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11 Features to Look for in a Learning Management System

Published on
September 16, 2022
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Streamlining training in your organization is a critical component of organizational success. A Learning Management System (LMS) is meant to make your life easier by centralizing your data and efficiently delivering online training on a broader scale. But what LMS features make the system as effective as possible? 

Read on to learn the 11 features that make an LMS the best for learning. 

What is a Learning Management System?

A woman is drawing on a device while looking at her computer

First, cover the meaning of an LMS, and then we’ll dive into what’s most important for your organization. A learning management system is a software application or web-based technology used to plan, implement, and assess a specific learning process. Typically, instructors or administrators can create and deliver content, track employee or student progress, and manage records.

LMSs are helpful for professional and educational institutions, organizations, and businesses in various ways. They provide a way for instructors to deliver online content, training, and management to learners in an engaging and interactive way. LMSs typically track learners' progress and performance and identify areas where learners may need additional support. LMSs allow training, learning, and development to work seamlessly and smoothly when they are easy-to-use, intuitive, and accessible to everyone.

What Features Should an LMS Have?

  1. Personalized User Experience
  2. Centralized Learning Materials
  3. Hosting Options for Security
  4. Ease of Use
  5. Mobile-friendly 
  6. Reporting and Analytics
  7. Certifications
  8. Cloud Hosting
  9. Roles and Permissions
  10. Content Authoring
  11. Web Content Accessibility 

See complete feature descriptions below!

What Types of LMSs are Out There?

As technology advances, various types of LMSs are brought to the market. It can be overwhelming to learn about and consider the right LMS for your organization, but we’ve broken it down so that you can clearly understand the differences and what would work best for you. Some of the common types include:

  • Cloud-based learning systems: Cloud-based learning management systems are hosted on a remote server and accessed via the internet, making them super easy to use. Everything can be accessed online!  As a result, cloud-based LMSs have increased flexibility and scalability.
  • Open Source learning management system: The LMS is available for free and can be modified or extended by users. In addition, the open-source learning management system is often community-supported and provides substantial flexibility. The perk to an open-source LMS is that anyone with technical expertise can modify the features in the LMS through the code, which makes it very customizable. 
  • Installed LMS: An installed LMS has to be installed on your server, and it’s completely customizable. This LMS is typically the most expensive, but there are almost zero security risks. 
  • Commercial learning management system: This is an LMS that is developed and sold by a company. They are traded as locally hosted products, hosted on a corporate's own server, or as software.

What LMS Features Make it Stand Out from the Competition?

Man holding onto giant images of online tools like amazon web services and google cloud

Although multiple LMSs have been featured in the market, certain learning management features distinguish the best from the rest. 

  1. Personalized User Experience

The key to successful online learning and training is personalization. Personalization allows professionals to develop a learning experience that is specific to the organization or institution. In order to ensure the right look and feel, an LMS should allow for custom logos as well as brand themes and colors. An LMS that focuses on personalization might allow organizations to integrate their website, have personalized eLearning content, and might even have community areas. Some LMSs are now using gamification, meaning they apply play elements to the learning experience.

  1. Centralized Learning Materials

The ability to centralize learning materials, such as providing a central repository for course materials, is a valuable feature for an LMS. In addition, availing of a single platform for accessing learning materials increases learning flexibility and efficient research.

  1. Hosting Options for Security

Hosting content on a secure server can be valuable for an LMS. Anti-spam, domain-restricted registration and antivirus are a few essential security features in an LMS. Accessing online training platforms may put sensitive information at risk. Hence, your LMS needs to have features for frequent updates on their safety protocols and incorporate updated technologies.

  1. Ease of Use

Using an LMS easily without requiring extensive training could be one of the most important factors when choosing an LMS. In addition, an easy-to-use LMS can help reduce the time and cost associated with training and onboarding employees.

Some specific features of an LMS that indicate ease of use are the following:

  • Customer support - A friendly system of communication with your vendors in case of any queries. 
  • Automation - An LMS must make it easier for users to perform certain tasks automatically, allowing you to train and onboard more quickly. 
  • Customization - An LMS should allow customization to specific functionalities, such as through course building, custom reports, or native integrations.
  • Intuitive user interface - A good system is easy to use and interact with without requiring intensive explanations or training. 

  1. Mobile-friendly 

One of the primary advantages of LMSs is the ability for users to access the system at any time and place. An effective LMS provides unlimited access to all components on any mobile device. As a result, learners and administrators can realize the full benefits of online learning from their smartphones, tablets, and other internet-enabled mobile devices. For administrators, assessing training remotely saves time and allows learners to access information within a short time.

  1. Reporting and Analytics

Most LMSs contain basic out-of-the-box reports for efficient use. However, your administrators may require advanced analytics to keep track of training, course progress, and learners' scores. A good LMS allows admins to customize results and data visualizations. In addition, the system differentiates different levels of access among users, allowing efficient reporting at different organizational levels. This feature also enables the admins to export metrics efficiently or schedule reports automatically.

  1. Certifications

Certification and advancement learning within your LMS allow a benchmark for learners' success and achievement. Certifications are an ideal feature if your organization requires safety courses, service training, technical skills training, compliance training, orientation training, etc. 

Certification also provides value by allowing learners to gain knowledge and track progress. Having something tangible to work for motivates people to complete training programs and share it externally. It also allows your organization to set and track goals.

  1. Cloud Hosting

Hosting describes how LMSs store data. The data hosted on the cloud is stored in the vendor's secure server, which can be accessed via the internet. This feature is cost-effective for your organization since pricing is based on users, making users pay for what they are accessing. In addition, cloud hosting leaves most of the maintenance to the vendor. As a result, you can focus on attaining organizational goals without worrying about system updates and maintenance. 

  1. Roles and Permissions

The ability to assign roles and permissions, such as providing administrator, instructor, and student accounts, can be a valuable feature for an LMS. This allows the LMS to be used by multiple users with different access levels. For instance, instructors can assess assignments while students simultaneously access learning materials on the system. This feature creates different levels of accessibility, allowing each party to access and manipulate the platform without interfering with others' accessibility. 

  1. Content Authoring

The ability to create and edit content, such as by providing a content editor, is most often essential. This allows instructors to create custom courses or modify existing practices to meet their needs. This feature will enable users to collaboratively develop coding-free, mobile-friendly, and significantly interactive lessons. In addition, all the content authored can be accessed remotely by authorized personnel. 

  1. Web Content Accessibility 

Accessibility is important because everyone deserves equal access to the same resources. No one should be denied an opportunity because of a disability, and everyone should have the same opportunities to participate in society. Since the Covid-19 pandemic, many industries have gone either partially or fully remote. Employers must now consider using an LMS that is accessible to people of all abilities to ensure an inclusive and productive workplace.

WCAG (Web Content Accessibility Guidelines) 2.0 is developed by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) to offer recommendations to make web content more accessible. The WCAG provides a standard shared platform for accessing web content that meets individual, organizational, and government needs.

Visit our blog on Why Digital Accessibility Standards Matter for more information.

The Importance of Accessibility in the Digital Age

A man and a woman pointing to a hologram of a woman

The WCAG is a set of standards that help to ensure that web-based content is accessible to all, thus creating a more inclusive web. Compliance with these standards can help to improve the user experience for all users, including those with disabilities.

What is Accessibility?

Accessibility refers to the ability of all users, including those with disabilities, to access and use digital content.

What Accessibility Features Should an LMS have?

Two people adding points to a life-size checklist

Institutions committed to creating an all-inclusive and positive learning environment implement necessary measures to cultivate a learning atmosphere where everyone feels welcome and comfortable. Here are some of the accessibility features an LMS should have:

  • Screen readers and/or navigation with screen readers are essential accessibility tools for people with visual disabilities. The readers allow users access and interact with digital content through touch or audio.
  • Assistive technology improves an individual's independence in learning and working by helping people with disabilities to solve problems with minimal personal assistance. Assistive technology is any product system, piece of equipment, or product, whether customized or acquired commercially, to enhance or maintain the functional capability of people with different abilities comprises assistive technology. 
  • Color contrast between foreground and background affects users' ability to perceive information. For effective accessibility, a color ratio of 4.5.1 between the foreground and the background color is important. Content zoom allows people with different visibility capacities to enlarge or minimize text font for effective visualization.
  • A Keyboard friendly tool enables users to access webpages without using a mouse. A visible keyboard focus and appropriate tab order allow users to navigate through web pages with minimal visibility.
  • Closed captions include translations of caption content involving speech and non-speech information.
  • Alt text for images and non-text content enables people with visual disabilities to comprehend visual content such as pictures and other graphical content.
  • Adaptive keyboards are modified to enable special-needs users to access and use their computers effectively. Adaptive features may include easy-to-read labels, bright colors, customized overlays, and QWERTY or ABC layouts..

The Learning Management System Built for Accessibility

LMSs enhance effective learning for users of all abilities. While there are multiple LMS vendors in the market, few can provide usability, scalability, and accessibility features you need to enhance learning equity for learners of different abilities. 

YesLMS is a cloud-based, easy-to-use LMS that allows institutions and business organizations to offer learning opportunities to users of all abilities. YesLMS’s platform is efficient for learners and administrators, and is built to scale. In addition, YesLMS provides comprehensive accessibility features, so that no person at an organization is left out. 

Contact us today for help creating an accessibility-friendly learning environment.

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