What is an LMS and what do you need it for?

Want to know what an LMS is? We explain this and much more: features, benefits... Get all your questions answered!
7 minutes
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Do you know what an LMS is? If you’re a corporate trainer, a teacher, or are involved in some way in the world of education, you may already be using one. And if not, maybe it’s time to consider it. Why? Because it’ll make life much easier for you and your team.  

Imagine training that goes beyond sending out PDFs. Set challenges and competitions to motivate staff or students. Evaluate at a glance and in just a couple of clicks. Sounds good, right?

A good LMS is a very valuable tool that can simplify education or corporate training, save time and money, and make your organization run more efficiently. How? Let’s take a look!  

What is an LMS and what is it for?

LMS stands for Learning Management System. It is software that allows you to create and manage online courses, a website that organizations use to manage learning and training programs. 

LMS are used in all types of organizations, both in corporate and educational environments, in the education of students of any level, or in large, small, and medium-sized companies of any sector, for different departments, teams, or clients. 

Here’s how it’s used: 

  • Teachers and trainers create and distribute teaching materials, monitor learners’ progress, and assess their learning.
  • Learners can access course content, participate in discussions, and submit assignments, all in one place. And why do I say ‘learners’ instead of students? So that we don’t forget that its usefulness extends beyond schools, colleges, and universities.  
  • The administrator can centrally manage participant lists, roles, permissions, etc. Hence the M for ‘Management’.
  • It makes it easy to keep track of progress and completion, grades, and learning history. Oh, and it also issues certificates. Very comprehensive indeed.

In short, an LMS facilitates the online learning experience. For both instructors and students, a good LMS can make a course easier to manage and much more engaging. 

 

7 benefits of using an LMS

  1. Save time and money

An LMS can help save time and money in many areas. By automating processes like enrollment, course management, and tracking learners’ progress, you can greatly reduce the number of hours you spend on administrative tasks. You also avoid printing and shipping costs for teaching materials.

  1. Flexibility and comfort for your students

To take a course on an LMS, all you need is a device with an internet connection. This makes it so much easier! Your students can access your courses or interact with other participants anytime, anywhere. 

What’s more, each learner can choose when they want to connect, which is very useful when you’ve got people from different time zones, or people who work or have other commitments. Each student can learn at their own pace.

  1. Better learning experiences

An LMS allows you to organize courses and materials to make the learning process easier. You can organize courses in sequential order and control the delivery of materials by scheduling course start and end dates, or the availability date of each resource. 

You can also include learning content in different formats, such as videos, images, PDFs, and more, to enrich the experience. Onboardings, sales techniques, customer service training, or any other type of course will never be the same again.

  1. It’s easier for teachers and trainers

As a teacher or trainer, you can set exams and assessments online. Grades can be configured based on progress, simplifying assessment and providing instant feedback to learners. 

In addition, everything is centralized in the same place: courses, forums, evaluations, reports… You’ll save tons of time by not having to jump from one place to another.

  1. Greater progress visibility

An LMS offers several metrics and reports that make it easy for you to monitor your students’ progress. This offers you the opportunity to improve the results of your courses. How so? 

Well, for example, you can see who’s spending the most time, which content areas are the most difficult, and which activities are generating the best results. 

With this information, you can better tailor courses to your students’ needs, or find out who needs extra support. You can also share progress with your students so they know how they’re doing and can set goals.

  1. Always up-to-date content 

In an LMS the content is online, which means that you can easily update it whenever you want. If there’s any change to the program, you want to add an activity, or you’ve simply spotted a typo, you just have to modify it on your end and the change is made instantly. This feature of online content and platforms (which Genially also has) saves lots of time. 

  1. Greater student participation

The social features of LMSs encourage interaction and collaboration between students, and also between teachers, or between teachers and students, which helps drive social learning. Any participant can post on discussion forums, chat live, and send private messages.

How to choose the best LMS for your organization

Want to know what criteria you can use to choose an LMS? As well as the basic features, these are some of the other things to consider when choosing one.

What should an ideal LMS have? A wishlist:

  • It should be easy to use: This is the most important thing. The more intuitive its interface is and the easier it is to navigate, the fewer headaches. Read reviews or ask others who use LMS for their recommendations.
  • It can be used on mobile: A must! Flexibility is one of the benefits of using an LMS and to take advantage of it, it’s important to be able to access content from your phone. The more ways to access it, the better.  
  • It should include the reports and analytics you’re interested in: What metrics do you need to measure your students’ performance? How are you going to calculate the ROI? Ask about this during the demo (yes, you should always request a live demo).
  • It offers good support and training resources: It is essential for your LMS provider to offer the support you need as well as tutorials and resources to help you learn how to use the system.
  • The cost is reasonable: From the options that include all the features you need, choose the one that best suits your budget. Even if you choose an open-source LMS, you need to consider the costs of hosting, maintenance, and training the team. That’s why many organizations opt for a commercial LMS, i.e. one that’s managed by an external provider.
  • It should be scalable: If you’re just starting out in education, you may not need an LMS that supports a large volume of courses and students but… things could change. Choose an LMS that can scale up as your activity grows. Think about the future!
  • It allows the integrations you need: LMS integrate with other tools, social media, and other business management systems. Which ones do you need for your objectives?

Integrations allow you to add the capabilities of two or more tools. A good example is the integration between Genially and almost any LMS. The content creation capabilities offered by LMS are quite limited, so integrating an authoring tool like Genially allows you to eliminate this obstacle and get more out of your learning management system

Genially integrates with the most popular LMS on the market, such as Moodle, 360 Learning, Canvas, Open LMS, and BlackBoard. It also supports SCORM format. You can learn more about this here.

Don’t let anything prevent you from creating amazing content!

Corporate LMS vs. LMS for Schools

To make the right choice, you’ll need to take into account what kind of organization is going to use the LMS. 

Although many LMS are used interchangeably in companies and schools or educational centers, there are specialized learning management platforms for both types of organizations. 

So, how are they different? Well, there are subtle differences in objectives and characteristics. To begin with, corporate LMS are aimed at companies and non-profit organizations, which use them to offer training to teams on company procedures, or to customers and partners on products and services.

Academic LMS target schools and educational organizations and institutions, and provide a lot of advantages for online teaching and learning. 

The most beneficial features of an LMS for business are the options to integrate corporate email and performance reports or schedules. In an educational LMS, other features are more important, such as the diversity of lesson formats, grading systems, and discussion forums.

In short, an LMS offers many benefits in any context where education or training is provided. Bear these factors in mind to reduce obstacles such as cost, learning curve, or integration with other systems. Choose the best type of LMS for you and improve learning like never before!

Natalia De la Peña Frade
Natalia De la Peña Frade
Content creator: I try to write things you like to read

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