Best Learning Management System (LMS) Software
Want to grow your education LMS platform with engaging features? Many of the learning management system (LMS) software will agree with you, to provide excellent study experience to your students. While finding the best LMS software in the market is a daunting task, GoodFirms understand your dilemma. Thus we curate a list of best learning management systems for school which can be employed by clients to enhance their LMS system. Service-seekers can check these learning management software profiles to go through the vendor details, package-pricing options, and verified client reviews to aid their search efforts.
- Buyer’s Guide for Learning Management System (LMS) Software
- What is a Learning Management System?
- How does an LMS work?
- What is the Learning Management System (LMS) Software?
- What are the reasons you need an LMS software?
- What are the different types of LMS Software?
- What is the right time to invest in LMS software?
- What is the Industry-wise requirements of LMS Software?
- What are the Current Trends in Learning Management and the role of LMS software in it?
- What are the Functions and Features to look before buying an LMS software?
- What are the advantages of using Learning management software?
- How to evaluate and select the right LMS software for you?
- What are the Essential Things to keep in mind (Checklist) before buying LMS software?
- What are the Average Costs for buying LMS software?
- What is the Future of companies opting for LMS software?
- Why to refer to GoodFirms' list of top LMS software?
Learning management systems (LMS) are the outcome of the paradigm shift from the closed model and instructor centric learning sessions to an open, interactive, and learner-centric approach. The learning management systems pioneered the transition from the institutional to individual-centric learning instructions. The functionalities of the learning management system to deliver learning content rapidly with centralized administration, self-service options for learners, and the scalable online platform have made it a preferred alternative for the traditional classroom learning. Learning management system software, popularly known as the LMS software, is sought after application suites by the corporate and education sector for skill-development, training, content, and course delivery to employees, students, workers, and clients.
According to a research conducted by a leading learning management software vendor, around 77% of U.S corporations use a learning management system for training employees.
With a plethora of LMS software available in the software market, it can be confusing to choose and deploy the best suitable LMS software for your training and development purposes. This buyer's guide for Learning Management System (LMS) software intends to be a helpful resource and guidance tool for those seeking to buy and implement an LMS software for their organization. This guide will assist you in selecting the best available LMS software option for your learning needs. But before we go there, let us understand what learning management systems means and how does it work?
A learning management system is a program designed to create, track, and manage training modules, teaching resources, online learning content, assessment modules, and many more. It is used by organizations, subject matter experts, professionals, academicians, and trainers to deliver training or learning content to their target audience (learner). The target audience is often referred to as 'learners.' Usually, these learners are employees, students, workers, clients, external resource persons, channel partners, officials, etc.
An LMS provides training content online and regulates the learning activity. Extension of horizons in the online training and e-learning modules led to the development of learning management systems with an engaging interface and standardized formats.
Learning management systems are popular due to their unprecedented reach and flexibility. A learning management system is an all-rounder concept that works by taking care of the administration, reporting, documentation, e-learning, training, evaluation, and analysis of the learning process or training activity.
A learning management system software is a set of tools, applications, and suites designed to create learning modules, automate the learning processes, assist trainers in course management and administration, and provide a collaborative workspace for data-driven learning. It comes with features such as course building, web-conferencing, assessment tools, gamification, social media integration, and many more to help the companies, instructors, and trainers to instruct and train their learners effectively and in an engaging way.
The major reasons why you will need a learning management system software for your company are rooted in the fact that current market dynamics are changing rapidly. In present times business and academic environments around the world have seen an increased adoption of digital learning, e-learning in the corporates and academics, inclination towards (BYOD) Bring Your Own Device policy, initiatives towards training and development, Artificial Intelligence (AI) powered personalized learning, enterprise mobility, and Machine Learning (ML). Companies know that trained employees can bring a greater return on investment and can increase your business's productivity significantly. Professionals can improve their qualifications and skills by enrolling in new courses and add more value to their existing profession.
Companies need LMS software to create a content database in one place, which can be accessible by all employees with a simple login. Your company needs an LMS software to track the learning progress of employees and timely completion, of course. With the LMS software, companies can reduce the costs of training and development and also ensure that all employees are getting uniform content irrespective of their location. With LMS software in hand, it is easy for businesses to handle the documentation, regulatory compliance, administration, content, and learning progress of employees. It is also easy to modify and update the course with LMS software.
SaaS (Software as a Service) based LMS software can be an on-premise software that is installed to your local servers, or it can be cloud-based or web based service provided by the vendor.
Open-source learning management software lets the users access the codes, configure and reprogram it to address their specific needs.
Cloud-based or Web-based
Cloud-based or web-hosted LMS is hosted on the cloud server or online servers and is accessible online by administrators.
An on-premise learning management system software is installed on your internal local servers, and your own IT personnel look after the updates and maintenance.
When traditional board training is not bringing in results
When the number of employees of companies increases, it is no longer possible to stick to the traditional classroom sessions for training employees. In such situations, existing learning systems have to be either upgraded or a new mode of learning system has to be introduced. So, whenever the traditional modes of imparting training and learning fail to bring the desired results, then it's advisable to shift to a new Learning management system.
Employee or learner’s disinterest in the course:
The newer interactive learning concepts such as MOOCs (Massive open online courses) came into existence to provide highly engaging content and soon became popular as a new addition to corporate learning strategy. Most of the MOOCs run on the LMS platform. Most of these courses enjoy a higher rate of completion, learner engagement, and positive learner feedback. So, companies should deploy LMS software if their learners show disinterest in the traditional learning program.
When employees are not accessible simultaneously:
Hotter Comfort Concept Shoes, UK, had 76 outlets spread across the UK. With such massive staff spread, the company needed an identical training module at every location to train the retail staff. It was not possible to get all the staff at one place from the stores located at different places for training sessions. Therefore, they deployed LMS software to train the staff.
When employees/Clients/associates demand flexibility to learn:
Pennsylvania Automotive Association (PAA) caters to the over 1000 car and truck dealers and provides training to the dealers’ employees in order to make them comply with legislative requirements, meet safety regulations, etc. However, the dealers were unwilling to let their employees leave dealerships to attain the sessions as this would create a scarcity of office staff. They objected to the inconvenience and demanded flexibility. PAA deployed LMS software to train employees spread across Pennsylvania.
When the best trainer is not accessible physically:
Sometimes you need the best trainer in a particular field, and you want all your employees to be trained by him or her only. If you have employees located in different geographic locations, then it may not always be feasible for the instructor to visit each place physically. In such a case, LMS software can solve the issue. You can deploy LMS software to train your staff on a digital platform.
The corporate world has always been more receptive to technological advancements. They act swiftly with the need of the hour. Today the corporate world utilizes LMS software for training and development of employees, employee engagement, and employee training assessments.
The increased usage and adoption of mobile devices by students have brought a significant change in the educational field. Schools, colleges, and universities cannot deny that students are using mobile devices to search for information and download learning material. The only issue is the curation of the information that students access. Knowing the need of the time, schools, universities, professors, and academicians now use LMS to record and deliver lectures, sessions, design MOOCs (Massive open online courses), supplement material for hybrid or blended learning, etc.
Fitness brands are driving growth by using LMS software to train their Gym instructors in the latest fitness routines. Gyms with multiple branches use LMS software to enable their trainers to share information and ideas with each other.
Today medical practitioners use LMS software for internetworking with experts around the globe. Medical practitioners working in other countries use it to do culture-sensitive courses. Doctors serving in multi-ethnic groups do course to understand the protocols to be followed while treating patients, especially female patients of different cultures. LMS is also used to maintain an information hub for medical practitioners or to train patient support representatives.
It is essential for a franchise to maintain the same standard of service across all units. Franchises use LMS software to train staff and maintain uniformity in their business.
Companies that specialize in Staffing and Training:
Companies that specialize in staffing and training use LMS software for training the staff of their client companies. It also helps them to ensure learning is engaging and effective with digitized content.
Blended learning is quite popular in the modern training world. Blended learning is the union of traditional instructor-led-training and online e-learning. Blended learning capitalizes on both traditional learning and e-learning to provide a robust and engaging experience to learners. LMS software provides a platform for blended learning where learners can log into LMS and can attend a live session delivered by the instructor. Learners can ask questions to the instructor, give feedback, and discuss content with fellow learners. The instructor can use tools such as whiteboard, class polling, charts, etc. to provide an actual classroom experience to the learners. It is a virtual classroom session that can be recorded for replay or for the learners who were unable to attend the live session. Instructors can give online assessment tests to learners and evaluate them online.
The most crucial aspect of training is to keep the learner engaged and attentive. It won't take long for the boredom to creep in if the course is monotonous. Gamification has established itself as a new method of instruction and training. It is fun, rewarding, and challenging. LMS software assists in keeping scores, awarding visual badges, unlocking game levels, and monitoring game learning. Adobe created 'LevelUp for Photoshop' gamification to teach its users to use the free trial version of Adobe Photoshop. It brought four times more conversion from free trials to paid ones.
Learner Centric Approach
The modern approach to training is learner-centric. Learner's progress is one of the core metrics on which the success of a training program is evaluated. In a learner-centric approach, the focus is on the responsiveness and satisfaction of the learner. Collaboration and interaction with fellow learners are essential attributes of learner-centred course design. An LMS software has features to design a learner-centric course, and based on the learner's feedback; it can be easily modified by the instructor.
With prestigious universities offering MOOCs, there is a radical shift of importance from institutions to the learners. MOOCs are the latest addition to teaching advancement and learning methodology. MOOC is an online course, and it runs smoothly if an LMS platform is used to deliver MOOCs. LMS software has tools and features that make MOOCs highly efficient and engaging.
Video-based Interactive learning
The future of content is 'Video.' Audio-visual content is the best strategy when it comes to corporate training. Trainers are relying more and more on videos to engage learners and keep them interested in the content. LMS software has features that make it easy to create interactive videos for learners.
The concept of micro-learning emerged to cater to the present day busy and savvy information consumer. Micro-learning refers to the grasping of short, authentic, eye-catching, and engaging information by the learners. Mostly the content used in micro-learning is in the form of infographics and videos. LMS is used to compile and manage these 'bite-sized pieces' of information.
Both in instructor-led-training and e-learning, the present trend is to make sure that there is maximum interaction between fellow learners and also between the instructor and the learners. Learners can use LMS software's tools to collaborate and discuss research and findings.
Social media integration
Today, social media has become a part of the work culture of many organizations. Learners utilize social media tools for making learning more engaging and fun for them. Sharing informative blogs, video content, podcast using social media and aligning the course with social media learning tools and analytics increases learners engagement and participation.
An important feature that one should look at in an LMS software is its ability to design and create courses. This feature has the ability to distribute and update the course as required.
Administrative features to automate course enrollment and notifications, defining user roles, access control to the dashboard, and tracking activities are all available on a single panel.
The learning portal of LMS software lets the learners login and manage their course, assignments, discussion forums, etc. This section also provides them the details of their progress rate and course completion reports.
Mobile learning support is an important feature that one should look for in an LMS software. As most of the learners use mobile phones to read the content, it is essential for the LMS to work flawlessly on mobile devices.
SCORM (Sharable Content Object Reference Model) is an internationally accepted standard for e-learning. An LMS software should be SCORM compatible.
Data Collection Tools
It should have data collection tools to assist the learners in collecting, segregating, and analyzing data.
This feature allows you to create relevant certificate yielding programs and courses.
The user interface, themes, layouts, profile settings can be customized using this option.
LMS should have pre-installed gamification tools such as badges, leaderboards, points, etc.
Learning statistics and analytics provide an in-depth understanding of course gaps.
LMS software that offers you the flexibility to customize logo, color scheme, etc. to suit your brand's image and marketing needs, is preferable.
Learning management software comes with a scalable structure. As your employee or learner base increases, you can expand the software to accommodate more learners.
LMS software comes with artificial intelligence-powered technology to produce deeper personalization and automated experience.
Social Media integration:
LMS software should be able to integrate with social media tools to provide an engaging experience to the learners.
LMS should be able to gather data of all formats from old LMS software and move it to the current drive.
Technical assistance should be prompt and easy to access.
Empowerment: The system has the capability to empower the learner and support them to gain career progression. A sales executive can train herself to become a sales manager. A marketing manager can train himself to gain a leadership position.
Easy Curriculum management: The training content can be polished with the help of an LMS software, and it fills the critical gaps in content to provide a seamless curriculum.
Easy delivery at multiple levels and in various formats: A learning module can be divided into phases and can be delivered in various formats such as quizzes, audio lectures, video lectures, forum discussions, etc
No Geographic constraints: An LMS can be accessed from anywhere and anytime. Learners need not be present physically at a particular venue or classroom to attain a lecture. They can access the learning content on their devices anytime and complete the sessions.
Increased learner interaction: LMS software has tools to improve the communication and interaction of the learner with the trainer and also with the peer group. More significant interaction is assured with real-time messaging, emails, video-conferencing, peer-to-peer discussion forums, announcement posts, etc.
Easy Collaboration: With resource sharing tools of the online learning management systems, the trainer can share modules, projects, worksheets, etc. to let the learner group join together as a community or team to collaborate on projects.
Easy tracking of learner's progress: The trainer or course instructor can track the course completion status, learner’s hitherto progress, and assimilation points easily with the help of the LMS software.
The focus of learning management software is now on the learning experience. Software vendors are offering niche products to help businesses to reach their learning goals. Amidst multiple equally appealing and lucrative options, businesses are likely to get confused to select the best one for their needs. Businesses have to identify requirements and evaluate vendors before making the actual purchase decision. Any wrong selection can be disruptive to their business.
Below are some steps that businesses are advised to follow:
Your learner's skills, qualifications, age factor, tech-savvy ness, learning goals, demographics, etc. are important factors that need to be taken into consideration to set the requirements of the right LMS software for your business.
Once you know what exactly you need, relate the same to vendors, and ask for price quotations. The vendors offering the lowest pricing should be considered first for trial and demo sessions.
During the trial period, ask as many questions as you can to understand the features thoroughly, and this exercise will also help you to understand the vendor's grasp on the system. You can also ask your vendor to demonstrate how a particular problem that you are facing will be resolved by their product.
Keep in mind the strategic, operational, and technical requirements and learner's goals in mind and see which Learning management software is compatible with taking care of all your requirements.
Whether your LMS software provides these four reports?
Completion rate and progress
An essential report generated by learning software is regarding the rate of course completion and the current progress of the learner. Check whether it is provided by the LMS software that you are evaluating to buy.
The instructor should receive learner feedback after every completed module of the course. Based on the input, an instructor can decide if the course needs to be modified or not.
Assessment reports are generated when the learners complete some assignments. The assignment can be in the form of a quiz, open-ended questions, writing tasks, etc. When a learner completes the assignment, the LMS software will evaluate and generate an assessment report.
Certificates of Completion
Once the course is complete, and the learner has submitted his/her all assignments, they should get a certificate of completion.
Whether your LMS Vendor fulfills the below criteria:
Robust customer support is important to get you through in the downtime or when your software is caught in glitches.
Always check the reviews of users on verified sites before investing in learning software. A software that has garnered positive reviews should be your first choice.
The vendor's service history is an aspect that one can check to analyze the vendor's experience in the field. With time most of the vendors get rid of all the major and minor errors and are now in a position to provide flawless services and improved products.
Free Trials and Demo
Go for free trial and demo before you actually put your money in any system. A vendor that denies providing a full-featured free trial or demo should not make it onto your list.
Whether the software falls under your budget?
Cost of the software
The cost factor is an important criterion to consider when you want to invest in an LMS software. Adherence to your budget and buying affordable software that best suits your needs is preferable.
Return on investment
Calculate the return on investment by comparing the costs v/s the expected monetary benefits. One can also consider intangible benefits by assigning them a monetary value. The ROI should always exceed the costs.
Some vendors provide you a monthly subscription, but there may be other hidden costs such as hardware costs, installation costs, registration costs, agreement costs, etc. These costs may increase your budget drastically.
Subscription model v/s License buy
If it is a subscription model, then you have to pay monthly, half-yearly, or annually depending upon what plan you chose. But if it is a license model, then you have to pay a one time fee to buy a license for a fixed duration or lifetime depending upon the vendor's policies.
The costs of LMS software depends on a large number of factors such as:
Functions and features it offers
Whether it is a SaaS-based, on-premise software, open source21 or cloud-based
Number of admins/ users/learners it accommodates
Quality of service offered
The user interface and learner experience it offers
An advanced LMS such as Skyprep will cost you around $349 for 100 learners and $749 for 500 learners per month, whereas ispringsolutions LMS will cost you only $366 for 100 users and $1410 for 500 users per month. A learning management system such as Proprofs will cost you $100 for 100 users for the essential plan and $200 for 100 users per month for a premium plan. LearnUpon will cost you around $1699 for a premium plan for 500 users per month.
On average, a full-featured and custom Learning management system software costs around $2 per month per user. The costs, however, decrease if you have more employees on board. There are also some free learning management systems available in the market. These free LMS systems can be utilized if you require limited features. You can also use free and open source learning management system software such as Moodle with an accessible and open ‘source code’ as a stand-alone solution for your needs.
From classroom learning to PC based learning and then digital learning and e-learning, the corporate training world has gone through a revolution in the past decades. Economic changes and technological advancements led to the explosion in the LMS market. With the addition of concepts such as blended learning, micro-learning, Virtual reality-based learning, etc., the LMS software reached its full potential. With employees valuing training and development as an essential perk for their growth, the corporates understood the need to spend a substantial amount of money on learning and development.
Research has shown the benefits in terms of improved productivity, decreased employee attrition, increased revenues, and employee satisfaction after deploying LMS software. The global LMS software market size is expected to reach USD 22.4 billion by 2023, at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 19.6% during the forecast period. This shows how LMS software is a massive industry in itself and how popular it has become in the corporate training world. With all the benefits and advantages discussed in this buyer's guide, it is crystal clear that companies investing in LMS software are bound to have a great future and significant leverage over their competitors who refrain from this compelling technology.
Goodfirms assist you in knowing the authenticity and accurate categorization of the software. Goodfirms, researches, categorizes, and lists the top software based on their merits, features, costs, customer support, and usability. Goodfirms meticulously analyzes and regularly updates a huge database of above 9000 software services. All software that are included in the final list are further reviewed by the verified users. This makes the Goodfirms’ software list highly reliable and trustworthy. Businesses and academic professionals looking for the best learning management system software for their needs are advised to apply filters based on deployment criteria, pricing models, available support, devices supported, etc. to find the LMS software that will best suit their needs.