This allows instructors and tutors to design their own courses using web tools. They can embed content from the Internet or create their own from scratch. Indeed, a good LMS’s content creation feature should allow the user to create many types of interactive content.
Other systems need third-party course creation tools. A good LMS does not need such and these course-authoring tools should be inbuilt and cloud-based so that clients do not have to download additional programs on their computers.
You should also have a media library where you can store material such as employee handbooks, technical documentation and one-off videos. This content may not be needed for the lessons but you may still want learners to access it. Besides, you can opt to purchase a subscription for an integrated course content library that features loads of pre-built content.
An LMS should let you easily create and deliver courses to your learners. It should feature a drag and drop functionality to enable you to arrange content. To add, it should support multiple content formats including PDF, Word document, spreadsheets, video, audio, and live sessions.
Content management also entails learner assessment. Assignments and exams are the best way to achieve this. Also, learning paths let you combine courses to help learners individually track and achieve their goals.
Web accessibility means that all users can access and use a product with ease. Hence, an LMS should allow people with varying abilities and disabilities to learn without any challenges.
Accessibility is guided by the 1973 Rehabilitation Act which states that Federal agencies should make all electronic and information technology available to people with disabilities.
Your chosen LMS should be user-friendly to assist users with hearing, visual, cognitive and other motor impairments. It should also be designed to eliminate social, cultural, economic and other barriers that may hinder learning. Accessibility is not only an eLearning best practice, at times it is also required for compliance.
Your platform should allow you to assess learners and address any gaps. Hence, your LMS should come with eLearning assessment features. Most systems come with eLearning assessment tools that give reports and help in tracking learners’ progress.
E-Learning should allow learners to rate courses and leave comments. Additionally, lessons should be taken in the appropriate order by enabling lesson gating. With this feature, the learner can only access the next lesson by completing the prior required lessons.
Quizzes and assignments at every point of the journey are necessary. The learner should also have learning paths and checklists that include courses, activities, and assessments. Moreover, eLearning should include interactive video presentations.
Your chosen LMS should have a responsive design that allows everyone to benefit from your online course. For instance, mobile users should have the same experience as those using desktop computers. Mobile learning will help to reach even more learners and your chosen LMS should preferably come with an Android or iOS app. Also, your platform should be easy to navigate making it easy for users to access coursework.
Other features that give a user-centered experience include user groups for learners accessing the same courses, user permissions, user transcripts, user profile fields and single sign-on (SSO). With a single sign-on, your users just have to log-in to one system, say Google Suite, and then they will be securely signed-in into your LMS.
Learning in the traditional sense is ‘boring’ for most learners. Hence, it is important to incentivize the process. Gamification makes the experience a competitive one. It creates milestones, goals and achievements that motivate your learners.
Still, gamification may not make the subjects more interesting. However, it will enhance learner engagement, speed up learning, and improve compliance.
It is important to know how your training is performing. Reporting is a valuable feature that gives actionable data on users’ progress. These include exam results, survey responses, and training history.
Having such information helps to analyze data and identify trends in learning. In turn, you can highlight training gaps and improve future courses. Overall, reporting informs you how your training is impacting the learners.
Additionally, you will get valuable insights. For example, if you notice that learners are downloading a video lesson as opposed to accessing a PDF manual, it will be wise to create more video content and give learners what they naturally prefer.
Notifications are important since they keep the learner abreast with all the latest information. For instance, any new additions to their courses will be communicated to them via notifications. Also, new courses, important announcements, events, and other information – not necessarily related to learning – can be relayed via notifications.
Notifications can be in the form of email or auto notifications within the LMS platform.
A good LMS should emphasize collaboration and peer-to-peer sharing. Most platforms have social media tools where learners can share their experiences. Social learning also gives you the ability to track online discussions, create groups, and add other important elements such as a news feed onto your courses.
Customization and White-Labelling
Branding is key for any institution/organization. Indeed, your chosen LMS should reflect your brand and be recognized by your audiences. Therefore, your LMS should allow you to import your logo, images, and other elements unique to your business. Such a platform lets you ‘own’ the system.
White-labelling allows you to remove the vendor’s brand from the LMS. You can also customize the URL that came with the platform, and remove any links and references to the vendor. Such customization makes the learner identify the platform as designed and created by you.
Learners should have the capacity to attend lessons in a model similar to a physical classroom setup. Virtual classrooms help to achieve that. Video conferencing creates a virtual environment for learners who need a one-on-one classroom feel.
Forums, messaging boards, and comments can be used to address learner’s questions. However, virtual classrooms may help learners to ask difficult questions and get their answers instantaneously.
Hence, your LMS should be integrated with 3rd party virtual classroom tools such as Zoom, Big Blue Button, Webex and Join.me.
Learning is structured based on timelines. Your chosen LMS should allow you to create learning events, schedule virtual classrooms and webinars, and share your calendar with your learners. Besides, reminders are helpful in ensuring you don’t miss or skip any learning activity.
If you are thinking of making content for a wider audience, consider an LMS with e-commerce integration. You can make extra money by selling your courses on a subscription model. A learner will need to create an account on your platform and make a payment (one-time or recurring) to access your content.
Some great e-commerce features that your LMS should have include promo codes (in case you want to offer discounts), affiliate tracking to assign commissions to your affiliates, and credit card processing for all major credit cards and debit cards, and other payment gateways.
Your platform should come with easy-to-use administrative features. First, you should easily create and add unlimited admin roles. You should also be able to create sub-administrators who can only access the functions that you assign to them.
To add, a good LMS should come with a report builder and an analytics dashboard. You should also easily create transcripts and gradebooks that can be downloaded by your learners. Moreover, a team lead dashboard is a great tool to track supervisors’ progress.
SCORM AND xAPI Compliance
As discussed above, there are four main compliance standards. However, SCORM and xAPI are the most common. Indeed, having an LMS with either of these will help you to standardize content.
Importantly, you should easily and intuitively upload SCORM and xAPI course material in no time. Also, take note that your course-authoring tools should also be compatible with these standards to ensure readability of your files.
Training and Support
Your vendor should provide free training on how to use the LMS platform. This helps to get started as soon as possible and not waste time with trial and error. Besides, customer support is essential so that you can get professional troubleshooting and other personalized help.
Your LMS should integrate with other software that you are using such as your webinar tool, HR software and CRM system. Such integration automates most functions such as the creation of learner profiles, onboarding, and data synchronization.
API (Application Programming Interface) integration is a function that permits multiple applications and software to interact and share data. Having API integration with your LMS helps to push and pull data. Indeed, such automation helps with time-consuming administrative activities.