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12 Must-have LMS features for e-learning

Whether you’re new to Learning Management Systems or simply looking to upgrade your current e-learning tool, it’s important to select one with the features that will meet your organization’s unique needs. We’ve put together a list of 12 LMS features worth keeping an eye out for to help you with your search.

Alexandra Hemmer

What is an LMS?

Before we dive into the key features of an LMS for e-learning, let’s clarify what an LMS is and the purpose it serves.

In short, an LMS – or Learning Management System – is a digital system where you can store and manage all your organization’s e-learning content as well as keep track of your learners’ results. Because of this, an LMS can be used as both a central location to store company-wide learning content and a tool to facilitate corporate learning. Some examples of well-known LMSs include Moodle, Blackboard Learn, and LearnUpon.

To learn more about what an LMS is and its role in e-learning, check out our free LMS guide.

Beyond this basic definition, what you can do with your LMS will depend on what specific features it carries, which can vary greatly. That’s what we’ll cover today. By the end of this article, you’ll have a clear sense of the different options and which LMS features best suit your organization’s goals.

Best LMS features

Whether you’re new to the common features of an LMS or looking to upgrade your existing solution, here is a checklist of 12 key LMS features we recommend you keep an eye out for:

  1. Content organization

    By definition, an LMS is a tool that allows you to store and manage your learning content. But choosing an LMS is more than just about meeting this basic requirement. It’s also worth finding one that keeps your content organized and easy to find, both for content creators and learners. For example, learners should be able to easily find the content most relevant to their role without having to scroll through other teams’ content. While LMSs don’t traditionally have a search function for users to quickly lookup the content they need, more of them have started adding one to keep up with the growing trend of on-demand learning.

  2. User-friendly interface

    Along with keeping content organized, it’s just as important that your LMS is easy to interact with. An intuitive user interface not only speeds up the time it takes for your learners to explore and identify the content they need but also makes for an inviting, hassle-free learning experience.

  3. Learning paths

    Learning paths are another feature LMSs are adding to keep up with the trend of on-demand learning. These are strings of courses tied together for a learner to complete and achieve a wider learning objective. Because learning objectives can’t always be accomplished through a single course, learning paths provide a guided route of courses and content. More importantly, learning paths provide a more personalized experience. By knowing exactly which courses it takes to complete a specific learning objective, learners spend less time exploring the database and can dive right into achieving their goals.

  4. Assessment and grading

    There’s more to learning than creating content and pushing it out to learners. It’s also important to keep up with your learners’ progress, properly assess their learning needs, and even share feedback to help them improve. Assessment features like digital quizzes and exams can make a huge difference in understanding where your learners are at and what further guidance they may need. Grading features also allow you to respond to your learners’ assessments by giving them a sense of their grasp on the subject.

  5. Feedback system

    Just as giving feedback helps learners improve, receiving it can help the organization’s learning strategy. Having a dedicated space for your learners to share comments about their learning experience can shed light on the impact you’re making and whether you’re meeting your learner’s needs. You can make use of qualitative feedback to evaluate the quality of your learning content and adjust it as needed to strengthen your corporate learning strategy.

  6. Learner tracking and reporting features

    Detailed learner tracking features are another way to gain insight into how your content can be improved. Most LMSs come with data-driven reporting features, allowing you to identify who has completed your courses, whether they passed or failed, or even how many attempts they made at a question. These metrics can provide quantitative insight into your learners’ progress, enabling you to identify patterns or knowledge gaps that can help you improve your content.

  7. User management

    There will likely be many participants in your LMS with different roles, from content creators to facilitators to learners. That’s why it’s important to have an intuitive user management tool that allows you to easily create new users and organize them by their roles and the specific access they have. For example, you could grant more senior L&D professionals with administrative rights to the system. You might also designate certain users as instructors, giving them more access to course management settings.

  8. Certification and compliance

    If your organization has compliance goals to keep up with, make sure your LMS has features that can easily facilitate company-wide compliance training. Additionally, you should also look out for certification features, allowing the company to prove its compliance.

  9. Data migration

    As we’ve seen, an LMS stores all kinds of content and organizational information. It’s therefore especially important to look out for a feature known as data migration, which allows you to easily preserve any important data you don’t want to lose. This can be especially helpful if you are switching to a new LMS.

  10. System integration

    An LMS isn’t the only important digital system for corporate learning. This is why it helps when an LMS can easily integrate with other systems in your company, like talent management systems or other HR systems. Some LMSs can also integrate with popular video conferencing tools like WebEx or GoToWebinar.

  11. Supporting standards

    You should be able to save your learning content in industry-recognized standards. SCORM and xAPI are the most common e-learning standards. But it’s not only important that your LMS complies with an e-learning standard. It’s just as important that it can handle the one you’ll be using the most. For example, if you create content with a separate authoring tool that only exports in xAPI, you’ll want to make sure your LMS handles xAPI too – not just SCORM.

  12. Mobile-friendly

    In today’s digital-first era where more and more people are owning smartphones and tablets, it’s important to create learning content that can be easily accessed anytime, anywhere – including on mobile devices. An LMS that’s mobile-responsive can help you optimize your learning content for the modern, mobile-ready employee.

Choose the right authoring tool

Our experts created the ultimate guide to help you select an authoring tool that fits your organization’s needs.

Are these LMS features enough?

Depending on your organization’s goals, you might not even need an LMS. By their very nature, Learning Management Systems are a complex digital tool that often requires additional training to use. This means there’s usually a central learning team of L&D professionals who are responsible for pushing content out to the rest of the company.

But if you’re looking to implement a bottom-up approach to e-learning that empowers your employees in the business to share their knowledge, then an LMS might be an outdated solution. Read our latest article to find the best tool for your e-learning strategy.

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About the author

Alexandra Hemmer is a copywriter at Easygenerator. Originally from Singapore, she spent her higher education years in the U.S. where she kickstarted a career in content marketing and journalism. She currently resides in the Netherlands, embracing her Dutch-Indonesian roots.