Using a Learning Management System (LMS) can significantly improve the way you create, manage and deliver training to your employees. This guide outlines what an LMS is, why you need one and how to choose the right platform for your organisation.
With an increase in remote working, e-learning is becoming an increasingly important part of training, development and compliance for organisations across the globe. Advances in technology mean that employees don’t need to attend at a set time in the same place to access the training they need to do their job well and safely.
If an employer wants to meet their legal obligations and ensure that their workforce is fully trained and competent with the most up-to-date knowledge, a Learning Management System helps maximise the benefits of delivering training.
Discover the benefits and features of SHINE – our powerful Learning Management System and assessment centre, which allows you to manage, track and deliver training and assessments all in one place.
What is a Learning Management System?
A Learning Management System (LMS) is a software as a service (SaaS) that allows an organisation to deliver, manage and automate training, educational courses, competence checks and learning and development programmes to employees and others. You can use an LMS to manage and deliver training covering a wide variety of subjects, such as health and safety both online and instructor-led.
An LMS is suitable for any organisation with a group of individuals that need training. It is useful for onboarding new employees, refreshing the training of existing employees, competence, skills profiling and upskilling individuals who have changed roles within an organisation.
The systems allow users to access learning content, deliver training to users, track progress and feedback and store training records, reports and provide important compliance management information.
An LMS can be a standalone system built to the organisation’s requirements that is installed on its company server, or more usually now a cloud-based product that a SaaS provider manages and hosts. Praxis42’s SHINE is a state-of-the-art powerful LMS and assessment centre, and is a good example of a cloud-based solution.
Why do you need a Learning Management System?
The benefits of using an LMS are extensive. They include:
Access to learning on the go
An LMS gives all employees access to content from wherever they are in the world and at whatever time they want to do it. It removes the need for travel and lets people learn at their own pace with bookmarking of progress. This makes employees more productive and efficient as they are more likely to engage with training if they can choose when to do it rather, perhaps pause rather than being required to attend at a set time. It can also form part of a blended learning programme that leads to completion of a competency framework for example.
Store learning content in one place
Using an LMS means you keep all your learning compliance records, content and data in one place and avoid it being stored in multiple locations, which can lead to duplication and administration issues. This improves organisational efficiency. Centralised training resources can be accessed, learning delivered on-demand and course joining instructions and management achieved in one place.
Keeping feedback and performance data in one system allows employers to track the value of courses, how employees are performing in real-time and set up refresher or renewal dates. In addition, an LMS can help identify which employees require additional training and when employees need refresher training.
Using an LMS and e-learning can significantly reduce the cost of training compared to organising traditional, face-to-face sessions.
Consistency of training across multiple sites
An LMS makes it much easier for organisations operating multiple sites and geographies to deploy consistent training throughout the organisation and to their supply chain e.g. contractor induction and site access management.
Manage compliance and risk
The need for employers to train managers, employees and their suppliers is often a legal requirement with compliance challenges attached.
An LMS helps organisations to meet that requirement. Employees get immediate access to the training they need from wherever they are. In addition, if compliance guidance changes, e-learning content can be updated quickly and easily. This ensures employees remain fully up-to-date with consistent guidance and advice and the organisation avoids the risk of fines for non-compliance or failing to meet their clients expectations.
What to look for when choosing a Learning Management System
When deciding which LMS to choose, there are several features to consider:
Hosted or cloud-based
A key decision you need to make is whether you opt for a hosted or cloud-based LMS:
- Cloud-based LMS – this is generally hosted on a server in a secure environment . The LMS SaaS provider is responsible for uptime, new features and fixing any bugs, security patches and infrastructure which means your organisation always has access to its compliance data.
- Self-hosted LMS – this is stored on your organisation’s local server, and you are responsible for its security, uptime, operation and maintenance of the infrastructure.
In both scenarios the SaaS provider maintains the LMS and the client administers the features, content and management information.
If the provider of the content you’re considering has accreditation from official bodies, it will give you the confidence that the e-learning is of high quality and the training complies with the latest regulatory requirements. Accreditation bodies to look out for include the Institution of Occupational Health (IOSH), the Chartered body and leading membership organisation for safety and health professionals.
Range of features
Ensure that the LMS supports the full range of training features that your organisation needs and can offer the ability to map your organisational structure in and easily feed trainee data into update the current position. Look for a vendor that provides accredited courses that meet your requirements, has the ability to record offline training events, joining instructions, competency tests relating to understanding policy and procedure knowledge and manipulate management reporting.
Certificates and competency badges are a useful feature that employee’s value for continuing professional or personal development (CPD) purposes. It is also important as proof to clients who are looking for competency assurance.
Data and tracking
To make the most of an LMS, you need to track each user’s progress, those that might be having difficulty with the learning, level of compliance with their competency framework and the ability to prompt progress via email or other means. Look for an LMS that provides a detailed and easy-to-access dashboard that gives real-time feedback on progress. Useful data available via an LMS should include details of who attended training, those in progress, when started and ended, the score or level of attainment and refresher period.
Integration with other e-learning courses and systems
As well as accessing the training provided by the LMS vendor, you might also want to upload and manage other assets that you have produced such as videos, policy and procedure documents and courses from other vendors.
Look for an LMS that is compliant with SCORM, such as SHINE. SCORM is a set of technical standards for e-learning products. This means additional SCORM compliant courses can be uploaded and integrated into the platform so you can keep track of all training records in one place.
A single sign on (SSO) is a useful feature which allows employee and administration users to use existing authenticated credentials to log seamlessly into your choses SaaS LMS.
An application programming interface (API) provides the ability to link the LMS to another SaaS or vice versa and often happens in a compliance scenario to create a RegTech solution. This is what the Praxis42 SHINE system is been developed to facilitate and is a great future proof feature.
Integration with face-to-face training
Online training has many benefits and advantages, but face-to-face training is still valuable as part of a blended approach. Many LMS platforms like SHINE also allow you to manage physical sessions and joining instructions.
Keep track of training compliance across your organisation in real-time, on any device, at any time with SHINE – our personalised Learning Management System that can be tailored to your organisation.