Purchasing new learning management software is similar to shopping for a new vehicle. You can either opt for a Sentra-type automobile or something more luxurious and loaded with features, like an Audi A4. Regardless of what you eventually decide upon, it’s important to first evaluate your needs and educate yourself about what features are currently available on various e-learning platforms. This powerful knowledge will aid you in selecting the best LMS for your business needs and ensure that you get all of the bells and whistles you are looking for. Your learning management system requirements may change as your business evolves, but these 9 LMS features will introduce you to some of the elements you should consider before purchasing your next LMS.
- Cloud-based operations: The engine of modern learning management system software is based in the cloud. Cloud services are faster to implement, cheaper to operate and require no hardware compared to on-premise solutions. Through a cloud-based LMS, users access learning materials from any location, so they are no longer tied to a terminal in your building.
- Mobile support: The best learning management system for most businesses includes mobile support. If your LMS is a car, mobile support represents the wheels by allowing your users to access important information from any device with Internet access. In 2015, a growing number of users in your organization only connected to the Internet through mobile devices, not a desktop or laptop, and the failure to add mobile support to your LMS makes it difficult for these individuals to get to your training materials.
- Testing: One of the LMS features that companies underestimate is testing. Much like the steering system in your car, a strong testing program assures you that users are moving in the right direction. Take this a step further to utilize the testing in your LMS platform as a certification program for all the members of your extended sales channel.
- Reporting: Learning management system software that lacks sufficient reporting tools is as useful as a shattered windshield. You have some idea where you're headed, but the cracks obscure the details of the road. Strong reporting tools are essential LMS requirements because they provide statistical feedback about the effectiveness and saturation of the training programs across your company.
- Content uploads: Just as your car won't run for long without fuel, your LMS becomes outdated without frequent content uploads. LMS technology allows you to upload content on your end, rather than waiting for the service provider. Now, changes in policies, product data and training information occur dynamically, at your speed.
- Multilingual options: Millions of American workers have only a functional understanding of spoken English, and no fluency in written English. When you make multilingual and localized training part of your LMS requirements, you give non-native English speakers the tools that they need to complete training in the language with which they are most comfortable. This is similar to the way an adjustable steering wheel works; drivers can tilt the wheel in a way that suits them best.
- User interface: The dashboard and instrument panels offer a steady stream of information that helps you drive safely, but if the readouts are not intuitive, driving becomes a distraction. Your learning management system software must have a user interface that's easily understood for the users and managers in your business. An interface that makes sense will translate to less time hunting for information and more time learning.
- Multimedia: A long drive seems even longer when all you have to listen to is the sound of the wheels on the road and your own voice. Users feel the same way when they use an LMS that relies solely on text-based training programs. Multimedia integration helps keep users engaged with the materials and aids in learning, greatly increasing your ROI.
- Security: LoJack and other alarm systems protect your vehicle and belongings from theft, and your learning management system software must have a similar level of protection. Cyberattacks, like the recent Sony and Target hacks, put customer and company information at incredible risk. A robust security plan for your data, protected by the cloud-based LMS service you use, will keep private information from becoming public.
It can be difficult to find the perfect learning management system for your organization, but knowing what to look for makes finding the right one easier. If you are on the hunt for a new LMS or have an existing one that doesn’t fit your needs, why not commit to finding a program that promotes the continued evolution of your e-learners and business?