What Is a Learning Management System?

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated March 29, 2021

Published February 4, 2020

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

A learning management system can help a company develop a uniform training and onboarding system for all of its employees. First created for educational institutions, learning management systems are becoming increasingly common in corporate settings. Learning management systems offer many different functions, and there are different types available depending on the company's needs. In this article, we'll explain what a learning management system is, who uses them, the tools they offer and some of the main benefits.

What is a learning management system?

A learning management system (LMS) is a software- or web-based application used to manage, deliver and measure an organization's online learning programs. The role of the LMS varies depending on the organization's objectives and online training strategy. However, its main purpose usually is to host and track online learning.

Providing an online platform where learners can access training resources, an LMS helps to make training accessible for distance learners and provides a central location for training across an organization or institution.

Related: SMART Goals: Definition and Examples

Who can use learning management systems?

Learning management systems have been used for many years by educational institutions to create and deliver coursework. However, more and more organizations or companies are leveraging LMS programs to deliver training to their employees and customers.

Any of the following could use an LMS:

  • Companies of all sizes, from start-ups, family-owned businesses to large, multinational corporations

  • Local or international organizations

  • Nonprofits

  • Conventional learning institutions such as academies, schools and seminaries

  • Virtual learning associations

LMS users can be categorized into learners and administrations. Learners are the end-users as they are the recipients of the training, learning material, coursework and assessment that come with the LMS. Administrators are responsible for the management of the LMS, which includes multiple tasks such as course development, learner assignment and tracking learners' progress.

Related: Learning Styles for Career Development

What tools do learning management systems offer?

The tools that a learning management system offers vary depending on its intended usage. However, the most common tools you can find in most quality LMS programs include the following:

  • Gamification tools: These tools help motivate and inspire learners by allowing them to earn points, awards or badges on all learning activities.

  • Reporting and analytics tools: These tools allow employers to track and measure the impact that learning programs are having on the team or organization. They also allow employers to derive learning insights using customizable reports and control panels that provide metrics on learner activity.

  • Testing and assessment tools: These tools are vital for learning and development teams. They help trainers determine how the learners have performed. They also help trainers determine if the learners managed to retain information after the training. These tools help evaluate the effectiveness of a training program.

  • Social learning tools: These tools allow learners to interact with their peers directly. Learners can ask and answer questions in a forum setting. Social learning tools streamline the learning process and reduce strain on trainers.

  • Authoring tool: This tool can create lessons. It allows an employer or training manager to create and organize content into a standardized course structure that they can export in many different multimedia formats.

What are the key benefits of learning management systems?

LMS programs have a lot of benefits to both organizations and their learners. These include the following:

Streamlines the training process

LMS programs make the training process easier, as it helps plan the training activities calendar, which training managers can share with trainers, learners and co-administrators. It also helps in retrieving trainer reports, which can be a laborious process when done manually.

Organizes and safely stores big data

An LMS can store all big data in one location, making it easier to maintain and update learning materials. Also, most LMS programs come with advanced encryption to prevent a data breach.

Tracks learner's performance and progress

Almost all LMS platforms have built-in analytics and reporting, which allow training managers to track or monitor various aspects of an online training program. With the LMS's reporting and analytics features, a training manager can automatically track everything from learner's performance to e-learning assessment results. This helps them determine patterns and trends, especially since many learning management systems provide data visualizations, such as charts and graphs.

Related: Analytical Skills: Definitions and Examples

Provides unlimited access to learning materials

Once a manager uploads learning course materials into the LMS and publishes them, trainees or users have unlimited access to the information they need. Users can also typically access the materials using their smartphones or tablets. This means they don't have to wait until their next online training session to learn skills and perfect work-related tasks.

Personalizes the training experience

An LMS also allows managers to assign different learning paths or training resources for individual learners. Thus, all learners get individualized training they need based on their job duties, learning goals and other various criteria. There's even an option to unlock the navigation so that learners can choose their own online coursework and training activities. All this makes online training experience more effective and increases learner satisfaction.

Reduces learning and development costs

Because an LMS is an online platform, employers don't have to pay for instructor travel costs, printed learning materials and online training site rentals. Learners can complete the training online, which means that companies can save a significant amount on their learning and development budget.

Quickly and conveniently expands learning courses

If a training manager wants to add more modules to their online learning course to update information, they can simply access the LMS and make the necessary adjustments without redoing the entire online learning course. Because all of the content is stored in a central location, they can easily modify the master learning course then deploy it to all of the learners.

Delivers content in multiple formats

An LMS provides a viable online platform to consolidate training requirements. Using LMS, a manager can integrate and deliver content in various formats. Depending on the needs of learners, course materials can be designed to include animation, graphics, podcasts, videos or presentations.

Explore more articles