It’s no secret that the way we live and work continues to evolve as time goes on. It’s not uncommon to see a company spanning nationally or even internationally, with workers communicating and sharing work through fully distributed systems like Google Docs, Slack, Zoom, and more.
With increasingly distributed workforces, businesses and organizations around the world have long embraced a new way of teaching and supporting learners: LMS Learning Management Systems.
While the LMS industry isn’t new, the COVID-19 pandemic was the catalyst to push more and more companies into embracing online learning management systems. The LMS industry is projected to grow to a whopping 45 Billion by 2028!
Put that information on a graph and look at it.
As the world continues to move towards interconnected global societies, it’s no wonder that the LMS learning management system industry is taking the helm to guide everyone toward connectivity.
From small businesses to large corporations, all types of businesses and organizations can benefit from using a learning management system.
With that in mind, let’s explore learning management systems from the ground up. Let’s look at the solutions they provide for different types of businesses, what you should consider when choosing one, and a comparison of the top LMS learning management system offerings out there.
What is an LMS Platform?
Regardless of the type of business you run, inadequately trained staff hurts every aspect of your business. You can have a fully-connected office with the latest and greatest software to keep your staff in touch, but differing time zones and varying work hours can cause huge impacts on training progress and quality. Nobody is going to teach their best or learn their best at 3 am.
Enter LMS learning management systems. LMS is more than just a platform to store powerpoints and facilitate online testing; a good LMS training system allows you to set learning goals and milestones, create learning paths, use interactive content, track outcomes, and much more to create fun and productive learning experiences.
If you need a powerful collaboration tool where new and existing employees, regardless of location, can be trained and supported in ongoing learning, then you need a learning management system.
Here’s some fun LMS learning management system history: the first online LMS was developed in the 1990s under the name FirstClass, which was made by a company called Soft Arc at the time (the LMS today is now owned by OpenText). While the functionality of the LMS back then would be considered basic by today’s standards, it paved the way for modern LMS systems as we know them today.
LMS Learning management systems evolved to provide structured, trackable, and standardized training through an online environment, allowing employees to learn on their own time and using a computer or mobile device.
Learning management systems also support assessment creation to test learners’ knowledge, and often allow you to incorporate various media (like videos, powerpoints, PDFs, and more) to support learning.
Most LMS solutions worth their salt provide a wide variety of features that facilitate collaboration and learning. Gamification is one of these LMS features (and one that Tovuti provides) that makes learning fun and challenging, which is way more engaging than reading a boring PowerPoint any day of the week!
LMS Solutions for Different Businesses and Organizations
Different businesses and organizations will have different needs when it comes to training. Thankfully, learning management systems like Tovuti are flexible enough to support essentially any kind of business or department within your company.
Let’s start by taking a look at how implementing an LMS supports training and development, then we’ll go into the specifics with how it supports various business focuses.
Training and Development
There are a lot of costs and other factors associated with training that can impact a business's bottom line more than anticipated.
Think about it: if you have a dispersed workforce, the costs associated with bringing everyone together for training can be huge. In addition, you’re also up against dedicating time for training (which takes away time from regular work) and having employees become disengaged, especially with repeated training (it can be a slog to get through days and days of continuous learning). The bottom line is that it’s always cheaper to train and retain current employees than hiring and training new employees from the ground up.
Learning management systems, when compared to traditional training methods (like in-person training) can solve most of the common challenges with training a dispersed workforce, as explained in the following table.
Comparison between LMS and In-Person Training
Hybrid or Blended Learning Models
As much as most LMS solutions support remote learning, it isn’t always possible to train 100% remotely. Some certifications like First Aid/CPR/AED require individuals to demonstrate their skills during an in-person class. However, many course providers have moved to a blended learning model where the theory portion of the course is done online, and the practical part of the course is done in person.
Even when an in-person component is required in a course, it can still be supported and tracked by an LMS. In-person contact is still reduced, so even if a company needs to rent out a space or prioritize time for training, the overall time needed is reduced which translates to fewer expenses. The other benefits listed in the table above largely remain the same.
Human Resources (HR)
HR is a complex area of business that needs to consider a holistic view of the people, processes, and systems in a company, and how all of that fits into keeping new and existing employees and management happy while recruiting new talent as needed. HR professionals are also often tasked with tracking compliance requirements for new employees (depending on the industry) and facilitating training for them if required.
Often, learning management systems will be integrated with a Human Capital Management system (HCM) or Human Resources Information System (HRIS) to give HR professionals the bird’s eye view of the relationship between training and performance they need, including the ability to track compliance training for new employees. HRIS is definitely a much more friendly name!
Think of it this way: when a new employee is hired, you’ll want them to not only plan to stay but also be supported with efficient learning processes as well as measurable outcomes. The combination of an HR management system and an LMS system gives department managers and HR professionals the data they need to see what’s working and what isn’t, and make changes as needed. It also allows HR professionals to ensure that employees stay compliant with their training, following applicable state and federal regulations.
For instance, changing up the learning environment to support different demographics, like if staff tends to be younger than they would likely appreciate microlearning opportunities and the ability to complete training using a mobile device.
In 2021, Tovuti was included in G2’s “Best Products for HR” list, which ranks software companies based on authentic user reviews, often numbering in the hundreds or thousands. In other words, companies only make the list based on the user endorsement. So you know that you’ll be getting a good software match for your HRIS by going with us.
A good salesperson knows their product inside and out. Throwing a new salesperson out into the field unsupported and expecting them to fumble their way through their first sale is never a great strategy. And, as most salespeople can confirm, being unprepared in front of a customer sucks.
When your sales training is supported by an LMS learning management system, you get a great benefit: consistency. This means that every salesperson you employ, regardless of where they are, can receive the same training, strongly aiding a consistent customer experience every time.
In short, consistent sales behaviors lead to a consistent customer experience, which leads to predictable sales success — everything you’d want for your sales team.
Similar to sales, LMS-supported customer service training provides customer service teams with consistent training. Have you ever called a support line and gotten a different answer from different team members? It can be frustrating for both the customer and the support reps, as it gives the customer the impression that the support reps don’t know what they are doing, and can fuel animosity between the support reps if each one believes they are right.
According to Microsoft’s latest Global State of Customer Service report, which provides an overview of customer service statistics since 2015, 55% of customers expect better customer service year over year, and a whopping 90% of customers believe that the customer service a brand provides is somewhat to very important in choosing a brand.
When we consider consistency and how it plays such a huge role in improving customer experience, it’s a no-brainer that using all available tools, including LMS, should be a top priority for all companies.
Top 10 Things to Consider When Choosing an LMS
Not all learning management systems are built the same. As you’ve likely noticed if you’ve been doing research on your next LMS, there are a ton of different products out there that all promise the same things. This can make it difficult to choose an LMS that works for your business, as it can seem like they all will work just fine.
It’s like being presented with 30 different hot dogs. Each one will likely have the basic components of a hot dog (weiner and a perfectly-shaped bun to fit it, if you didn’t know) but it’s the condiments and the quality of the meat and bread that will really set each hot dog apart (oh great, now we’re hungry).
The below considerations don’t apply to hot dogs but feel free to apply them when you’re choosing an LMS:
1. User experience
Adding a new piece of software to a tech stack can be a difficult sell, especially if employees are already soured by previous bad software experiences. Nobody is going to want to sign on to an LMS that’s not easy to use, doesn’t have an intuitive interface, or makes for a bad experience through software freezing and other issues. Reading up testimonials and identifying white labels are important steps to make sure your LMS feels on-brand with the rest of your organization.
2. Content creation
Most LMS systems support standard elearning module formats, like SCORM, it’s a good idea to verify that the files you have will work with the system. Some LMS also have their own built in content creation suites (like Tovuti) and allow you to create courses and lessons inside the LMS without needing third party software.
3. eLearning features
There are two different ways to approach elearning features. The first is from a more administrative side, ensuring that the LMS training system you chose allows you to not only track learners and gives you the tools you need to keep them on a set learning path, but allows you to receive feedback from your learners (through comments and message boards) and set specific milestones or goals that need to be met before moving on to the next lesson.
The second consideration is whether the LMS includes modern engagement tools. Learner engagement is essential to learner success, so it’s important that your LMS includes the tools needed to create engaging course content like gamification and interactive videos and presentations.
4. Admin capabilities
Managing your LMS training system should be straightforward and easy. Features such as Single Sign-On (SSO), the ability to add and remove users, set user permissions, view performance analytics, and create reports are just a few examples of administration features that you should be looking at in your next LMS.
5. Integration with existing software
Did you know that an LMS can integrate with software to enhance the experience and effectiveness of the system? For instance, you might want to integrate your LMS with messaging software like Slack to make communication between learners and managers easier.
If you’re creating elearning courses for your company through an LMS, you’ll likely want your company’s branding to be front and center. Not only does branding your LMS courses give a more professional look, but it also truly allows you to make the learning material your own.
7. eCommerce capabilities
A lot of companies provide courses that can be sold to others. Certification courses are a big one, like first aid, trades, WHMIS, and more. If your plan is to monetize your course material, an LMS with built-in eCommerce functionality is a no-brainer.
8. Ease of switching from another LMS
Sometimes you’ll want to switch from the LMS you’re currently using to a new one. Whether you’re exploring different options and taking advantage of free trials or planning on making a permanent switch to a new LMS provider, it’s important that the LMS you’re switching to has a clear and productive process for making the switch, with as little downtime as possible.
It might seem like a small thing, but consider if suddenly you weren’t able to receive notifications on your computer or phone — how many emails, texts, and other communications would you miss? Notifications for learners and managers alike help keep everyone on track, so it’s actually an essential feature for your next LMS.
10. Customer support
We can’t do it all on our own, so having good customer support from your LMS provider is essential. Look for LMS providers that discuss their customer support front and center, and give you tons of options for finding answers — like resource pages, blogs, etc.
Top 5 LMS Learning Management Systems for Businesses
With so many LMS learning management systems on the market, it can be difficult to choose one that will work perfectly for your business. We’ve taken the top review sites, including Capterra, G2, and others, and compiled a list of the top LMS learning management systems for businesses.
It’s important to keep in mind that for this list, we took a general look at how each piece of software performs when looking at each of our ten considerations for choosing an LMS (in the previous section). Since we’re looking at each LMS in general, aka not focusing on a specific industry, you’ll still need to consider whether a similar LMS with specific features tailored to your industry or business needs will work better, even if it has a lower rating.
Now that all that disclaimer stuff is out of the way, let’s get into our list!
- SAP Litmos
Of course, we’re at the top of the list, but it’s for good reason — Tovuti really is the easiest, fastest, and most effective way to get elearning content to your team. Instead of taking months or even years to get your elearning content off the ground and into learners’ minds, it takes days.
And the most sought-after LMS features? They exist with Tovuti. Easily track learner progress. Use gamification to increase learner engagement. Set automatic notifications. Sell your courses online. Create events, like webinars. We could go on, but we’d be here forever. Instead, schedule a call with Tovuti and learn more about what the software can do for you.
Referring to themselves as a “learning suite” rather than a straight-up LMS, Docebo simplifies the often overwhelming introduction into the elearning world by positioning its products as separate components of a learning hub.
Key features of Docebo’s LMS business model include drag and drop functionality, eCommerce, gamification, notifications, and over 400 possible software integrations. Their customers include giant corporations like Netflix and Samsung, so the LMS system might be too much for a small or medium-sized company.
As an LMS business model that caters to specific industries, like the public sector, healthcare, manufacturing, and financial services to name a few, Cornerstone offers the main features you’d expect from a comprehensive LMS but has a few key features that they highlight. These features include scalable learning to cater to larger companies and organizations, AI-recommended content to expand learner horizons, learner insights (reporting), and personalization.
Their customers span from large enterprise organizations to small and medium businesses, so it looks like they have a little something for everyone in their LMS.
Moodle is actually pretty well-known in the elearning space as one of the most flexible LMS systems. It’s open-source, which is why it’s so customizable — if you know how to code or are willing to hire someone to do it for you. As you’ve probably guessed, there are pros and cons to this level of customizability. Namely, you can do whatever you want with Moodle, but it’s also not as feature-rich or user-friendly right out of the box as some other LMS.
With a self-declaration of being the world’s most easy-to-use LMS, SAP Litmos is primarily focused on providing an LMS system that enterprise-level companies can use to deliver training. The main features of this LMS are security, ease of integration with existing systems, and scalability. You can also find more corporate-friendly features here like instructor-led training (ILT) and video assessments, where users can upload videos of themselves delivering information like reports, elevator pitches, and more.
LMS learning management systems are robust pieces of software that deliver training experiences in ways that not only mimic the engagement of in-person learning but also provide all the benefits of online learning including cost savings and more.
As LMS systems continue to evolve to meet our ever-increasing online learning needs, it’s clear that the clock is ticking for companies to hop on board to the LMS train — because if they don’t, they’ll fall behind really quickly.
If you’re looking for more information about learning management systems and want to explore some more, take a look at our resource on learning management system examples.
If you haven’t taken the LMS plunge yet, this is your sign to do it now. Watch the Tovuti demo today and we’ll walk you through how our software can benefit your business.