What is a Learning Management System (LMS) and what can it do for me?


What are the benefits of an LMS? What should I expect from a good LMS?


A Learning Management System (LMS) is an application used for the administration of learning. A LMS allows anyone to create, track, manage and distribute learning materials of any kind, anywhere, on any device. If you’ve previously been using manuals, powerpoint slides and spreadsheet to take care of learning administration a good LMS could just change your world! If you've been using the same LMS for the last 5-10 years then keep reading because what makes a good LMS, and how it can benefit you, has probably changed.

Here are the 5 reasons your business should invest in a LMS:


1. Manageability

A LMS takes the hard work out of record keeping and administration; it can automate the distribution of eLearning or sending of notifications, reminders or associated documents, whilst still allowing editing and personalisation. It provides a single record location for all forms of training, whether through an online platform, face to face, seminar, 1 to 1's or anything else you require. It will even allow you to book and manage events.


2. Compliance training

In many cases, employees’ training will be geared towards being compliant with legislation. As an LMS automates record keeping and certification, it allows you to provide evidence of compliance much more quickly and easily – demonstrating due diligence and avoiding fines or costs incurred through non-compliance. A good LMS, like Bolt's Spark, will automatically monitor and report on compliance levels, and provide early warning of renewal or recap requirements. A good LMS will also have the functionality for User Verification and/or Facial Recognition – making sure that the person completing the module is who they say they are.


3. Powerful reporting and performance management

A good LMS is not just an administration solution, it is an integral and strategic tool to help you grow your people and your business performance. Simply put, a good LMS has powerful reporting which gives you access to BIG DATA to drive individuals and overall business growth.

Whilst most LMS's will let you see the exam score for a given user, a good LMS goes further; it automatically tracks and records all activity performed by trainees, for example, progression through modules, volume completing training and status of training. It will provide data on how many attempts learners took to get questions correct and even which answers they have when they got it wrong. You can get data on time taken to complete the training or sections, and compare against the average time taken. All of this provides a valuable insight into learner trends, performance levels and how effective the learning experience was, to make improvements and act with agility.

A good LMS has progress intelligent analysis software allowing you to determine your high-flyers from your under-performers. It builds a hierarchical picture of the organisations' performance, comparing an individual's performance to find those that are struggling. It gives you early visibility of potential problem employees and develops your high performers faster. Put simply, it improves performance management in your company and provides clear development pathways for employees. They can even be used to inform recruitment and selection practice to ensure that you hire and retain key talent.


4. An optimised Learning Experience

A good LMS will allow a business to easily create engaging and interactive electronic learning experiences, or use a variety of off-the-shelf content. It has the functionality for gamification in eLearning, video, virtual reality, and learning kingdoms, where the learner sees their modules in the form of an immersive learning journey. It allows for the allocation of assessments and the collection of submitted materials (e-submissions) and has the ability to automatically distribute certificates to users, via email, as they complete a module.

Equally, many employees now demand learning solutions that will fit in with their workload and lifestyle. A good LMS allows learners to access training when they need to, and don’t need to wait for a face-to-face classroom trainer, especially when the LMS is optimised for mobiles, tablets and PCs. However, a good LMS also provides a solution for a blended learning approach; it provides a single record location for all forms of training, whether through an online platform or face-to-face, and also allows eLearning content to be easily transformed into face-to-face course content.


5. Scalability and flexibility

An LMS shouldn’t be ‘one size fits all’ – it needs to meet the needs of your organisation and allow you to harness technology to become more efficient. Different organisations may use many different systems (whether operating systems, or HR systems), and a good LMS will integrate with all of these. Linking payroll/HR systems and automatically adding/removing employees across systems, is all possible with the API.

A good LMS is flexible as it allows for scalability – you can distribute training to as many learners as necessary. This number might start off small, but may increase with staff turnover or growth – distributing the same training means that the learning experience is consistent, so you can ensure performance goals are also consistently met.

In the same vein, an LMS allows for learning to be tailored to your employees, for example, within an LMS an employee can have their own individual profile and audit trail. A good LMS will allow for hierarchical permissions so different people can complete or allocate different aspects of training. A good LMS helps tailor content to the educational needs of the learner, as it can store different versions of the same training which can be allocated according to the learner profile; for example, by language.

A good LMS will give you an edge over your competition. It helps you nurture your most important business asset – the human resource.

Let me introduce you to Spark. Spark is the LMS from Bolt Learning and provides the services of a Learning Management System, Learning Record System and Virtual Learning Environment all rolled into one. It is a next generation LMS, designed to create, monitor, distribute and report on the learning & development of the future.