What is a LMS?
The term “Learning Management System” (LMS) makes an appearance quite frequently in eLearning articles, tip sheets, and beginner’s guides. As such, it’s important to get a good grasp on what a Learning Management System entails and the benefits it brings. Is a Learning Management System really worth the resources? Or will a more manual approach suffice? What are the advantages of investing in an LMS, and which features should you look for? Are there different hosting and pricing plans you need to keep in mind? This article will address all these questions and give you the insider scoop on Learning Management Systems so that you can decide whether a new LMS is right for your online training program or not.
An LMS is a platform for digital learning. Its key features can be found in the abbreviation.
L — Learning. With an LMS, you can create a single source of e-courses and training materials. This will become a unique source of knowledge in your area, so that you can keep and increase the in-house expertise of your company.
M — Management. You can manage courses and learners, and even improve your own efficiency.
Unlike file sharing services, an LMS is not just a heap of files; on the contrary, it’s a well-organized system where you manage the training process. To start training, simply add employees and assign courses.
Have you recently hired some new employees? Send them invitations to the onboarding training course. Experiencing low sales? Ask your salespeople to practice with virtual clients.
Thanks to features like a calendar, you’ll be able to assign and manage not only online training, but also in-class sessions. In this way, an LMS can be a sort of a to-do app designed specially for eLearners.
S — System. Computer system, to be exact. An LMS automates the most boring and tedious work such as grading, processing statistics, and preparing reports. Plus, you can train your employees without leaving the office, managing all the processes right from your work computer.
In other words, an LMS is like your own online university. The system allows you to create and store eLearning courses, provides learners access to the content, and helps you evaluate the results.
Think of a learning management system as technology that can improve learning, make it faster, productive, cost-effective, and what is more important – trackable.
The most basic LMS contains a core functional platform that enables administrators to upload learning content, deliver lessons to students, serving notifications, and share data with authorized users.
An LMS most often operates inside of a web-browser, behind a secure sign-on process. This gives all students and instructors easy access to courses on-the-go, while administrators and leaders can monitor student progress and make improvements.
How much do they cost?
The cost of an LMS can be anywhere between free to several thousands of dollars. The Moodle LMS, for example, is free but requires the ability to configure it. The fact that it is also an open source program allows for easy upgrades and customization. There is still a cost factor to consider — that is the time it takes for a programmer to develop and configure it.
For those that do have a price, the cost can vary greatly depending upon the number of users. Most of these types of LMSs have the option to purchase the system as an Enterprise solution in which there are no recurring costs regardless of the number of users and data is stored on your own servers.