Learning Management System Basics
If you are new to online learning and the term learning management system, this article explains why you might want to implement a Learning Management System in your educational establishment or business. If you are still not sure, you can get in touch here, and we are happy to offer you a more detailed overview of the features, as well as benefits of an LMS.
What is a Learning Management System?
By description, a learning management system is an online location that assists you in managing administration, reporting, tracking, and delivering tests, lessons, and courses.
How a Learning Management System Works
The best way of imagining a learning management system is to think of it as a vast website that only those individuals with a log-in will be able to access. Within this ‘gated’ website, you can offer interaction with your students in two modes: blended or online. Online learning is the same as distance education provided by schools like High School of America, where learners are based off-campus and interact with tutors and other students asynchronously. Blended learning is where instructors and students meet physically, but the Learning Management System is used to support learning by offering a space where materials can be organized and stored, assessments can be given, and learners and instructors can interact using blogs, forums, and so on.
An LMS makes learning flexible, and you can deliver learning through a computer, smartphone, and tablet– the latter two channels are becoming more popular as many schools encourage mobile learning or ‘learning on the move.’
As the main role of a learning management system is to deliver learning to learners, typically, there will be three different forms of log-in. These would usually be an admin log-in, an instructor log-in, and a student log-in.
The admin log-in will be for the management; when logged in, it will present the user with the tools to add content and users, remove information and users, and allow users access to certain areas of the LMS that they can change settings.
The instructor log-in will allow teachers to assign work, receive completed work and results from learners, and also create courses.
The learner log-in will present the user with information about courses, outstanding work, and links to resources. It will usually offer a way of contacting the teacher or course leader in case they have any questions. Work can be submitted from the learner log-in – which will then be picked up by the instructor or course leader from the admin log-in.
Features of an LMS
To get an ROI and build a better business case within your company, it’s important to prepare when sourcing the best LMS vendors. That comprises a good understanding of your company’s training goals and how you can help achieve them.
The ability for learning specialists to track a learner’s journey via stored data helps them better understand how the courses and students are performing, all in the same place. This allows experts to track better and design their learning programs. Additionally, having the ability to recognize where students need to build their skills or where they are excelling helps speed along the training process.
With the capability to categorize training content and tag them by skill, learning professionals can offer a more individualized learning environment.
Personalized user experience
To encourage wider adoption, a capable Learning Management System should provide content based on a learner’s history within the software and their role. Adaptive quizzes and assessments that reflect a student’s performance will enable users to prioritize improvement areas throughout a course. If an LMS is more tailored to a user’s studying preferences or job function, they become more invested in the process.
Automated Notifications and Alerts
Even with the utilization of a feature-rich learning management system, managers and L&D pros can’t properly identify a learner’s requirements without the necessary oversight. To make sure that managers and trainers are aware of how their students have been engaging and completing program materials, automated alerts and notifications are a necessary Learning Management System feature. By sending auto-alerts to students regarding their training deadlines or notifying trainers on a user’s completion rates, an LMS can give feedback to the right individuals at the right time.
Remote or Mobile-Workforce
Workforces are changing quickly, and popularity in remote work continues to grow. On-site learning may be inconvenient or even impossible for organizations with a global presence. Notably, an LMS must be remote or mobile-ready to make sure students have access to materials at all times and that organizations have the ability to train their talent, irrespective of their location in the world.
Additionally, mobile-ready training programs are particularly effective for the healthcare, construction, and retail industries that usually train on the go and within the workflow. This ensures high-consequence industries don’t sacrifice training, even under pressure.
For many businesses, it’s important to remain compliant with government regulations or corporate plans. This includes ensuring the right persons are trained at the right time and that students are properly assessed in their awareness and understanding of regulatory requirements. As further protection for the corporation, a top LMS should be able to track and record training activities and offer notifications for management when issues arise.
Smart Scheduling Tools
Even before most employees went fully remote following coronavirus, it wasn’t easy to schedule face-to-face sessions that accommodated the whole team. With an LMS that offers a smart scheduling tool, instructors can provide their learners with multiple dates and times for their training sessions. This flexibility benefits students by ensuring they have access to significant training when they are available, rather than expecting them to juggle numerous tasks in the midst of learning new skills.
Gauging what your students already know can be challenging, even for experienced L&D experts. At the same time, getting new workers up to speed as efficiently as possible helps them add value to the organization faster. That’s why providing learners with the ability to ‘test out’ of a training module can lower their time used on training and give learning experts a better understanding of where students are in their journey.
You can still offer learners the course materials required to complete their training, but a test-out feature gives them a choice to complete a final assessment rather than take a whole eLearning module. If they pass the assessment, there is no need to take the training.
Benefits of a Learning Management System
The advantages of an LMS are many.
Firstly, it streamlines the learning process. Marking work is quicker and easier, particularly with self-marking quizzes and tests. Plus, as we have mentioned above, work setting, messages, and submission, and results are now all in one place.
Technology can motivate and engage students more than ever before – and with an intuitive learning management system, you could see the interaction and subsequently improve results. In specific, features that motivate students, incentivize achievement, and can make learning fun.
You can also track your learning management system’s activity; from how many times a specific student has logged in to who has finished the work you have set. This capability to track and record data also means things such as test results are automatically collected and stored in one location – so they are easier for you to access and review.
LMSs can be accessed from anywhere, which, coupled with their ability to engage and motivate students more, means students are not restricted by lack of tools to do their work or being able to complete work without any assistance from instructors. Being able to message their instructor for help or with questions means less dependency on seeing them face-to-face. Questions can be answered in real-time.
It means learning management systems truly encourage interaction between learners and instructors – something that can only benefit both parties and result in more engaged students, a better quality of education, as well as higher results.
Selecting the Right Learning Management System
Finding a suitable learning management system depends on your establishment’s requirements, what function you want the solution to perform, as well as how you hope it will improve students’ learning experience. Some of the things that learning organizations must do when implementing a learning management system:
- apply these criteria to establish the most appropriate Learning Management System (LMS), given the characteristics of every institution
- become familiar with the pros and cons of available software;
establish a Learning Management System (LMS) selection committee, a decision-making process, and selection criteria.
Resources and References: