What is a learning management system?

A learning management system (LMS) is a type of software that companies use to train and educate employees, clients, and business partners. Traditionally, work training programs would take place in person over a few hours or days. But LMS technology streamlines this learning process. 

It provides a one-stop shop for educational content, offering learning options including videos, programs, courses, quizzes, and guides. The content can be live or recorded so individuals in different locations, time zones, and companies can easily access it. Companies use LMSs to:

  • Create informational content
  • Organize it in a centralized digital location
  • Deliver it directly to the targeted audience 
  • Monitor learning progress 
  • Facilitate learning collaboration

Why should HR leaders care about a learning management system?

Learning management system software provides customized, informative content to engage, motivate, and develop the workforce while boosting productivity and retention. An LMS promotes professional growth in the workforce—propelling the company forward toward reaching its business goals. LMSs can optimize HR functions such as:  

Common learning management system features and components

LMSs vary depending on the needs of the organization. They offer a wide range of features designed to enhance the learning experience and streamline administrative tasks. 

Some common features and components include:

  • User management. Administrators can manage user profiles, roles, and permissions so that learners have access to the appropriate courses and materials.
  • Course creation. Instructors can create, organize, and deliver courses. They can upload different types of content, set assignments, and manage grading.
  • Reporting and analytics. An LMS provides data on learner progress, completion rates, and assessment results, helping administrators make informed decisions.
  • Device compatibility. Many LMSs are mobile-friendly, allowing learners to access content and participate in courses using smartphones and tablets.

Types of learning management systems

There are a number of different types of LMS:

  • Corporate LMSs. Tailored for employee training and development,  they include features like compliance tracking, skills gap analysis, and performance management. 
  • Open-source LMSs. These platforms are customizable and free to use, providing flexibility for organizations that want to tailor the system to their specific needs.
  • Cloud-based LMSs. The cloud hosts these online learning management systems, offering scalability and accessibility from anywhere with an internet connection. 
  • Hosted LMSs. Organizations can install these LMS platforms on local servers or hardware, giving them full control.

How do learning management systems work?

Learners and instructors can access an enterprise’s learning management system by creating user accounts. 

These platforms may have pre-built courses or may allow organizations to easily build their own. Instructors upload course materials for learners on the platform, such as text, videos, quizzes, and assignments.

An LMS usually generates reports on learner performance and course effectiveness, so management can track progress. Administrators can use this data to make improvements.

How to choose the best learning management system

  1. Define your objectives. Clearly outline your learning objectives and the desired outcomes.
  2. Assess scalability. Consider whether the LMS can accommodate your current and future needs. 
  3. Consider your budget. Determine your budget for the LMS, including initial setup costs and ongoing maintenance fees. 
  4. Ensure a user-friendly interface. Ensure that the LMS has an intuitive interface for both administrators and learners. Usability is crucial for adoption.
  5. Check content compatibility. Check that the LMS supports the types of content you plan to deliver, such as multimedia and interactive elements. 
  6. Test integration capabilities. If you plan to integrate the LMS with other systems, make sure it’s able to work with them.
  7. Assess LMS training and support. Evaluate the level of training and support provided by different learning management system vendors.

How to successfully implement a learning management system

  • Choose wisely. Because there are a dizzying number of LMSs, HR leaders must focus on why they want to incorporate an LMS and how it will help them reach their goals. What’s more, understanding different learning styles helps leaders select a program that will promote growth and higher performance among the workforce.    
  • Promote the LMS internally. To reap the benefits of an LMS, everyone must be on board. HR professionals can incorporate different methods to motivate professionals to use the LMS, such as gamification, incentives, and preparing them for the new LMS a few months ahead of time.  
  • Gather feedback. Employee feedback is crucial, as understanding what team members like and dislike about the LMS enables HR leaders to adjust the LMS to be more personalized and user-friendly.
  • Check in with managers. To encourage a smooth transition into the LMS, maintain regular communication with managers. Supporting their adaptation and adjustment to the new LMS will help them lead their teams to embrace the new system.  
  • Fuse the LMS with traditional learning. Standard, in-person training shouldn’t be disregarded. For example, interactive group workshops and on-the-job training are still worthwhile and may be just the learning style team members need. HR leaders can use an LMS to complement traditional learning methods and monitor the progress of professionals.

How can a learning management system improve company culture?

Enabling professionals to develop their knowledge and skills can nurture meaning in the workplace, improve their performance, and boost their value to the company. Supporting employee development allows companies to build a learning culture that facilitates business growth while keeping up with the rapidly changing world of work.

Learning management system examples and use cases

An HR learning management system can have a wide range of uses. Below are some examples of platforms that integrate with HiBob and some of their capabilities:

  • 360learning. A collaborative learning platform that can help with creating a personalized onboarding experience.
  • Learnster. An LMS with a variety of uses including compliance training that keeps team members up to date with legal requirements and industry standards. 
  • Learn Amp. A platform that supports learning and development. It’s helped organizations retain top talent by offering development programs with clear routes for progression. 
  • Auzmor. An LMS that specializes in upskilling an organization’s professionals with both pre-built and custom courses. 
  • eloomi. A platform that has helped businesses create online training academies that improve employee engagement and customer satisfaction.

Future trends in learning management systems

When it comes to LMSs, there are several future trends that will reshape learning and development for professionals: 

  1. AI and personalization. AI in LMSs will offer personalized learning paths, recommendations, and instant assessments—saving instructors time.
  2. Microlearning. Attention spans are only getting shorter. Brief, focused content modules will become the norm, catering to learners’ busy schedules.
  3. Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR). AR and VR technologies will enhance immersive learning experiences.
  4. Social learning. Social features within LMSs, such as integration with social media, chat functions, and forums will make it easier for team members to collaborate and share knowledge.

Reap the benefits of a learning management system

LMSs can play a pivotal role in training an organization’s professionals as well as its customers and business partners. By understanding selection criteria and emerging trends, along with common types of LMSs and their features, organizations will be able to fully reap the benefits of learning and development.