LMS
An Introduction

How an LMS
works

Managing
LMS Users

Evaluation

Key
LMS Features

Why choose
PlayAblo™ LMS?

LMS: An Introduction

An LMS helps you develop, manage, and deliver eLearning courses in the same manner that word processors (like Microsoft Word) and email servers (like Gmail) let you compose papers and manage your email. So what does LMS stand for? It means Learning Management System.

L

Learning
Learning Since an LMS is used to deliver training programs

M

Management
Management Since it helps in course organisation

S

System
System Since the software platform provides you feed- back to measure progress and tweak specific areas that need improvement

A Learning Management System comprises two segments:

First is an admin interface where a training manager organises their learning programmes by doing back-office operations. They may use this to design, administer, and distribute courses, add learners, analyse reports, and automate notifications, among other things.

The second is an eLearning module which is a graphical user interface. The eLearning module runs as an app on smartphones and web-browsers (very much like your Gmail or Facebook). The eLearning module is what learners see when they enrol in a course or are assigned to one.

So, what are the exact functions of an LMS?
A learning management system (LMS) aids you in the following ways:

  • Create: Create online lessons (also known as eLearning content in the industry). Individual lessons can be combined to form courses.

  • Auto-Assign or offer to your workforce, partners, consumers, or the general public.

  • Enrolling and managing your training audiences is something you should keep an eye on. You can additionally track and maintain evaluation reports on their progress.

Who are the primary users of an LMS?

An LMS is used by everyone who delivers eLearning courses, which encompasses many more than educational institutions.

Here are some instances of enterprises and organisations that use a learning management system (LMS) for training:


  • Companies of all sizes, from major global corporations to small and medium-sized organisations

  • Healthcare organizations, financial institutions, customer service and contact centres for example, are among the companies represented.

  • Government agencies, government agencies, and regional government offices range from the United Nations to your local co-op.

  • Non-profits and non-governmental organizations (NGOs)

  • Companies that provide consulting services

  • Academic Institutions (schools, universities, colleges)

  • Educational institutions that are based on the internet and eLearning

  • Coaches and teachers who work independently

It is evident that a Learning Management System may meet a variety of training requirements. A subject matter expert can use an LMS to offer their courses online, train personnel internally, and a consulting firm to train clients on various topics.


What may an LMS be used for?

An LMS can be used for various learning activities (like the "L" in the acronym indicates). As a result, an LMS has become a vital business tool that both large and small businesses have adopted.

The following are a few of the most typical applications for an LMS platform:

Employees should be trained.

Whether you work for an insurance business, a scooter manufacturer, a hospital, or a government agency, you'll need to teach your employees regularly. You might want to provide compliance training to your staff, or you might need to teach existing personnel new skills.

Because your employees may study the material online at their own pace with a corporate LMS, you can avoid the business disruptions that come with traditional learning.

You can save money and time on staff training by using an LMS to conduct eLearning instead of hiring professional instructors to deliver traditional seminars. Integrated monitoring and reporting tools will also help you acquire a better understanding of staff growth.

Orient new hires

Using a corporate LMS, you may automate and simplify the crucial work of onboarding a new hire. You must still greet them and give them a tour of the office, but the remainder of the information can be studied at their leisure (and refer back to the learning material anytime they need it).

New employees have a hard time recalling specifics about your company's history or compliance procedures. However, with an online onboarding course, you can ensure that they have access to relevant information at all times.

Your learning management system (LMS) is a great way to teach new employees about your company's employee conduct code, privacy policies, and race/sexual harassment policies.

You can also give information on their job duties and responsibilities and information about prospects for career advancement and rewards.

Retain the knowledge of your employees.

The most important contribution you can make for your staff is in their skilling. But you should also learn from the team. When employees leave or retire, knowledge retention guarantees that critical skills, techniques, and information remain with the organisation.

You don't want this essential material to sit in some document management system that no one ever examines; thus, an LMS platform is ideal for the job. It's a knowledge base that can train new employees or those who have transferred from other departments.

Customers and partners should be trained.

You don't have to use your LMS solely for internal purposes. You could also grant access to your customers and external partners.

An LMS can be used to onboard new clients to your product, for example. You can even design a course in your LMS and distribute it to your clients if you are a services organisation helping companies develop their employees' soft skills.

Give salespeople the tools they need.

Employees in the trenches (such as salespeople or customer service representatives) must regularly upgrade their knowledge.

Online training is the most efficient approach to keep them up to date on new products and services, industry changes, and sales techniques. Also, companies can deliver digital training to fresh recruits via online onboarding programs -- thereby, resulting in faster productivity.

Train from afar

Geographical constraints frequently hamper traditional training. Multinational corporations and firms with various locations have a difficult time bringing everyone together for training.

All team members can view the training content or even attend a live webinar from wherever they are if you move your training online. You will save a lot of money and time by doing so.

Encourage education.

A learning management system (LMS) is also an excellent fit for general educational applications.

Here are a few examples: It could be a school imparting online lessons, a traditional educational institution complementing its classroom-based courses, a company educating its customers, or even a government agency or non-governmental organisation (NGO) assisting the general public in their education.


Advantages of Using a Learning Management System (LMS)

The shift from traditional, offline training to eLearning may appear complicated, but the benefits are well worth the effort. Companies gain $30 in productivity for every $1 spent on eLearning. Furthermore, having the appropriate technology in place will make the shift go more smoothly.

The following are some of the advantages of using a learning management system for training:

1. Reduce training costs: Rather than schedule new events (e.g., conferences and presentations) every time you want to train staff and customers, it's more cost-effective to invest in LMS software once and utilise it for all of your training programmes.

2. Quickly update content: Your training manuals don't have to be outdated anymore. You can make adjustments to your training content on the fly when everything is online. Written materials and in-person presentations are less successful because you'll have to start again every time something changes.

3. Train regardless of location: Remote workers should not miss out on training chances. You need not spend time and money bringing everyone into the same room, whether they work from home or another place. Even while working from afar, virtual training can assist in the development of learning programmes.

4. Involve and motivate learners: Training isn't always about learning new skills. It's sometimes a matter of making yourself familiar with company policies or comprehending compliance regulations. In those situations, training may seem unappealing. You can use your LMS to include some interaction and gamification components (e.g., quizzes, prizes, and internal competitions) to ensure that learners stay focused.

5. Learn on the go: Learning programmes might cause productivity to be disrupted. Conferences held during working hours, for example, require individuals to leave their jobs on a particular day and time. However, using an LMS for training allows employees to continue learning even while they are not in the office, at their leisure. Employees can access their training courses while commuting or travelling for work using a mobile LMS platform.

6. Increase employee retention rates: Employees place high importance on career advancement. Create an online course library within your LMS to allow them to improve their skills. Provide courses that boost company knowledge and assist people in obtaining new abilities or growing existing skills without migrating to a different function. This approach will lead to a win-win situation.

7. Keep track of results: Measuring the success of a learning programme is time-consuming. However, an LMS relieves you of some of that load. The majority of LMS platforms generate user engagement data (e.g. how often users log in, finish a course, etc.). LMS reports can also assess your courses based on how well learners perform on follow-up assessments and assignments.

8. Foster a culture of continual learning: Because offline training programmes are challenging to organise, they usually are held once a year or as needed by the firm. However, ready-made courses, online presentations, and webinars make eLearning courses easier to offer.


Learning Management Systems are beneficial to individuals as well as businesses. They also help employees learn more effectively. Employees gain from using a corporate LMS in the following ways:

1. Free skill development: If you provide a course library, your employees will learn skills that will be valuable outside of work, such as communication and empathy. Employees may not have the means or time to independently take this type of training, so this is a wonderful way to keep them interested.

2. Knowledge that sticks: It's impossible to predict how much a learner will retain and understand following a course. In this regard, eLearning can be more effective than traditional learning. Learners can pause a video during an online course, take notes, go back to a previous lesson, or take a follow-up exam to evaluate their understanding rather than viewing a presentation and then forgetting about it.

3. Self-paced training: There is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all programme. Some people can focus on a course for an extended period, while others prefer shorter training sessions. Perhaps some of your staff are already knowledgeable about a subject, while others are new to it and require more time to learn. An LMS is designed to address all of these varied training needs.

4. Learning from anywhere, at any time: Consider employees who work part-time and are required to attend a lecture on a non-working day. Or those who must quit their tasks in the middle of a busy day to attend a pre-arranged workshop. That is no longer the case. You may create flexible training programmes that employees can take whenever they choose with an LMS.

5. Unrestricted access to training materials:

By logging into the LMS, learners can go back to a previous lesson to refresh their knowledge. This approach is beneficial for new employees, who frequently experience knowledge overload during their first few days on the job.


Types of Learning Management Systems

Now that you understand the meaning of an LMS let us look at the various types of LMS. There isn't just one form of LMS like there isn't just one type of software. The number of options available when you look for an LMS to use in your organisation may overwhelm you.

While all platforms were created with training in mind, you'll discover that some are better suited to your learning objectives or sector than others.

Let's go down and evaluate the various kinds of LMS, and see which one would be the ideal fit for your company's training requirements.

LMS Types: Cloud vs Self-hosted vs Private Cloud

A cloud LMS is made available to you by a third party and is usually paid for on a subscription basis. Vendors build LMS features to meet a wide range of training requirements. However, if you want complete control over the eLearning platform and the capacity to make adjustments, you should consider a self-hosted solution.

Installation, upgrades, and server monitoring will be handled by the same team that designed your LMS. Your cloud service provider may also give free or paid backups, as well as upgrading possibilities.

Cloud-based solutions are typically available at various levels, allowing you to select the pricing, performance, and feature combination that best suits your needs. Cloud LMS solutions are often scalable, which means you may start with a basic plan and upgrade to a more advanced plan as your business grows.

A self-hosted LMS platform (also known as locally deployed) is essentially a web application generally sold as a licenced product. This LMS alternative is more secure because you instal and maintain the platform on your server.

You must instal a self-hosted LMS on your own and be responsible for things like data backup and server software updates. After version upgrades, you'll need to contact the seller and renew your licence.

On the plus side, this configuration gives you more flexibility when it comes to interfacing with your local infrastructure and the ability to change the code to meet any unique requirements you may have.

You receive a safe and private LMS environment that doesn't share resources or code with other enterprises, offering you the best possible performance and security, halfway between locally deployed and cloud solutions.

You handle installation, monitoring, and upgrades, but you still have direct access to your LMS to customise or link it with your existing technology infrastructure.

Software as a Service deployment model (SaaS) vs Open-source LMS vs Licensed LMS

SaaS Software: A Service (or SaaS) is the model used by a cloud LMS. This model means you select a software provider, try it out for free if one is available, and then select a pricing plan based on your desired capabilities.

Most LMS software providers offer several pricing options, letting you pick the one that best suits your needs while avoiding paying for features you won't use.

Free plans of commercial LMSs are a great option if you only require basic training. If your team expands and you need more advanced features, you can upgrade to a premium subscription.

You won't need to instal anything on your hard drive or computer because your LMS will be hosted on the provider's server.

You may rest easy knowing that your LMS provider will take care of data security and software faults.

Open-source LMS: An open-source LMS, however, necessitates a specialised IT staff because you will be responsible for installing, customising, and maintaining the system yourself. You'll also have to update the system as needed manually.

If you choose an open-source LMS, there are no upfront licence expenses, but you will likely incur additional costs in the future as you integrate and maintain your system.

You can instal an open-source LMS on your company's server, but you'll have to pay for it and engage an internal or external IT team to configure and support it.

Based on use case/industry: Corporate LMS vs Education LMS

Businesses typically use a corporate learning management system (LMS) to train their workers, partners, clients, or all of them. They may keep all of the training materials and the statistics and progress of the learners in one place.

Many corporate LMSs offer white labelling, allowing businesses to customise their platform by removing the vendor's logo and branding and replacing it with their own.

Corporate LMSs are typically feature-rich to meet a variety of training requirements, including:

● Onboarding instruction

● Training for employees and customers, as well as compliance training

● Sales and customer service training for remote workers

Academic or educational learning management system (LMS) Schools, colleges, universities, and other educational institutions use LMSs. learners log in and either participate in instructor-led training (ILT) or study online material. They also take tests and have their teachers grade them all on the same platform.

Because courses are scheduled in advance and organised according to school terms, content does not need to be updated frequently (e.g., semesters, trimesters, or quarters). Academic LMSs will not offer frequent feature and system improvements as a result of this.

Additionally, companies that choose an academic-based Learning Management System don't have as many technical requirements, such as integrations with other tools, but may require additional support.

While an education LMS is primarily developed for schools, it can also be used by businesses. Similarly, if a corporate LMS better suits its purposes, an educational institution may choose for it.

It all boils down to which LMS software is a better companion to your learning programmes at the end of the day.

How does an LMS work?

It'll be time to start developing your learning environment once you've chosen the ideal LMS for your training needs. You usually go through the following procedures before commencing a training programme.

Build your eLearning course. You must first add your eLearning content to your LMS before you can deliver it.

You can do this by either producing new course material (i.e., composing the content of your courses inside the LMS) or adding current material (a Word document, a PowerPoint presentation, Wikipedia articles, etc.).

An advanced LMS software, such as PlayAblo, allows you to add course material from various sources and formats.

Another essential element of course development is the ability to easily include internet assets (ranging from YouTube videos and Wikipedia pages to online presentations and tweets), enabling you to reap the benefits of the plethora of information available on digital platforms.

Organise your lessons. The next step is to put your eLearning courses in order.

Doing this might be as simple as offering a single course or as complex as releasing many courses across multiple branches for departments and learner groups.

It all relies on your organisation's needs and structure. The finest learning management systems should allow you to structure your eLearning courses in any way you desire.

For example, in PlayAblo, you may combine various organisational options (courses, groups, categories, skills, branches, and so on) to give you complete control over how you offer your lessons. Whether you're a multinational with 20 locations or a tiny firm in a single city, we can help.

Educate your learners You're ready to give your courses to your learners after you've prepared and structured them.

Again, how you go about it is determined by your company's needs and structure.

For example, your courses could be designed for a specific audience, such as internal staff training. Alternatively, they could be made available to a broader audience, either for free (as in an NGO teaching specific skills to people in underdeveloped communities) or for a fee (e.g., an online school offering web-based learning courses).

A modern learning management system (LMS) should be able to handle all of these scenarios, allowing you to serve and manage small and large groups of learners, offer restricted or open enrolment and simply interface with your existing payment gateways to process for paid courses.

With adaptable user interfaces, touch-friendly interactivity, and offline access modes, the finest LMS platforms should be able to cater to mobile devices as well.

Managing LMS Users

Organise your users
The "M" in LMS stands for the ability to manage courses and users.

Let's look at how an LMS can assist you in managing your users now that we've covered course management.

First of all, there will be three types of users. Depending on the LMS you choose, these users may have different names. However, in general, they are:

1. Administrators are the individuals in charge of setting up and configuring the LMS.
2. Instructors or Facilitators are the ones in charge of planning lessons and keeping track of learner progress.
3. Finally, the people who consume the courses are known as Learners.

The administrator and instructor may be the same individual in a tiny firm or organisation. After all, setting up a user-friendly LMS like PlayAblo is no more complicated than setting up a Facebook account.

Employees (if you work for a company, a major organisation, a government agency, or a private company) or learners enrolled in your courses are examples of learners (if you work in the educational sphere)

Managing these users entails the following:

Adding them to the LMS, allocating courses to them, communicating with them as an instructor, choosing what kind of information they are authorised to read, issuing tests and tracking their progress (if you're selling courses), etc. A decent LMS makes these processes less tedious by automating repetitive actions and allowing you to make changes and updates to several items simultaneously.

Keeping track of progress
Keep track of and evaluate the progress of your learners. The ability to measure and monitor learner progress in real-time is one of the most critical capabilities an LMS provides (and a huge time saver).

An LMS gives you automated and rapid access to course enrolment figures, attendance records, learner grades, and many other performance measures, whether you have 10 or 10,000 learners.

Real-time alerts and notifications should be included in the top LMSs. An automated notice, for example, informs the learner when a new course has been allocated to them or when a LIVE session is ready to begin.

Reporting — the capacity to query and display data in graphs and charts so you can immediately notice patterns or anomalies — is another requirement for advanced LMS platforms.

For example, PlayAblo allows you to filter learner and course information in a variety of ways (for example, "show me just learners from department X enrolled in class A," or "show me this learner's test results"). Aggregated statistics are also available, which you can export in an Excel-compatible format.

Evaluating an LMS

EVALUATION -To evaluate which LMS is ideal for your firm,
use the steps below to conduct market research:


1. Determine the most critical aspects of your unique setup.
You want to invest in the ideal LMS. However, what is excellent for one organisation may not be suitable for another. So, based on your requirements, you must first differentiate must-haves from nice-to-haves.

Consider the following scenario:
If you do not have an internal IT team dedicated to setting up and maintaining your system, you must strongly consider opting for a user-friendly SaaS or cloud based LMS.

If you're on a restricted budget, check for LMSs that offer various price plans and pick the one with the most basic functionality.

Choose an LMS that allows you to design unique training programmes for each department, client, or branch while still using the same account.

Check which LMSs allow your preferred payment systems and provide marketing-related tools if you're selling (or plan to sell) online courses.

Choose an LMS with a robust reporting package if you want to keep track of your learning.


2. Ask for client references
Speak to your shortlisted LMS vendors’ customers to hear what they have to say about the software and particularly the support experience. These conversations will give you insights into what the users liked and didn't like about the LMS platform.

Also, look at or ask for case studies. These credentials are usually available on the LMS website. Watch out for businesses that are similar to your size and sector. This check can indicate that the LMS is a suitable fit for you as well.

Prioritise your precise requirements, must-haves, and deal-breakers when reading evaluations and testimonies. Compare the different LMS platforms based on time to go live, for example, if you want to start utilising your LMS as soon as feasible.


3. Try it out for free.
Some LMS providers provide free trials. A free trial is advantageous since you will test the product before committing to a pricing plan.

You'll determine whether the system satisfies all of your requirements, how simple it is to use (for example, creating courses and assigning new users), and whether you have any technical issues that you'd like to discuss with the support team.

After you've thought about everything, make a shortlist of 2-3 LMS platforms and choose the one that checks the most of your high-priority criteria.

For a more detailed and thorough strategy on evaluating the right LMS please read: 9 Questions to Ask Your Vendor Before Selecting an LMS

Most Important LMS Features

We have covered the meaning of a Learning Management System (LMS) and its purpose. The next step is to learn about the features that will assist you in achieving your training objectives.

We have covered this topic in complete detail here, listing 20 key LMS features to look for when you are in the market for a new LMS. However here is a shortlist of the main components to look out for.

You will need these critical elements to improve the learning experiences of your teams and streamline your course management.

  • The LMS user interface can be branded and customised.

  • Hosting webinars and virtual training sessions allows numerous learners to participate through audio and video.

  • Gamification possibilities, allowing training managers to set goals and learners to track their progress, earn awards, and even compete with their co-workers.

  • The mobile-friendly design allows you to utilise your LMS on smartphones and tablets, allowing learners to continue even when they are not connected to the internet.

  • Data interchange and integration with third-party systems using eLearning standards like SCORM and xAPI

We highly recommend that you also go through this entire list of Top 20 LMS features for the first time LMS buyer.

How do you pick the best LMS?
Now that you've gotten a solid sense of what an LMS can do for you and the key features to look out for, it is time to put one in your shopping cart. Which one, though? The quick answer is that the finest LMS is one that meets all of your training requirements while remaining within your budget.

Why Choose PlayAblo™ LMS

PlayAblo is a Learning Management System that is designed to help you succeed. Teams embrace training while feeling at ease with an experience that is configurable, easy to manage, and enjoyable to use.

PlayAblo is trusted by several teams of different shapes, sizes, and industries all around the world because it is:

  • Simple to use (both for learners and administrators)

  • Budget-friendly

  • It's ready to use right out of the box (and can be set up in as little as one day!)

  • Support for Mobile devices, such as phones and tablets.

  • Easy to personalise

  • Ask us for our consumer references and learn what they have to say about PlayAblo. Alternatively, sign up for a free account today to experience for yourself how PlayAblo can assist you in achieving your training objectives.

QUICK LINKS


LMS An Introduction

How an LMS works

Managing LMS Users

Evaluation

Key LMS Features

Why choose PlayAblo™ LMS?