What to Look For in a Learning Management System

Find out what features to look for in your corporate learning management system, along with steps to follow to shortlist various tools on the market.

Big thanks to Natasa Jakovac Borojevic for helping us write this article by sharing her experience and insights 🙌

Growing the HR stack in a company usually starts with introducing an HRIS to cover policies and procedures. It continues with an Applicant Tracking System (ATS) to easily recruit new employees. A Learning Management System (LMS) typically comes later — but shouldn’t be an afterthought.

An LMS is a crucial part of the HR tech stack as it helps the leadership manage the growth and development of their employees — and the organization as a whole — strategically.

In this post, we look at key aspects to consider when getting your next LMS, including:

  • Why should businesses invest in a corporate Learning Management System?
  • What are the key elements to look for in a corporate LMS?
  • How to choose the best LMS for your company?
  • What challenges could you encounter along the way?
  • How to get stakeholders’ buy-in for acquiring an LMS?
This article is part of the “People Ops Guide for CHROs” e-book that’s in preparation. Be the first to find out once it's out.

Benefits of corporate LMS systems

An LMS system helps organizations prepare for high growth — and systematically manage employee’s learning and development, by letting you:

Create a better onboarding experience

Great onboarding helps new employees become productive faster, increases employee engagement, and improves employee retention. With LMS systems, HRs can more easily organize and enable consistent onboarding experience for new hires.

Product knowledge training

An LMS system makes it easy to organize position- and employee-specific training around product knowledge, while incorporating product updates into the training material.

At the same time, LMS admins can also create designated training materials for partners or resellers.

Centralized learning material repository

Learning material is often scattered across shared Google Drive folders, creating silos and making it easy to lose organizational knowledge. With an LMS, you can centralize and easily maintain all learning materials.

You can also organize the materials to match different learning styles and in doing so — enable the best learning outcome for your employees.

Spotting career development opportunities

A corporate LMS isn’t only a tool that helps employees learn better. It's also a talent and career opportunity management tool.

With an LMS, it’s easier to spot people’s potential, and help them grow their career based on interests and skills, which in turn helps reduce employee turnover.

Key elements of a corporate LMS

To get the most value out of your learning management system, you need to look for features that help your employees learn and progress — and your LMS admin team deliver a smooth learning experience.

While these will vary based on your organizational needs, there are core features that you should look for in your next LMS:

Learning content management

As this is the core of a corporate LMS tool — make sure that the tool you’re considering:

  • Supports multiple document types and formats (text, images, video, audio, VR)
  • Embeds content from external sources (e.g.,  YouTube videos)
  • Allows for internal content creation and content authoring
  • Has advanced search functionalities
  • Includes certification management: automated reminders, tests, automated certificate delivery
  • Makes learning recommendations to employees based on their interests and job role.

If you have specific certificates or courses you want your employees to go through, check for them specifically during the investigation phase. This helps understand how exactly the learning experience will be for your employees.

Administration

LMS should not be viewed as a “static” learning material vault, but instead as an evolving learning resource. This means that content administration should come with features that support everyone’s learning and allow you to easily personalize the learning experience.

Make sure that the LMS you’re considering lets you:

  • Create learning personas with personalized learning paths (to enable self-paced learning)
  • Administer training assignments (for team managers)
  • Track employee activities
  • Send notifications and reminders to employees.

Assessment and analytics

Assessments help employees evaluate their knowledge, but they also send a signal of new knowledge and skills to the managers. See if the LMS you’re considering supports quizzes and tests for learning performance.

Meanwhile, analytics is useful to employees, managers, and Learning and Development teams for a number of reasons, as they let them track:

  • Learners’ progress and performance
  • Time spent on learning
  • LMS usage
  • Learners’ engagement and satisfaction.

However, built-in reporting and analytics shouldn’t be a decisive element when choosing your corporate LMS.

With people analytics platforms like Orgnostic, it’s easy to cross-reference data from different tools, and get insights into employee learning and development, and in turn act on these insights to deliver the best learning experience.

Social features and gamification

To be effective, learning should be casual, social, and fun.

That’s why your Learning Management System should entail social features.

For example, learners might want to share the news about completing the course on social media, or they’d want to discuss the learning content with their peers on chat, forum, or a discussion board.

Gamification elements such as content ranking, polls, surveys, quizzes, and more should be ingrained in the LMS to ensure effective learning.

Security and compliance

Make sure the tool you’re considering:

  • Follows the region, country, or industry-specific regulations (like GDPR, HIPAA, and other)
  • Supports data encryption
  • Multi-factor authentication
  • Access controls
  • Backup

Integrations

Integrations are an important aspect of the corporate LMS offering because they have the power to drive adoption among employees. If the new tool effortlessly fits into the existing microverse of apps, they’ll be more welcoming towards it.

Plus, integrations are crucial to populate LMS with employee data that’s needed — make sure there’s a connection to HRIS and other tools from your HR tech stack.

How do you choose the best LMS for your organization?

Choosing the right Learning Management System isn’t an easy task and you shouldn’t expect the process to be linear and quick. This is especially true if your organization is an enterprise.

Here are the steps to follow when choosing the best LMS system for your organization.

Consider your company’s strategy and define your goals

Get familiar with your company’s strategy, short-term and long-term — and understand what your leadership’s mission and vision for the next year is. Knowing this helps you define your goals and get a buy-in.

When you show your leadership how acquiring an LMS supports the business strategy (for example, fast and extensive growth, getting into new territories, opening new industry verticals), it’s much easier to get approval, support, and encouragement during the purchasing and implementation processes.

Create a key stakeholder decision-making coalition

Members of the Learning and Development team are crucial when choosing your LMS system.

But you’ll also work with the finance department to get the budget approval and go through with the payment.

Further down the road in the purchasing process, your colleagues from IT will be essential in determining what vendor works best from the technical POV.

Evaluate vendors

Once you establish your goals, get a buy-in, and create your collaborative team, it’s time to make contact with vendors.

When engaging in demos, it’s best to send a list of questions that can help you filter out less compatible solutions. You can also prepare an RFP document to send out to vendors.

Be mindful of your business needs as well as your employees’ perspective when choosing the software.

Test the software

Before making the final decision, it’s always good to make a test-run. Your team can play around the software during the free trial period, or you can ask your potential vendors for a proof of concept before you start.

It’s good to be acquainted with the software firsthand before advocating it to the rest of the company. As a vital part of the project, you should try to red flag potential issues to the vendor, as well as propose features you’d find useful in the future.

Unlock the full potential of LMS

A learning management system is a lot more than just a repository of learning materials or a tool to track employee learning performance. An LMS helps you with strategic decisions — from talent management, to employee retention, and wider career management support.

Still, an LMS helps with just one part of the equation. To get a full picture of employee growth and development, you should look for data inputs from others tools in your HR tech stack, which is a time-consuming and manual process.

With Orgnostic People Analytics platform, you can connect data from various resources in an instant — and align your strategic decisions with learning and development of your employees, ensuring better engagement and employee satisfaction.

Want to get data-driven insights into development and growth of your team? 👉 Start your people analytics journey →



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