A learning management system is a powerful tool for organizing and managing the learning process for corporate and educational organizations. With the help of LMS, it’s possible to set up distance and online learning, provide real-time feedback and engage learners in the learning process. Besides, LMSs reduce expenses on hiring educators, organizing business trips for educational purposes, etc. Here’re some statistics that prove LMS is a valuable tool for academic institutions and corporations:
Choosing the right LMS software is a challenge for L&D specialists and educators as they need to consider many factors to find a suitable solution. If you’re looking for the best learning management system for your organization, check our simple guide to choosing proper LMS.
Types oflearning management software
The LMS market offers a variety of solutions to choose from. Digging into software feature lists and figuring out their essential purposes is time-consuming. We’ve prepared key information about their usage, features, and advantages to help you get familiar with the most popular types of LMSs quickly. Let’s figure out what LMS, LCMS, and LXP are and which of them could be the right choice for you.
Learning Management System (LMS)
A learning management system is a digital environment that facilitates learning management by delivering learning content, tracking user learning outcomes, and keeping personal information for educational purposes.
Big corporations often use LMSs to simplify access to learning content for their employees, analyze employees’ competencies, foster healthy competition, and scale corporate training. Educational institutions aim to increase students’ engagement, tracking their performance, and providing timely feedback.
Usually, organizations implement learning management systems when there’s a mess in learning plans, course competition rates are low, and educators spend too much time assessing tasks and tracking progress. So, if you need to set up content and learners’ management flow, LMS software is the right choice.
Pro tip: Be careful, even if you already have learning content, it should be organized according to the SCORM standard. SCORM or Sharable Content Object Reference Model is a standardized format for e-courses that guarantees any LMS will accept your courses when importing.
Learning Content Management System (LCMS)
A learning content management system is a platform that provides the ability to create learning content. Usually, organizations use LCMSs when they make learning content by themselves and need a tool to update, manage and deploy it.
LCMS provides organizations and educational institutions with a complete life cycle for managing their learning content from creation to delivery. The software allows for quick content creation, real-time collaboration, and ensuring the safety of unique content.
Pro tip: Keep in mind that both LMS and LCMS serve elearning purposes, but they aren’t interchangeable. While LMS is responsible for learning management, LCMS mainly serves for content creation. Luckily, LCMS can be integrated into LMS to empower the software with content creation tools.
Learning Experience Platform (LXP)
A learning experience platform provides personalized content delivery powered by advanced algorithms. The software analyzes user behavior and preferences and makes data-driven suggestions for each learner. It also allows learners to contribute to a content repository by creating learning assets by themselves.
Corporate and educational industries use LXPs when they need to increase learners’ engagement and provide on-the-go learning. LPs make the learning process flexible, which results in continuous learning for employees and students. Thus, course completion rates increase, and learners get required competencies faster than through an LMS.
Pro tip: LXP is a modern and hype tool that improves the learning experience. But the organizations who need learning management software for compliance purposes should take a detailed look at LMS platforms or use both to bring more outcomes.
LMS, LCMS, LXP: comparison table
As we can see, learning management software helps to organize digital learning, but it can serve different purposes. Let’s summarize critical differences among them.
|What is it?||A learning management system is a digital environment for learning content management.||A learning content management system is a platform for learning content creation.||A learning experience platform is software for personalized content delivery.|
|Key outcomes||Organized learning flow, automation.||Fast and fully-fledged content creation.||Improved learners’ engagement.|
LMS offers broader functionality compared to LCMS and LXP. How to choose the right LMS for your organization will primarily depend on the organizations’ needs and prerequisites.
Choosing the right LMS: key steps
So, you’ve decided to enhance the learning process in your organization with a learning management system. Before searching for “top modern LMSs,” focus on the goals you want to achieve. Consider the following steps of choosing the right LMS.
Step 1. Identify your learning needs and requirements
The market is full of fancy learning management solutions. They offer advanced features and promise outstanding outcomes. But there’s no guarantee that modern features will address your specific requirements. Finding the solution that fits your learning goals should be your primary goal.
We suggest starting from assessing your prerequisites. If you’re thinking of implementing an LMS, you probably already have some sort of learning environment in your organization. Highlight any critical detail:
- What digital environment do you have?
- How do you produce and keep your learning content?
- In what file formats do you keep your courses?
- Is your digital environment open for integrations?
- How many learners are you going to manage?
- What budget do you have?
It would be great if you mapped your learning goals in collaboration with your learners and educators. As the main users, they could bring insightful ideas about the processes you could improve. Here’re few examples of what your learning goals could be:
- automate learning management,
- centralize learning content,
- organize learning plans,
- personalize the learning process,
- improve content delivery, etc.
When your goals are highlighted, you can choose the type of LMS that suits your goals most. Remember that there are LMS, LCMS, and LXP solutions to choose from.
Step 2. Research available solutions
With a list of goals in hand, you can start digging into available solutions’ features to find what’s best for you. Although LMS, LCMS, and LXP serve different purposes, they have several technical peculiarities in common. When choosing the best LMS for you, check the following LMS characteristics:
- Scalability. A decent LMS should be able to withstand a large flow of users. Ask an LMS provider how the system deals with an increase in the number of users. If your organization scales, the platform scalability will be crucial.
- Integration. Check if an LMS easily integrates with your digital environment and how much time it will take to implement the system.
Reporting analytics. Analytics can help you improve the learning outcomes of your employees or students. Ensure the software offers advanced analytics such as learning behavior and not just data about time spent on a particular task.
- Mobile-friendly design. Your LMS should be accessible from different devices to provide learners and educators the flexibility of interaction with the LMS whenever they need it.
- Security. As the software will interact with sensitive data, be sure it’s protected from data corruption and fraud. Secure software usually has multi-factor authentication, password validation, data encryption features, and data backup.
- Post-implementation service. Ask your LMS provider if it offers a help center or help manager after you implement their LMS. It could be helpful if any concern occurs.
Pick three to five suitable LMSs and go to the next step.
Step 3. Request a demo or free trial
Now you can try all the functionality of the LMSs you’ve chosen. LMS providers usually offer a demo presentation or a free trial of their product. Before going through a demo, develop a list of questions for the vendor representative. For a free trial, you can create several scenarios of how you’ll use the platform to ease up the assessment. Engage your learners and educators in evaluation to get unbiased conclusions. Here are a few scenarios you can test, for starters:
- How do I add all the learners to a platform?
- How do I enroll learners in a specific course?
- Does a reporting tool provide a clear user interface?
- How do educators make assessments?
When you try several solutions, you may feel that some functions are not enough for your needs, or you will realize that you need an individual approach. Then you can always turn to experienced developers to create a unique and advanced platform for your organization.
Ready-made solution vs a custom LMS
|Ready-made LMS solution||Custom LMS|
|How it works||LMS providers offer subscription plans so you can have an out-of-the-box solution for your organization.||You turn to a development provider that creates the LMS from scratch according to your requirements.|
Step 4. Make your decision
Once you have compared several solutions and become more familiar with their functions and interface, you can make a more informed choice. Choose a platform based on facts and following your goals, then your decision will not disappoint you.
BONUS: Mistakesto avoid when looking for an LMS
It’s a huge responsibility to choose the software for an entire organization. You should consider several variables to satisfy the business requirements of your organization as well as the end-user. We’ve already mentioned that learning goals, LMS features, and technical characteristics are essential. What other pitfalls can you encounter, and how to avoid them? Let’s see.
Choosing based on price only
Although your budget may be limited, choosing the LMS by price only is a losing strategy. When focusing on a fee, you may overlook how the LMS works, what features are included in the price, etc. Spending too much money is also not an option, as you can overpay for the features you’ll never use. The best way to get a reliable LMS is seeking for a balance between price and software capabilities while keeping in mind your learning goals. Besides, LMS providers may offer flexible payment conditions. Here are the most popular payment models for LMS software:
- Pay per registered user. It’s a good option for small organizations or educational institutions, as you pay for each additional user. Besides, LMs providers often offer discounts, so feel free to ask for one.
- Pay per active user. This model works similarly to the previous one, but you pay for active users on an LMS. It’s an excellent option for big corporations, as not all employees study simultaneously.
- Subscription. Subscription plans imply you pay each month/quarter/year a fixed price for using the software.
Neglecting the technical skills of your LMS users
How do you assess the technical skills of your LMS users? Are they used to using technical solutions in their work and everyday life? Even if you think your LMS users will quickly adapt to the new interface, still it’s better not to leave them with a new system all alone. This means you should prepare for an adaptation period during which the users will have the opportunity to try everything out. Usually, LMS providers prepare a knowledge base, tutorials, and other content to explain how to use their product effectively. We recommend you check it for availability from your LMS provider.
Forgetting about LMS security
We’ve already mentioned that each LMS works with users’ sensitive data. Anything from personal contacts to social security numbers can be destroyed or stolen by cybercriminals. Moreover, an unprotected LMS can be a weak point, which gives attackers access to your entire digital environment. That’s why you should choose reliable and secure LMS software for your organization.
LMS providers should provide you with the information about security layers they use to protect the software. Ask them for GDPR and ISO 27001 compliance. These are regulations that guide how sensitive data should be stored and transferred securely.
Now you know everything, you need to start looking for a learning management system for your organization. We’re sure that you will find the best fit for you in no time. Let’s outline the main ideas to consider when choosing the right LMS:
- Consider your starting point
- Set precise learning goals
- Look for a feature set that fits your requirements
- Try software out
- Ask learners and educators to test the LMS
- Seek for a money-benefit balance
- Remember about security.
If you aren’t satisfied with the LMS solutions the market offers, you can turn to a developers team to make the software you need.
How to choosethe right LMS?
Before searching for “top modern LMSs,” focus on the goals you want to achieve. Consider the following steps of choosing the right LMS:
- Step 1. Identify your learning needs and requirements.
- Step 2. Research available solutions
- Step 3. Request a demo or free trial
- Step 4. Make your decision
What are the different types of LMS software?
The LMS market offers a variety of solutions to choose from. The most popular LMS software is the learning management system (LMS), learning content management system (LCMS), and learning experience system (LPX). LMS focuses on learning content management, LCMS is responsible for content creation, and LPX offers advanced content delivery.
What should I look for in a learning management system?
When choosing the right LMS, lean on your learning goals. You should select the LMS features that will bring you expected outcomes. There are other things to consider when looking for an LMS:
- Is an LMS scalable?
- Can you integrate an LMS with your digital environment?
- Does it provide report analytics tools?
- Is it mobile-friendly?
- Is it secure?