In this article, we’ll provide you with a clear breakdown of LMSs and what you should consider when choosing an LMS which will serve your company’s needs best. It’s not a decision to be made lightly because your entire eLearning ecosystem is built on it.
What is an LMS?
Are you new to e-learning and the term learning management system (LMS)? No problem. Your lesson begins now. In a nutshell, an LMS is an online training platform equipped with a diverse range of features to help build courses that promote engagement through incorporating interactive, fun elements such as
- ‘How to Tutorials
- Simulations (system processes and procedures)
- Videos and audio
- Quizzes and assignments (Assessments)
The LMS should be suitable for companies within all industry sectors. It needs to be a versatile solution that covers employee and extended enterprise training needs.
Define the learning requirements
The main question you need to ask yourself is, what do I want the users to achieve by participating in this course? The learning requirements will dictate the core functionality and types of applications used to achieve the overarching goal.
For example, an English language training course aimed at trainees worldwide and an advanced fashion designing course for professionals working in the industry will require different apps for the course to be taught effectively. Key factors to also take into consideration including but not limited to
- Mobile accessibility
Perhaps you’re teaching a course to employees who live an on-the-go lifestyle; they may not always have their laptops with them or be in an area with WiFi. In this case, it’s vital that the LMS can be downloaded to the mobile device and give the user the flexibility to learn at their own pace no matter where they are in the world.
- Content compatibility
Content forms the bedrock of your chosen LMS. You need to consider the formatting options the LMS provides, e.g. can course information be delivered in Word documents, PDFs, Excel spreadsheets and PowerPoint presentations? Does the LMS facilitate video and audio streaming and provide users with a transcript?
- Reporting and analysis
Progress and overall performance need to be monitored, interpreted, analysed and reported. You must be sure that the correct data is gathered to provide objective results. Reports should be fully customisable to suit the course performance measurement requirements.
Quantitative data also provides you with a benchmark from which you can gauge whether the course is successful or has specific weaknesses that can be resolved by tweaking the delivery mechanisms.
- Security and reliability
It would be best if you were sure that the LMS you choose has state of the art security features to protect all sensitive information and content confidentiality. According to the eLearning Industry, “Reliability of the LMS can be judged by understanding its downtime, disaster management, and contingency plans. Your LMS should not ditch your users in the middle of a crucial learning point.” Reliability is vital to keep the trainees’ attention; frequent downtime will cause irritation as well as loss of concentration and interest.
- Regular updating
E-learning is a dynamic industry, and the LMS software should regularly update to keep pace with technological advancements.
Example of a widely used LMS: Moodle
Moodle is the largest and most used open-source LMS in the world. According to the official Moodle website, “Moodle is a learning platform designed to provide educators, administrators and learners with a single robust, secure and integrated system to create personalised learning environments.” The LMS offers the following features
- Designed to support both teaching and learning
- Easy to use
- Free with no licensing fees
- Always up to date
- Moodle in your language
- All-in-one learning platform
- Highly flexible and fully customisable
- Scalable to any size
- Robust, secure and private
- Use anytime, anywhere, on any device
You may be asking what does open-source mean? Simply put, it refers to freely available software, can be modified and redistributed. Moodle ticks all the boxes!
Case Study: The Fio Academy of Skills Development (FASD)
According to Fio’s official website, “The Fio Academy of Skills Development (FASD) team focuses on career building and job creation.
Our vision is based on the strength that can be achieved when cultures and shared skills work together. We provide blended courses to the communities of Alexandra and Soweto. Our outstanding group of driven, caring individuals work hard to provide unique training opportunities to change peoples’ lives in the short term, instil a sense of pride and eventually provide a change in lifestyle/quality of life.
We teach courses such as “Introduction to Learning Design” and “Coordinate Learning Events” to provide skills to apply for starting careers. We deliberately avoid a classroom-only approach since we believe that digital skills should be honed. This is our small contribution to ‘bridge the digital divide’.”
The correct LMS should be a central educational ecosystem that allows teachers to develop courses incorporating multimedia elements that work together to actively engage trainees, making them want to learn and benefit from upskilling. It should also include functionality that allows educators to measure progress and overall performance.
As can be seen from the case study mentioned above, e-learning has the potential to bridge the digital divide in South Africa and throughout the world. Welcome to the new norm of learning.
Ready to get started? Speak to a business consultancy that has an e-learning division that specialises in using the Moodle LMS.