What is a Learning Management System? (With Benefits)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 25 July 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

A learning management system (LMS) is software that provides the framework for delivering training and development programs. Educational institutions, such as universities and schools, most commonly use an LMS, but businesses and companies also use this software to develop their employees' skills. Exploring the benefits of an LMS can help you determine effective applications for this software in the workplace. In this article, we define an LMS system, describe the features associated with this software and detail its typical benefits.

What is a learning management system?

A learning management system is a type of software that provides functions for delivering, reviewing and monitoring learning and development programs. It's essentially a digital framework for conducting training and managing development procedures. The software typically includes a variety of tools that provide varying functions, such as assessing performance, providing learning resources and rewarding learning outcomes. Some educational institutions may provide their curriculum purely online, through an LMS. Businesses also utilise an LMS to streamline the process of developing their employees and helping new candidates transition into a role.

Common features in an LMS

Here are common features associated with LMS software:

Rewarding

LMS software incorporates features where managers can develop a custom reward system that provides individuals with rewards that aim to inspire and motivate their continued efforts. The rewards they receive are highly customisable, so the organisation may determine an appropriate system. The rewards are rarely tangible and are usually digital points and badges highlighting learners' progression and success. Educational institutions more commonly utilise a reward system, as young students may require more incentive to learn and develop their skills. Businesses may still use a reward system to show appreciation for their employees' commitment.

Related: Learning Styles for Career Development

Reporting

Most LMS software involves a summary of learning progression that can easily translate into a report for management to view. These reports can be useful for outlining the effectiveness of learning and development programs and the individual performances of learners. Executives within an organisation may want to review learning and development reports to determine if the LMS is achieving the organisation's goals and if it's worth keeping in the business model. Educational institutions may utilise these digital reports for parent-teacher interviews. The reports can outline the subjects where a student may excel or struggle.

Analysing

The reports generated by the LMS can be excellent resources for analysing the effectiveness and engagement of the software. If managers identify employees are achieving excellent progression and understanding of modules, it can suggest its effectiveness in achieving the learning outcomes. Through the LMS, managers can analyse a variety of statistics, such as average time to complete modules, test scores, pass rates and common areas of difficulty. By analysing these statistics, managers can alter, add or remove modules to make the development program more accessible or more effective.

Related: 11 Examples of Analytical Jobs (With Salary Information)

Testing

An LMS software typically has tools for developing tests and examinations that outline student and employee comprehension of learning content. Most organisations incorporate tests to ensure individuals understand and achieve the learning outcomes. Tests are typically highly customisable. Managers might use templates that provide a test framework, such as multiple choice, short and long answer questions. Employees and students may access these tests through their individual accounts on the LMS software. Depending on the organisation, managers may assign time limits, attempt limits and benchmark scores for passing.

Related: What Does a Learning Designer Do? And How to Become One

Assessing

LMS software usually has automated assessment tools that assess all or part of a test. For example, if a test has multiple-choice questions, the LMS can automatically mark the test and provide score results. Depending on the complexity of questions, managers may manually assess short and long-answer questions. The digital framework of the LMS usually allows efficient manual assessment of these questions. Assessment features of an LMS might provide comparison tools, where managers can compare learning results between employees. The LMS typically combines assessments to form reports that managers can later analyse.

Related: A Guide to Assessing Employees (With Importance and Tips)

Discussing

Depending on the LMS software, there may be features that allow managers and employees to discuss learning content. This discussion feature is usually a forum, where individuals can create separate topic threads, communicate directly with colleagues or communicate with management. These forums are typically excellent for promoting learning engagement, improving communication and motivating individuals to excel. Some LMS software may also incorporate messaging services, where individuals can privately communicate with each other and share content.

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Managing

LMS software typically provides features that allow management to access all training and development components. Managers can create folders that store learning modules, test templates, assessments and reports. This can allow for efficient access and retrieval of learning documents. Managers may also customise dashboards that provide individuals with important information, such as upcoming tests and learning content. LMS software usually has admin features for managers, where they can alter almost any aspect of the software. This extensive customisation can ensure organisations develop training programs that achieve a specific learning experience.

Related: What Does a Learning and Development Manager Do? (With FAQs)

6 benefits of a learning management system

Below, you can explore six typical benefits of implementing an LMS in the workplace:

1. Secure data storage

Large corporations may have extensive learning material that can be inefficient to store and organise using physical documentation. An LMS system can allow an organisation to store all its training and development data on a single platform. Depending on the LMS, it may also possess excellent cyber security to prevent the illegal access or distribution of sensitive information that might harm a business.

For example, a competitive aerospace engineering firm may have specific training procedures that are unique to its production process. If that training material becomes public, they may lose their trade secret, which might hinder their competitiveness.

2. Efficient training processes

One of the major benefits of an LMS system might be that it's effective at delivering training programs. Compared to physical testing and learning materials, individuals can access the training program remotely, without documentation requirements. An LMS can also provide individuals with the entirety of their learning material through a single dashboard.

For example, an individual can review their assessment dates, current performance and training progression on a single tab, rather than reviewing several physical documents. This usually allows individuals to manage their time effectively and complete training promptly.

3. Analytical capabilities

LMS software provides managers with analytical tools that allow them to review an abundance of training components. If managers want to review the test results of every individual, they may have extensive documentation to review and retrieve. LMS usually allows for a more accurate and time-efficient analysis of the training program's performance.

For example, a manager can easily identify and compare the training progression of their employees. This analytical comparison provides them with an insight into the difficulty of the learning material.

Related: How to Become a Data Analyst (With Skills and Salary)

4. Lower training and development fees

Depending on an organisation's training and development program, LMS software can usually reduce training expenses. LMS software typically requires an initial investment, but over time, the software can usually provide an excellent return on investment. There are many costs that an LMS can mitigate, such as trainer fees, logistics and venue costs.

For example, if a business wants to train its employees on workplace safety using a physical training program, they may incur travel costs and venue fees. Using LMS software, employees can receive the same training from home, eliminating the cost of transporting employees and hiring a venue.

Related: What Is Cost Accounting? (Plus Different Types of Costs)

5. Effective on-boarding

On-boarding can often be a time-consuming and costly process. If an organisation already uses LMS software, it can incorporate an on-boarding module to help new employees transition into their roles. Depending on the on-boarding requirements, this can save time and money, as new employees can access on-boarding material remotely. LMS software can shorten the on-boarding process and reduce the overall resources required for new employees to become productive in their roles.

Related: How to Create an Onboarding Checklist (With Example)

6. Customisable training

Different organisations may have varying goals and learning outcomes for their training programs. By using LMS software, organisations can tailor a specific program that provides the necessary learning experience to achieve their training goals.

For example, a construction business may want to provide its employees with occupational health and safety skills. Through the LMS, they can create a program with informational pictures and videos that help employees comprehend first-aid procedures. Other businesses may have different training goals, such as improving the awareness of potential safety incidents. They might incorporate info-graphics outlining statistics of workplace incidents.

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