What is a learning management system? And why do I need one?

An LMS saves time and money? Yes Please!

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What is a learning management system? And why do I need one?

Did you know that approximately 83 percent of organizations currently use an LMS? In fact, the global learning management system market is expected to reach a value of $23.21 billion by 2023. But, with the evolution of technology, questions keep popping up about whether the LMS is dead.  

According to recent research by the ATD, most respondents (73 percent) said their LMS use has risen in the past two years, indicating that LMS use is rising rather than remaining stagnant. 

So, what is a learning management system anyway? And why do I need one?

What is a Learning Management System? The Basics

Often called an LMS for short, a learning management system is a software application that provides the framework that handles all aspects of the learning process – it’s where you house, deliver, and track your training content. While most often called an LMS, other names that might be used is training management system, learning activity management system or even learning experience platform (LXP). 

A learning content management system (LCMS) sometimes gets confused with an LMS as well. An LCMS is software that is used to author and manage learning content. The two systems are complimentary to one another but not the same. 

An LMS is designed to make life easier for those in charge of training and development—e.g., identifying and assessing individual and organizational learning goals, tracking progress toward meeting those goals and collecting and presenting data for supervising the learning process.  

In addition to delivering content, an LMS can also handle things such as onboarding, compliance and skills gap analysis.  

BONUS TIP: SharePoint + SharePoint LMS = Combined Benefits of an LMS and LCMS.

It’s a fact, two out of three organizations already use SharePoint.  

So, for ultimate efficiency, it might make sense for companies who already use SharePoint for content management to add a SharePoint-based LMS to streamline the training process even further. A marriage between the systems allows for easier communication so an administrator can login just once, manage content and collaboration and then seamlessly move training modules into the LMS because everything is housed under the same SharePoint platform. 

Why Use a Learning Management System? Benefits

If you’re still wondering what a learning management system is and why you should have one, let’s discuss the benefits. 

Cost savings: Training and teaching via an LMS reduces employee travel, optimizes training expenditure and usage, and minimizes facilities and instructors to pay. From the cost savings aspect, an LMS is a no-brainer.  

Consistency of training: Training and course delivery via an LMS is consistent since it is centralized. It delivers a consistent training and learning quality to all employees by supplying a single source for content, course materials and instructions.  

Easily tracks learner progress and performance: LMSs allow the company to easily generate training reports on an overall or user/student level basis. By utilizing an LMS for eLearning courses and/or online training, trainers can easily track goal progress, knowledge gains, ROI and more.  

Meet regulatory compliance: Many industries may be required to train, assess and report for compliance purposes. Just a few of these industries are oil and gas, pharmaceuticals, communications, and building and construction. An LMS can help you satisfy these legal and regulatory requirements.  

Generally, learning management systems have many more capabilities than these listed. However, these are the most popular selling points and the top identifiers to whether you and your organization can benefit from an LMS. 

Benefits of a Learning Management System? Return on Investment

If you’re not sold yet on why you should invest in a learning management system, let’s discuss the numbers. Simple as it may be, the numbers don’t lie! Take a look at this example:

Let’s say that your company annually sends a group of 200 sales team members to a one-day training conference. 

  • 200 people @ $200ea = $40,000 
  • Course development = $1,500 
  • Trainer cost = $3,000 
  • Equipment = $400 

A total of $44,900!!!

With an LMS and elearning, this same training can be completed in ½ day with a cost savings as follows: 

  • Trainee cost = $20,000 
  • Course Development = $3,000 
  • Trainer cost = $0 
  • Equipment = $0

A total of $23,000. Just this small change in process saved $21,900 or 48.7 percent.

While this is a very simplified example, there are a multitude of ways to figure out return on investment of a learning management system including lower administrative costs, reduced travel and facility costs, faster time-to-proficiency, less financial risk associated with compliance and decreased employee turnover to name a few.

Is the LMS dead? Absolutely not. With the current skills gap crisis effecting multiple industries, Millennial's desire for continuous educational opportunities and lack of leadership skills within companies, the learning management system has a firm footing for many years to come. Choosing the right LMS for your business can result in improved employee retention, increased productivity, lowered training costs and better compliance, for example.  

Key Consideration:
Technology, Selection

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