A Quick Guide on the Types and Features of Learning Management Systems

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A Quick Guide on the Types and Features of Learning Management SystemsLearning is a continuous process no matter what industry you belong in. As more people realize the value and practicality of eLearning, learning institutions are slowly transitioning their classes into virtual learning spaces, increasing the need for learning management systems (LMS) to assist in facilitating employee training and development.

Putting an LMS in place allows different organizations, academic or corporate, to manage their learning or training programs more efficiently, and monitor student performance using a centralized system that can be accessed by leaders, educators and learners anytime and anywhere.

To fully understand what an LMS is all about, it is important to know the types of LMS and some key features to keep an eye out for when choosing the right LMS product for one’s organization. Although an LMS serves the common purpose of deploying and managing eLearning courses to various learners, there are also certain features that can help you narrow down your options in your search for the right LMS. Here are some factors to consider:

  1. Free LMS Software – Also known as “open source” LMS, these are highly customizable systems that can be tailor fitted to match the specific needs of any organization, regardless of industry. They are flexible enough to be utilized in rapidly changing technology markets. Open source LMSs are most suitable for those who have advanced knowledge of open source codes, as these do not come with proper “technical support,” and may be difficult for those just beginning to explore the functions of learning management systems.
     
  2. Commercial LMS Software – This is typically pricier compared to its free counterpart as it comes with necessary customer and technical support. It is also easier to deploy and manage, making it an appropriate choice for large-scale organizations. Commercial LMS are further classified into two types: installed and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS). The former is usually hosted on the organization’s local servers while the latter is hosted on the LMS vendor’s servers, with data typically stored in the cloud.

    SaaS products are more flexible, especially in terms of scalability. Because the LMS is sold to the customer as a service, the bulk of the work in terms of maintenance, systems management and IT support are responsibilities of the vendor and not the client. And because all data is stored in the cloud, this type of LMS can be easily upgraded or downgraded without affecting the efficiency of the system.

    On the other hand, locally installed LMSs offer better customization. This is most suitable for organizations that have in-house IT support that can manage the system and immediately address concerns on customization, scalability and functionality.
     
  3. Custom Features – It is also important to consider the purpose for which you will be using your LMS. Most systems can only distribute and track content, while other LMS are equipped with authoring tools that allow content creators and designers to develop their own unique eLearning courses within the system.

    Another important capability is app integration. An LMS becomes a true gem to a company if it can be easily integrated with other applications currently being used by the organization. These include work calendars, emails and other social networking platforms such as Facebook, LinkedIn and even Twitter.

    Because LMSs also provide real-time employee assessments, they can also be integrated with talent management systems that are centered on providing assistance in HR functions such as recruiting, training and performance management.

Depending on the needs of the organization, it is important to closely examine every available LMS to find the best one that will suit your needs. Before deciding to purchase a learning management system, it is also important to iron out the details and strategies that you will be using to implement your organization’s eLearning initiatives.

ADEC Innovations Knowledge Management is a key player in learning and development and the educational services industry. We bring customized learning solutions that facilitate effective learning in both academic and corporate settings. Dial +63 2 7750632 or visit www.km.adec-innovations.com to learn about how your organization can take advantage of our sustainable and cost-effective learning solutions.