What Is a Learning Management System? Four Basic LMS Functions You Need to Know.
If you know it or not, you have likely used a Learning Management System (LMS). It’s often the system that gives you security awareness training every Jan 1. While some companies may use email or Excel spreadsheets to record training, at the end of the year you have to prove what happened to auditors. This can create a whole host of problems and risk. Learning Management Systems provide a method to easily create, deliver, track and report on your employee training.
What is a Learning Management System?
From the LMS Guidebook, here is an overview of the functions of an LMS:
“A multi-user software application that helps organizations manage training events, self-paced courses, and blended learning programs. It provides automation that replaces rigorous and expensive manual work, saves time, and enables you to organize your content, data and learners. It tracks and reports on training activity and results.” (Source: Foreman, S. (2018) The LMS Guidebook. Alexandria, VA: ATD Press)
A majority of LMS products are stand-alone systems. However, some are packaged for popular software frameworks – for example, WordPress, Salesforce, SharePoint – and now ServiceNow.
Basic LMS Functionality
At its core, there are four basic LMS functions that allow you to manage training: create, deliver, track, and report. Here are some of the features that make this possible, and drive value and efficiency for your company:
As regulatory requirements in all industries increase, it is critical that organizations communicate those broadly, consistently, and effectively. This is where an LMS brings value to all organizations. You are able to provide course material throughout an entire organization, specific groups, or individual users. Employees are notified that they have a course to take, when it is due, and how to take it. Employees should also be able to browse course catalogs and assign courses to themselves, growing their skills and organizational capabilities.
An LMS lets you easily deliver that content to employees. Modern Learning Management Systems support mobile devices and can deliver content 24×7 on any device employees have available. This ensures training is available anywhere, anytime. Systems may support learning standards such as SCORM 1.2 or 2004 or support other content types such as PDF or videos. Modern user experiences also make taking courses as easy as possible.
Tracking assignments, open registrations, and prerequisite approvals are core to tracking your organization learnings. An LMS will mark when courses are complete and record in-progress locations for courses. Achievements can also be awarded to employees with certificates or other proof upon course completion. Notifications can also be sent to remind an employee there is an approaching due date for a course, or an assigned course is past due.
Any good LMS will provide reporting so you can tell where your organization is doing well, and where it needs to improve. If you have access to the raw learning data, the easier your reporting will be. If you also have access to data such as user profiles, compliance information, or HR profiles, the more powerful all your data becomes.
Why this matters…
There are several areas where an LMS helps make your business more effective. As regulatory and compliance needs dominate executive thinking, Learning Management Systems help minimize regulatory risk. Also, employee beliefs about a company are formed early. Modern consumer-grade training experiences helps promote your brand as innovative and forward-thinking. Assigning training for employee on-boarding helps start an employee off right. Organization skill growth is critical to sustainable business advantage.
It also helps to have a training tool that quickly delivers training for process standardization, reducing costs, and org change management improving strategic alignment. Training tools that use known systems help you with system consolidation, increasing efficiency, and minimizing cost. There are lots of good business reasons to have an LMS that can drive real value for your business.
We hope this article provided a background into basic LMS functionality and the reasons for utilizing Learning Management Systems. For many companies, the timeframe and logistics of implementing a traditional LMS can be overwhelming. For others, sprawling training systems make data and processes difficult to manage. PlatCore helps companies simplify and automate their employee training.
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