Over the past 20 years, powerful software for managing complex databases has been combined with digital frameworks for managing curriculum, training materials, and evaluation tools. The LMS allows anyone to create, track, manage and distribute learning materials of any kind. Nearly a ten billion-dollar industry, LMS products and software allow any organization to develop electronic coursework, deliver it with unprecedented reach and flexibility, and manage its continued use over time.
The LMS has become a powerful tool for consulting companies that specialize in staffing and training, extension schools, and any corporation looking to get a better grasp on the continuing education of its workforce. Its impact has been felt mostly outside of traditional education institutions, though the same technological and market forces are dramatically changing today’s classroom as well.
The traditional application of an LMS is in educational institutions. Learning management systems have been used for several years to deliver courseware in schools and popularize e-learning. In the last few decades, companies have been using learning management systems to deliver training to internal employees and customers. The technology has become a powerful tool for consulting companies that specialize in staffing and training, extension schools, and any corporation looking to get a better grasp on the continuing education of its workforce. Its impact has been felt mostly outside of traditional education institutions, though the same technological and market forces are dramatically changing today’s classroom as well.
Below is a quick review of some of the common aspects of the LMS industry, a few of its strengths and limitations, and a peek at what the future may hold.
What are some of the common aspects of the LMS industry? What are the strengths and limitations, of an LMS? What does the future hold for learning management systems in education, and in business?
Components of an LMS
There are close to 600 varieties of LMS available for purchase today. Each is unique, and possesses a feature set to meet the needs of a variety of trainers and educators. Some common components or features that can be found in many eLearning platforms include:
- Rosters: A digital roll call sheet for tracking attendance and for sending invitations to class participants.
- Registration Control: The ability to monitor and customize the registration processes of elearning curriculum.
- Document Management: Upload and management of documents containing curricular content.
- Multiple device access: Delivery of course content over web-based interfaces such as desktops, phones or tablets.
- Distributed instructor and student base: Remote participation by the instructor or pupil allows courseware to feature multiple teachers or experts from across the globe.
- Course calendars: Creation and publication of course schedules, deadlines and tests.
- Student Engagement: Interaction between and among students, such as instant messaging, email, and discussion forums.
- Assessment and testing: Creation of varied knowledge retention exercises such as short quizzes and comprehensive exams
- Grading and Scoring: Advanced tracking and charting of student performance over time.
Who uses an LMS?
Every business needs to train their employees. Mindflash LMS can be used in any vertical, by any department. Here are a few examples:
Software: Software companies face several training challenges. They need to train customers all over the world on their varied and often complex products. They need to train partners on the best tactics to sell. With the ever changing universe of tools, programming languages and internal products, software companies also need to keep their staff up to date on the latest programs, utilities and company practices.
Healthcare: Hospitals, medical device companies and clinics are fast paced, complex environments. There are training needs for compliance, device usage, and staff medical procedures. Using an LMS is essential for repeatable, easy to access coursework in healthcare.
Pharmaceutical/Biotech: The pharmaceutical industry is controlled by a host of regulations to make sure its products are safe and effective. Training is ongoing as the technologies, processes and distribution methods of pharmaceutical goods is constantly being updated. Due to the stringent policies for compliance, training and tracking is essential for companies to stay in business and avoid government scrutiny. Using an LMS is vital for a pharmaceutical company.
Marketing and Advertising services: The world of marketing is ever expanding. With multiple mediums to track in the modern landscape such as broadcast media, social media, webinars and paid digital advertising, marketers need to be constantly learning. With an LMS, marketers learn on the fly, keep track of their knowledge with quiz results, and can onboard new marketers with ease.
Common Features of a Corporate LMS
When an LMS is used in corporate training environments, they often have additional features that satisfy goals relating to knowledge management and performance evaluation, such as:
Automatic enrollment: Logic within an LMS which registers and reminds employees for mandatory courses.
Enhanced Security: Many corporate LMS solutions have single sign in, advanced authentication and firewalls to ensure data security.
Whitelabeling: The ability to create online training content that aligns with a company’s brand
Multi Lingual Support: In a globally distributed company, many employees or partners need training in their native languages. A corporate LMS allows training in multiple languages.
Advantages of an LMS
Like many information technology innovations from the past few decades, LMS software is able to add a level of efficiency to companies’ learning systems, with a number of other benefits emerging as well, such as:
- Easily adapting and reusing materials over time.
- More choices for creators of curriculum, such as method of delivery, design of materials, and techniques for evaluation.
- Creating economies of scale that make it less costly for organizations to develop and maintain content for which they used to rely on third parties.
- Improvements in professional development and evaluation, allowing companies to get more value from human resources while empowering individuals with additional tools for self-improvement.
The Future of LMS
The LMS market is booming. With an increasingly mobile population and distributed workforces – the demand for eLearning is at an all-time high. The online training business continues to evolve and adapt to new learning challenges and technological capabilities. Future enhancements of LMS technology:
- Tighter integration into collaborative software platforms and messaging frameworks, such as Salesforce and Zendesk.
- Migration of data storage to network-based methods, commonly known as “the cloud.”
- Further integration with talent management software systems.
- Anytime learning with wearable technology integration
- Faial recognition engagement tracking
Current trends in technology and business are favoring the increase of collaborative, web-based applications, user-oriented design, and other features that are often grouped together under the term “Web 2.0.” By further inverting the traditional forms of interaction between instructors and pupils, and enabling a great amount of content to be created and managed more easily, the future of LMS appears to be a dynamic one.