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Online resources to help you select, implement, and use an LMS

What is a Learning Management system (LMS)?

04.15.2015

At its most basic, a learning management system is a software-based information system that delivers e-learning courses and keeps track of student progress. It is typically used internally by small, medium or large enterprises for training employees, and monitoring the effectiveness of the training program and is deployed via the web. The LMS can be hosted or installed. It is especially useful for ensuring that state- and federally-mandated courses are delivered in a timely manner, and should include associated reports to support this function.

However, most LMS’s are not this basic. They can be complicated or streamlined; easy-to-use or cluttered with bells and whistles. Below I’ve listed some additional functions that our clients have deemed useful, and in most cases, required of any LMS worth its salt.

Instructor-led training.

While tracking e-learning is great, many organizations need to track all types of training, including instructor-led and third party. Tracking instructor-led training means that trainees can register for courses (or added to a waitlist), or be assigned by a manager. Instructors can record attendance, add notes and comments, and setup/manage classroom sessions. Automatic reminders, conflict detection (you are already scheduled to attend a course on that day/time), and integration with Outlook’s calendar – are also supported.

Course authoring.

Some LMS’s come with course editing capabilities so you can create and manage training content without using a third party tool. While you may not use the editor to create the entire course, it can make it easy to update, or correct, course content.

Discussion forum support.

Great feature to foster community and allow trainees to learn from each other. Instructors can see what kinds of information trainees are looking for, and modify the course content as needed.

Reporting.

A major goal of using an LMS is to streamline and simplify the administrative tasks associated with training programs. So a robust reporting feature is a must for most people. Reports detail training, compliance, users, courses, instructors, survey results, and more!

AICC/SCORM support.

This feature allows you to use third party software (Captivate, Articulate, Camtasia Studio) to create online training courses. These courses typically allow for more interaction with the trainee, support branching, and extended quiz types.

Requirements tracking.

Since the LMS administers and tracks training, it is especially useful to automatically keep track of required courses and automate reminders, overdue notifications, and automatic escalation notices. This is essential if you need to track state or federally regulated training.

This is just a brief overview of what an LMS is and what using one can do for you! And remember, you can try TrainCaster LMS absolutely FREE for 30 days!