If you're part of a labor and development team, the term LMS, or online learning management system, gets thrown around a lot as a solution to your problems.
You may even wonder if you need one for your team and if there's really any advantage to using one.
We're here to help!
In this guide, we’ll discuss who needs online learning management systems, how they can benefit your organization, their advantages and disadvantages, and the best online LMS options for your business.
Who Needs an Online LMS System?
Learning management platforms are used globally, across different industries, and for a variety of different purposes. LMS online learning adoption has been on the rise for the past several years worldwide.
In fact, the global online learning management systems market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 24% year over year, making it an increasingly common part of learning and development teams' plans.
Generally, the following types of companies and organizations implement LMSs:
- Educational institutions: Schools use LMSs to manage coursework and assignments, run virtual classrooms or administer certification programs to students. This is true in the cases of both higher education institutions and K-12 institutions, too.
- Businesses: Companies often use an LMS to train their employees online and provide refresher courses and certifications that keep workers up-to-date on the latest industry trends.
- Government agencies: Governments have similar training needs as businesses but may also use an LMS to help with the accreditation process for civil servants.
- Nonprofits: NGOs often extend their educational goals by hosting online courses for volunteers or administrators who need additional training before participating in a project abroad or at home (such as helping with disaster relief).
Each type of organization can realize the unique benefits of online learning, depending on the needs and function of your business.
What is a Learning Management Platform Used For?
You could say what an LMS can do is in the eye of the beholder. Learning platforms and their associated tools can be used to train employees in various areas and for a variety of purposes.
This can be training on anything from learning new products and services to developing soft skills like communication.
Web-based learning management systems are platforms that allow you to create, manage, and deliver training to employees. eLearning systems can also be used to sell courses and educational material to a customer base or group of users, too.
eLearning systems allow you to:
- Provide employees with training on new products and services
- Quickly and efficiently onboard new hires
- Enhance soft skills such as communication and presentation
- Develop hard skills such as Excel and Salesforce
- Develop a culture of learning and growth in your organization
When used in corporate settings, online LMS systems can accomplish the goal of creating a culture of learning. In order to promote a culture of learning, a workplace environment must closely align business and learning strategies, organizational values that emphasize learning's importance, and an atmosphere in which learning becomes ingrained in regular practice.
By building a culture of learning, you join the ranks of high-performance organizations. In fact, leading companies happen to be five times more likely than lower performers to have extensive learning cultures. This is just a hint at the advantages of having LMS online learning for your organization, which we'll get into next.
Advantages of a Learning Management System Online
Online learning has become a prevalent method for workplace training. Though they were originally designed for educational institutions to deliver eLearning courses over the Internet, online learning management systems have since been adopted and adapted by companies and organizations worldwide, who use them to implement online learning programs to train employees, customers, and partners.
And it hasn’t become that popular without reason.
There are many advantages of online learning for employee training and development, including
- Track employee training easily
- Reduced costs
- Flexibility and convenience for learners
- More effective learning style
- Simply regular feedback
Let’s get into each of the above to see just how advantageous it is to incorporate a web-based learning management system for your employees.
Advantage #1: Track Training Easily
Giving your employees training is one thing, but have you considered the importance of measuring the effectiveness of that training?
To ensure your training is working, and working effectively, you need ways to benchmark your employees and evaluate their progress along the way. That way you can identify areas in which your employees can improve and are doing well in, and even gaps in their training that need to be addressed.
Learning management platforms allow you to track:
- Completion and progress data
- Scores and grades
By keeping tabs on these data points in a convenient dashboard or report format, you can make sure you are utilizing the information you have in the palm of your hands to create transformative changes in your organization.
Advantage #2: Cost Savings
Another key advantage of online learning management systems we can all appreciate – is the cost savings it provides.
There are three primary costs associated with in-person training:
- Physical spaces (for meeting and accommodation)
One of the largest costs of any training plan is individual time spent in training. You need training facilitators, speakers, and the labor to create the materials needed. With online training, you can reduce the amount of time it takes to create material and deliver it. Additionally, there is no office or location downtime and no travel or accommodation costs.
This obviously is better for the bottom line as costs are greatly reduced. To put it in numbers, businesses can see more than 70% cost savings from using a learning management platform over traditional, in-person learning opportunities. And while there is some cost to using an LMS, it will likely still leave you ahead of those using the old school training model.
Advantage #3: Flexibility and Convenience
For employees who work in shifts or on the road, it can be challenging to find the time to get the training done. Even for 9 to 5 office workers, a schedule disruption can be nothing short of challenging. Instead, they need training that can be done anywhere, anytime.
Online learning management systems allow you to offer two things to your employees:
- The ability to learn on devices that suit their needs (mobile or desktop)
- The ability to learn at times that suit the learners’ schedules
With that, you gain the ability to keep schedules on track and still get quality training for each of your employees to do consistently. One format that works great for these busy workers is microlearning.
This method has been touted for not only its time-saving and convenience factors but for its increased effectiveness. In fact, microlearning is actually proven to improve focus and support long-term retention by up to 80%.
Microlearning consists of delivering course material in small pieces that can be administered and covered in short periods of time. Common microlearning activities include short lessons, quick knowledge checks, and Netflix-style video content that is created to provide the learner with bite-sized information. For instance, you could break down health and safety training into weekly 15-minute videos and short quizzes that tackled one narrow, small subject at a time rather than a two-day-long course.
Advantage #4: More Effective Learning
Ensuring your employees retain and utilize the information gained through training in a positive way is likely your biggest goal when it comes to learning and development in the workplace.
Using eLearning systems creates more effective learning for your team. As technology has advanced, the effectiveness of online training has, too. We now can see the measurable difference between traditional and online training – eLearning increases retention rates from 25% to 60%! When you compare the retention rates of in-person learning, they are much lower, at 8% to 10%.
Additionally, it allows all users to access content in ways that meet their accessibility needs. For instance, screen readers and speech-to-text devices help many people get their work done, and can be easily implemented in online training courses.
Features like gamification also improve engagement for eLearners. Gamification is the application of game elements in a non-game context such as the workplace. In the workplace, it can be used as an engagement tool and as a way of improving the quality of training. Employees who use gamification at work feel more productive (89% of them) and happier (88% of them).
Course learning management systems like Tovuti have the ability to incorporate the elements of gamification built-in, including
These features offer support to an already effective, engaging, and accessible format of employee learning.
Advantage #5: Regular Feedback
We all appreciate getting good feedback. Whether from customers, bosses, or employees, it can help us do our jobs and run our businesses better. When it's not good, though – it's frustrating! Whether it's sporadic, inconsistent, or not constructive, feedback done wrong is not conducive to a positive and efficient work environment. And considering 32% of employees say they have to wait more than three months to receive feedback from their managers, it's certainly a common problem.
Learning management system online training gives you the ability to deliver frequent, consistent feedback. Using a multifaceted LMS like Tovuti allows you to provide not only a one-way channel for feedback but also a line back to you from your learners directly.
An online LMS system like Tovuti can give you great feedback in multiple ways:
- Ratings and comments on lessons and courses
- Reports (scores, log-ins, activity)
- Course tracking and progress monitoring
- Assessments and quizzes
Disadvantages of Online Learning Management Systems
There are two sides to every coin, so it wouldn’t be fair if we didn’t discuss the advantages of online learning management systems without mentioning the disadvantages, too.
The thing is (as we’ll discuss), the disadvantages with eLearning systems are primarily due to a mismatch between user needs and online learning management platforms. Finding the best online LMS system for your needs is the most important thing you can do to get eLearning off to a great start. Choosing a reliable, modern, and user-friendly tool like Tovuti can make most of the disadvantages on this list disappear faster than you can say, “web-based learning management system”!
Disadvantage #1: Setup Time
Setting up a new software will always take time and resources. However, how much time depends on what software you’re setting up. Not to mention, it can be confusing if you’ve never used online LMS systems before.
It will take you some time to learn how to implement an LMS system, and depending on your needs, you may need to convey information to managers or supervisors of various departments. Depending on how many of your trainers or providers prefer traditional learning, the conversion process can be lengthy. Although learning and development teams and IT teams are responsible for setting up the interface for the organization, users may run into hiccups along the way and require training on the system. Consider that when choosing your LMS and planning for LMS course development.
If you choose an LMS like Tovuti, you get an implementation timeline and an onboarding coach to get you started. With our accelerated four-week onboarding program, you and your team can get set up for success. Despite its speed, this is not a crash course, and Tovuti's implementation specialists will help you plan your set-up for a smooth launch. This way, you'll have a guide to setting up your online course management system.
Disadvantage #2: Lacks Right Features
If you’re reading this post, you may have already tried an LMS in the past, or perhaps you have heard of “freemium” eLearning systems but are not sure if they have what you need. Or (maybe the worst of all) you have experienced paying for too many features you don’t need.
It can feel frustrating not to have your needs met and end up back at square one, something that can happen when choosing an LMS online learning provider – if you don’t assess your needs correctly, that is.
When choosing learning management platforms, keep the factors in mind that are outlined in the table below.
Once you consider these LMS learning solutions questions, you can choose an LMS that meets your needs and avoids problems in the first place.
Disadvantage #3: Technology Concerns
From internet connection issues to compatibility problems to low-tech awareness from certain employees – LMSs can come with technology issues.
Depending on your business setup, you may have to deal with employees’ home internet signals and working set-ups. This can be a hard challenge to overcome, but solutions such as technology stipends and company-provided materials can help reduce tech hurdles. This is the physical disadvantage of web-based learning management systems, whereas the learning curve for technology can be a less tangible one. It does take IT support and time, and if the LMS doesn't provide that themselves, it can fall back into your lap. For time-strapped departments, this can be seen as impossible.
That’s why it’s important to have eLearning systems like Tovuti that offer support services to you in different ways, so no matter what team you have on your side, you can count on us to be there to help!
Tovuti offers several help desk solutions for learning management system online courses:
- Knowledge base
- Email help
- Support ticket system
- Toll-free phone support
- Video demonstrations
That way, you won’t get tied up with employee technical support and can get back to doing what you do best.
5 Best Online Learning Management Systems
With what we know about LMS online learning systems in our back pockets, it’s time to compare the best options on the market. We gathered up the data on the best learning management system websites so you can skip the hours of research (and the headaches), choose a highly-rated option, and get started.
So without further ado, let’s get into it.
If you ask us, Tovuti is one of the best web-based learning management systems available. With Tovuti's all-in-one cloud-based learning management platform, you can create, deliver and track eLearning programs with ease.
Tovuti features an intuitive interface, cost-effective implementation, dozens of third-party integrations, and a variety of features, including
- Easy-to-use, comprehensive course creation and management
- Data analytics, and detailed information
- Communities, forums, and virtual classrooms
- Gamification features
With Tovuti, you can transform your current learning program and bring it up to speed with the demands of today’s workers and learners, thanks to the robust capabilities this online learning management system offers your organization.
Canvas LMS is an open, intuitive, and cloud-based learning management system widely used in colleges, universities, and businesses alike. In addition to delivering dynamic, engaging learning experiences, Canvas is visually appealing and easy to use.
According to the reviewers, it has several options for integrating with external applications and innovative quizzing methods and delivering assignments. A drawback we noticed in reviews was some technical difficulties with specific browsers and mobile use, which is something to consider, especially if your primary user base is mobile.
Create highly personalized learning experiences that unlock learner potential with D2L Brightspace, a platform that helps you break free from the limits of a traditional LMS. You get a flexible and powerful learning innovation platform built for a variety of end-uses, from the earliest days of school to higher education and beyond to the corporate world.
It is easy to deliver engaging training to employees, customers, or partners with Brightspace, and it seems to be a popular choice among training professionals. One drawback? Brightspace does not allow you to schedule when a resource (such as a slide deck or test) can be available for students. If you like scheduling ahead, that could be a problem.
With Cornerstone LMS software, organizations can deliver, manage, and track global training at scale to employees, partners, and customers. Using it, you can target the right training to the right learners, and get thorough reporting throughout the organization. This is a holistic learning management solution that combines compliance, digital training, and skills-driven artificial intelligence with content subscriptions.
According to users, it's an overall good LMS that can integrate with other programs, but the implementation process can be complex. It might be beneficial to create a role dedicated to this system in small companies. There will likely need to be someone on your team who can learn and become familiar with the system.
Over 70,000 teams worldwide benefit from engaging training through TalentLMS and easy-to-use interfaces thanks to an experience that's fully customizable, manageable, and a breeze to use. TalentLMS enables you to seamlessly train any team for any purpose while receiving expert guidance and support along the way.
Reports are a bit confusing for users, and that has proved to be a drawback for some. Furthermore, TalentLMS iOS has limited features and does not offer all the web application functionality. These are just a few things to consider if your needs dictate stable mobile use and robust, frequent reporting.
Online learning management systems are solutions for organizations looking to take training to the next level. Online learning management systems give you the advantage of flexibility, more effective learning, and even save you money. And while there are disadvantages to online course management systems, most can be boiled down to a mismatch between needs and what the LMS is offering.
Don’t spend any more time being frustrated with learning management platform selection. Choose Tovuti as your organization’s web-based learning management system for a stress-free, comprehensive, and engaging learning experience for your employees.
Watch a demo from Tovuti to see how our #1 ranked LMS can revolutionize your learning management system online courses.