LMS is the abbreviation for Learning Management System or Learning Management System in Brazil also known by some as AVA, Virtual Learning Environment.
Another widely used term equivalent to learning management system is distance learning platform or EAD platform. All these terms mean the same type of system.
What is LMS? What is it for?
The LMS is a software application for administering, offering and monitoring virtual or online courses , and some of these systems also support the management of on-site courses.
Too abstract for you? You will understand better now.
Just as Microsoft Word helps you write documents and Gmail helps you manage your emails, LMS is a type of software that helps you create, manage and deliver courses over the Internet.
An LMS basically allows:
- content creation
- Organization in courses
- Enrolling students in these courses
These platforms also have features for evaluating performance and tracking user progress.
Of course this is a more generic description of the features that an LMS should offer. Let’s detail for you better what are the most common features that a modern LMS has. We will also show you what the contexts of use are, what benefits the use of an LMS brings and the future of this type of platform.
The LMS has basically two usage contexts: Educational or Corporate. In the educational context, it is used by educational institutions in which they use it as a tool to operationalize the offer of courses for their students or as a support tool for on-site courses.
In use by companies in general, it is used as a platform for corporate education , serving to train employees, customers and partners. In this way, it serves as an instrument for the development of employees and impacts the organization’s results.
Many LMS providers have specialized in platforms with functionalities better suited to serve educational institutions and others have focused on meeting specific needs of corporate education.
Some platforms try to permeate both worlds, corporate and educational. However, this is a very big challenge because the needs are different and the approach and language are different.
Features of an LMS
Here we are going to show you the most common features of an LMS, but it is not necessarily necessary that the platform contains all these features to be considered an LMS. It’s up to you to analyze which features are really important for your objective.
When choosing an LMS, it is important to correctly specify the functionalities your company needs through an RFI and RFP. By doing this you avoid one of the main reasons why LMS projects go wrong.
The main functionality of an LMS is the distribution of content to its users. Therefore, every LMS somehow has mechanisms for insertion and management of content.
These contents can be videos, audios, PDFs, files in general, animations, external links, HTML pages, SCORM packages ( e-learning content standard ), etc.
Some platforms have content creation capabilities as well. This means, a tool that allows the user to create rich content, with images, videos, text, without needing more advanced knowledge.
web conferencing and chat
For some types of courses synchronous interaction between the participants and the instructor may be important. Features such as the possibility of meeting virtually over the internet in real time using video, audio and text resources are quite common on the platforms, even available via smartphones and tablets.
Forums are a resource for proposing and discussing a specific topic. They are one of the most popular features of an LMS. In it, participants comment and respond in an organized way to a particular subject.
There is usually the figure of a moderator who guides the discussion with the intention of keeping the participants engaged and that the discussion is not diverted to another topic.
Today forums have collaboration resources not only through text but also video, images, audio, links, etc. Many have built-in social networking features as well, such as liking, rating, and tagging specific people in discussions.
The social learning is one of the most effective ways of absorbing knowledge. Currently, the vast majority of platforms rely on informal learning networks, which allow users to connect, post content and interact privately or publicly.
Currently many platforms are relying on gamification features . These features are the attribution of points, badges or achievements to users as they perform actions such as:
complete a training
Receive a higher-than-expected grade on an assessment
Contribute materials on the platform
These features motivate users to always be accessing the platform more and doing more training. Some organizations even give awards according to the employee’s performance in training.
Tasks and Checklists
It consists of resources that allow users to submit files and content or perform tasks that can be evaluated by an instructor or a manager, for example.
The feature of checklists, specifically, can be very interesting to carry out a post-training evaluation about their application in practice.
This feature allows companies to sell courses on the internet.
Typically, human capital management and learning platforms allow you to create a catalog of organized courses, stating the value and allowing users to pay for the platform itself.
This e-commerce resource can be used, for example, to monetize training that already needs to be created for the internal audience and start being offered to a public external to the organization.
The LMSs that also support the management of on-site courses have resources to carry out the accounting of the user’s presence (attendance) and also manage all the programming and resources of the classes.
These platforms allow the allocation of instructors, necessary equipment, management of the room schedule, resources needed for the class and the instructor, avoiding conflicts.