7 must-have features for your learning management system
The LMS market is saturated with options with various functionality, features and costs. Whilst cost can initially seem like the most important aspect when shortlisting potential LMS vendors, this can be rather short-sighted – an LMS that is unable to grow with your organisation will ultimately cost you more in the long-term.
Whilst the features you require may depend on your individual learning strategy and your internal learning culture, some features should be considered must-haves in every LMS shortlist.
Our top features include:
Perhaps most importantly for the modern workforce is accessibility of the LMS. Modern workers are expecting remote working more often, and this does not necessarily entail home offices – modern workers could be working whilst commuting, in coffee shops, from a shop’s back office, even from an oil rig… anywhere!
Your chosen LMS should be able to meet these demands by being mobile-optimised.
This means that learners will be able to access their personalised learning on-the-go, regardless of the time or their physical location. The software should be adaptable on any sized screen, making it suitable for all learners regardless of their device preferences – from desktop to tablet to phone.
Mobile learning isn’t designed exclusively for remote workers either; employees that do not have access to the internet during their working hours, such as retail workers or construction workers, find mobile learning invaluable to keep themselves up-to-date and upskilled to succeed in their roles as they may not necessarily have access to a PC from their workplace – mobile devices may be their only gateway to e-learning.
Reporting can prove your learning strategy’s success – or otherwise – and is often the main reason behind LMS implementation. However, reporting is often considered a time-consuming headache when combined with the wrong tools and may rely heavily on manual extraction and data manipulation.
An LMS should have dedicated reporting functionality, whereby you will be able to plan what is required from your reports ahead of schedule
Whilst detailed reports may feel like the priority, it is also worth considering your LMS’s capability to provide a quick snapshot of information. Dashboards provide both managers and L&D teams with a quick insight to their team’s completion of learning courses.
Whilst dashboards are useful for quick snapshots, ensure that your LMS is capable of extracting more insightful reports. Your LMS should correctly interpret data, enabling you to automatically extract analytics and format this information into a report for delivery to key stakeholders. With 50% of UK PLCs not having representation of learning at board-level, strategic decisions can be difficult to reach due to a lack of data-driven information, making insightful reporting all the more important.
3. Unlimited support
When you first implement your LMS, it is inevitable that you will have a lot of questions, and your LMS provider will most likely answer these with a smile.
However, what happens when you are a more seasoned customer, with your launch date six months behind you – or even a year behind you?
Your chosen LMS provider should provide all their customers with unlimited support, accessible by phonecall, email or online chat.
Some LMS providers go even further than this, making use of a customer support portal whereby ‘how-to’ videos are uploaded, topic forums are flourishing, and customer feedback is appreciated. Customer support portals are particularly useful over weekends and holidays, giving you the opportunity to find answers for yourself before the support team are back in the office.
4. Content agnostic
Your learning course content provider may be independent to your LMS provider – but it is important that the two pieces of software can communicate to ensure that nothing gets missed, such as course results or individuals’ completion rates.
A bespoke, bundled approach may seem like best fit to your organisation’s learning requirements but this can come at a much higher cost. As such, many organisations opt to have their LMS and course content independent of each other. This means that organisations can choose content ‘off the shelf’ to best suit their needs at the time, which can be supplemented by other sources of e-learning at a later date.
Your LMS should therefore be ‘content agnostic’; regardless of where the content comes from, it should be able to fit into your chosen LMS. Reputable LMS providers will be able to advise you of content providers that they are familiar with, that will suit your organisational learning requirements.
5. Ease of use
It may seem obvious but ensure that your LMS is easy to use for both managers and learners.
Learners should be able to intuitively access their learning, understand when completion is required for, and follow their learning pathway on their user dashboard. An enhanced user-experience leads to enhanced ease-of-use, which helps users to complete their training.
Some LMS providers have developed a specific feature for managers to be able to track their team’s progress on a specific ‘manager dashboard’. This provides them with an overview of who needs chasing, who may require a little more support, and who deserves recognition for early completion or exceptionally high pass rates. This enhances the manager’s use of the LMS, as they can access an overview to their team’s training at the click of a button.
This is the easiest way to differentiate a good LMS provider from an outstanding LMS provider. Outstanding LMS providers will have won awards for their user experience or learner experience, so look out for this on their company resume.
6. Blended learning support
The most successful learning campaigns utilise a blended learning approach, with e-learning and classroom learning both prevalent in individuals’ learning pathways.
Your chosen LMS should be able to support both, amalgamating the approaches on the same system so that learners – and their managers – can see what courses have been undertaken and which are upcoming. This helps to provide full visibility and understanding of the learning pathway that the individual is undertaking.
Your LMS should support this by allowing users to book onto classroom courses, tracking their attendance and allowing the user to add their notes following completion of the course. This can then be used alongside their completion of e-learning courses and the subsequent results.
Finally, as part of our ‘must-haves’ for LMS requirements, ensure that your chosen LMS can be customised for your organisation.
Whilst this may seem like a minor detail, the branding and colours of your learning site adds a layer of familiarity for your learners, making it more approachable and recognisable. This in turns increases the engagement from learners; they feel that they are logging into a company-owned website rather than an external piece of software.
Whilst your organisation may have its own list of requirements, the above seven should form part of your minimum requirements, to ensure that your LMS is up to the job of displaying learning courses simply and effectively.
To find out why Kallidus Learn has been recognised across the industry for its user-experience, and how it can help you form an effective learning strategy using the above seven tactics, download our brochure today.