and skills development.
If your people are engaged and want to upskill as they grow within your company, that’s when you’ll retain them. And as we know, retaining top talent is one of the critical organizational goals in the world today.
At Juno Journey, we understand that and put your people first while serving you with a modern and tailored LMS solution. If you’d like to learn more about how our LMS works, speak to our team today. We can help you develop a customized LMS solution ready to populate and use swiftly.
Click here for more information on our learning management system capabilities.