What is an LMS? An explanation of the basics of a Learning Management System

“So what is an LMS?” I get asked this question a lot by family and friends and people I meet in general. It is mainly when they ask the question “so what do you do for a living?”

When I tell then I work for a company that develops an LMS and learning technology, it is the first response that I get!

So I am assuming that there are plenty of other people out there who also have no idea what an LMS is and what it does and what it is used for. To that end, I thought I would share an explanation of this clearly unknown phenomenon!

Wikipedia has this simple definition for a Learning Management System:

A Learning Management System (LMS) is a software application for the administration, documentation, tracking, reporting and delivery of electronic educational technology (also called e-learning) courses or training programs.

Now that is a fairly simple explanation in my opinion, as an LMS can be so much more than that. Yes, way back in the day, an LMS was indeed an application for delivering e-learning content to users, but they have come a long way over the years.

Here is a bullet list of what functions an LMS can now perform:

  • Delivery of e-learning and electronic media as learning materials
  • Management of classroom training schedules, bookings and attendance
  • Management of virtual classroom training schedules, bookings and attendance
  • Management of users, roles and courses
  • Maintaining a detailed Learning Plan for all system users
  • Reporting on usage, completion and attendance for courses delivered
  • Competency management
  • Knowledge sharing between application users through forums and user generated content uploads
  • Social Learning and Gamification
  • Creating dynamic catalogues of courses for specific audiences
  • Management of internal Mentoring programs
  • Creating user surveys and polls to gather feedback from learners

This is all before we step into the Talent Management aspect of how an LMS can integrate functionality such as Performance Management, 360 Feedback, Succession Planning, Skills Management and more.

whatislms

So as you can see, LMS platforms have evolved so much more since they first became popular.

I think my own definition of an LMS would now be:

A Learning Management System (LMS) is a software application which can be hosted on a network, on the Internet or on the Cloud. It is used to plan, deliver and analyse learning progress of learners by providing administration, documentation, tracking and analysis functions to meet a specific learning requirement. That learning requirement is usually made up of a blend of e-learning, classroom training, reference material and knowledge sharing. An LMS enhances the learning process to improve on learning methodology and the record of that learning.

Utilising a Learning Management System as part of an overall learning strategy comes with many benefits, such as:

  • A centralised record of all training and learning undertaken by the learners
  • Immediate access to learning for any system user, from any device as most LMS platforms and e-learning is now responsive designed
  • Cost reduction on traditional classroom training schedules, especially when e-learning is the main mechanism of training delivery
  • Easier new employee onboarding where you can provide instance training to new hires on your business and processes
  • Easier to train dispersed groups of learners in different geographical locations

Why not sign yourself up for a free JLMS Cloud site and see how making use of a Learning Management System could benefit you and your organisation.

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