Identifying the key features of a learning management system (LMS) requires a careful consideration of an organisation’s needs and objectives. You should be clear about the purpose and usage of the LMS. You also need to be aware of various prerequisites, such as IT infrastructure and expertise, before adopting an LMS.
This post highlights a few key features an LMS should have and will help you better understand the components that are important while comparing different LMS solutions.
- Ease of Use
- Content Management
A user interface of a good LMS should be intuitive and user-friendly and the learning curve for navigating the LMS should be easy. Ease of use is an essential LMS feature. Recent studies have shown that organisations are thinking of replacing their existing LMS solutions because of ease of use and related usability issues.
It is crucial for many organisations to be able to use data from one application in another. For example, many organisations want to use data from their LMS into their HR management system, or a school may need profiles of students for their fee management system. Therefore, integration is a key feature of a good LMS.
When you compare LMS solutions, you will see that content management is a basic but necessary component of an LMS. An LMS should have the following basic content management features:
- Supports latest international standards for e-learning
- Supports the uploading of existing documents, videos, links, and assessments for learners
- Supports the design of coursework, which is the learning and evaluation materials to be organized into a meaningful and effective learning path
In today’s ever-connected world, everyone is plugged in through various devices like mobile phones and tablets. Therefore, it is very important for an LMS to provide support for learning through these devices as well. This support will help learners learn remotely.
An LMS can very effective for online e-learning. However, a good LMS also accounts for environments where learning primarily takes place offline. Lectures, assignments, projects, seminars, workshops, hands-on demonstrations, and opportunities to practice skills may all deserve a place in a training program. In these cases, blended learning is a necessary LMS feature. Offline learning events should be tracked, recorded, and assessed along with online learning modules.
Evaluation and assessment are always considered to be an integral part of an LMS. These however, may not be available in all LMS solutions. Assessing learners’ progress is important not just for tracking their performance but also for evaluating the quality of available content.
Reporting capabilities is another key feature of an LMS. Reports document and summarise learner progress and performance. They can also highlight the popularity of content modules. Therefore, reporting and tracking of progress is an integral part of an LMS. The reports that an LMS can generate include learning module reports, learning path reports, assessment reports, and blended learning reports.
Security of data in an LMS is another essential feature. An LMS holds the personal data of learners as well as the learning material that is usually proprietary and of commercial value. Therefore, it is mandatory for any application to ensure confidentiality and security of client data. Many LMS solutions restrict the number of users having administrator privileges. However, this strategy often backfires when users have a legitimate need for access but do not have the necessary privileges. Administrative roles with different levels of privileges is an important feature to have in any LMS so there is a check on the administration and management of an LMS while also granting necessary access.
Organisations should be able to put their own branding on an LMS. This feature is important to many organisations, particularly those engaging in e-commerce.
Support and maintenance is a critical feature for any LMS. Guidance and any technical assistance must be provided to an organisation when it is adopting an LMS. During the adoption phase, there may be issues related to a change in flow or configuration of the LMS. Availability of ongoing support is therefore a key consideration when selecting any LMS solution.
The customisation of these LMS features depend on your scope and requirements. When selecting an LMS, identifying the features you need and want will help you make the best decision for your organisation.