A learning management system (LMS) platform allows learning and development (L&D) teams to upload, schedule, curate and assign relevant training materials to each employee across an entire organisation. But, how do you know which platform out there is right for your business?
For learning and development (L&D) teams, learning management system (LMS) platforms offer a whole host of benefits including the ability to assign mandatory training content, create learning journeys for individuals or groups, and track progress towards learning goals.
However, choosing the right LMS platform is not always an easy task. It’s important to recognise the differences between platforms, how they can integrate with your current solutions and identify which one will help you achieve your business goals.
But no matter what, when looking for an LMS platform, the first step is always to decide what you need it for.
How can an LMS platform help achieve my business goals?
LMS platforms are incredibly adaptive tools. They can be used by individuals, teams, or a business to create bespoke digital learning experiences, but the role or functions of an LMS platform will vary depending on the learning goals of the business implementing it, not to mention the industry they’re in.
That’s because through an LMS platform, users are able to create and deliver online training such as:
Academic training: from primary to higher education, LMS platforms can be used by educational institutions including schools, colleges, and universities to offer an open, friendly, and flexible learning environment, with the ability to create personalised learning paths for students and provide certifications remotely.
Corporate training: where an LMS platform can become part of the talent management, L&D or new employee onboarding process.
Customer training: software companies often take this approach to educate their customers through learning programs on how to use their products.
To sell online courses: mainly used by online instructors, entrepreneurs, and course creators, this is where an LMS platform can be used to create course material and learning programs in any subject that can be taught or is related to a business.
How many types of LMS platforms are there?
Plenty, but the most popular types are:
Cloud based LMS platforms: used by businesses who want to get up and running without using design or development resources. This type of LMS platform is hosted by a platform provider, and offers an online, plug-and-play platform to create your central learning hub.
Installed LMS (on-premises) LMS platforms: not as common, but this option gives more control over how and where data is hosted. Using this type of LMS platform is a good choice if your business prioritises security above all else and has the in-house resources to manage the technology.
Open-source LMS platforms: free to use and adaptable to each business’ specifications, though this type of LMS platform will still need some design and development resources.
Custom-built LMS platforms: for businesses with a significant budget and a very specific idea of what’s needed. This is a tailor-made system, built and maintained by an in-house or outsourced development team, offering full control over every aspect of the final outcome and process.
Are LMS platforms easy to implement?
Most LMS platforms do allow open integrations with other applications, though the number of applications that it integrates can vary per provider, and some (albeit very few) LMS platforms don’t allow any integration at all.
For those that do, integrations help businesses derive more value from information exchange between applications, and their LMS platform can integrate with performance management, talent management systems, and other L&D applications.
It also enables integration with social media applications, email, and other internet applications to facilitate user data exchange as well, enhancing the overall learner experience.
LMS platforms without integrations, however, have limited functions and therefore offer limited results.
How do I know which LMS platform is right for me?
Choosing an LMS platform is not always an easy decision, but we do have some top tips to help make that process a little bit easier:
- Read platform reviews: these can tell you so much about what an LMS platform can really do for you, as they are direct comments from customers or system users.
- Look out for user feedback: don’t be afraid to reach out to people from your community who have tried the LMS platform of your choice and ask them what their experience has been like.
- Request a trial: taking a test drive of your top few LMS platforms can help you decide if its features and functions are worth investing in.
At BuildEmpire, we completely appreciate that with so many different types of LMS platforms out there, finding the best one for your business can be quite overwhelming.
If you’re not sure where to start, we can help you achieve those L&D goals with anything from custom software solutions to bespoke virtual learning environments. In fact, we can even design and build the perfect learning management system to fit your L&D needs both now and in the future, supporting your business for as long as you need us.
To find out more, get in touch.