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30 LMS Features
You Can't Live
Without This Year

The learning management system (LMS) market is booming. So much so that there's a lengthy list of LMS features to sift through. We have your back. This guide aims to help you navigate all the features that come with modern learning technology.

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The impact that online learning has on every aspect of day-to-day life is astounding, including how people learn. In response, the learning management system (LMS) market is responding with an expansion of its own. The LMS market is projected to reach $29.9 billion by 2025, with an annual growth rate of 21.1%. But with that explosive growth comes a challenge: There’s a long list of LMS features to sift through. 

In terms of challenges, this is a good one to have. With so many advanced LMSs available, you can tailor the technology exactly how you want and create the perfect learning experience. It’s why online learning is popular across nearly every major industry today. 

While the flexibility of modern LMSs is a strength, it can also make it challenging to decide which features you need right away and which ones can wait until you have a more mature learning program. 

To help you make these decisions, we’ve put together a list of LMS features available in most modern systems. 

Note: In no way, shape or form do you need all of these features to launch a learning program. This list is purely to give you an idea of what features are available in most LMSs so that when you’re working on implementing an LMS or upgrading to a more modern one, you have a foundational understanding of what’s out there. 

LMS Requirements Checklist: 30 Features to Consider

Customizable Design

An LMS with a customizable design allows you to control how your interface looks and feels from a learner’s POV. Nearly every LMS will give you the ability to play around with logos and colors; however, some will provide you with complete control over every aspect of the learning interface, including the home screen, events page, login screen, profile page and more.

Mobile Optimized

There are 6.4 billion smartphone users worldwide, meaning that it’s a foregone conclusion that people will consume some or all of your content on mobile devices. The ubiquity of mobile behavior is why nearly every LMS is optimized for mobile learning experiences that allow you to adjust the content to fit different screen sizes and formats.  

Learning Paths

Learning paths guide people through a predefined sequence of content that you built to help them master a topic. For example, a SaaS company could use a learning path to help new users access its platforms for the first time. When implemented correctly, learning paths improve engagement and knowledge retention, a constant challenge for even the most experienced Learning teams.

Multi-content Support

An LMS with multi-content support lets you easily upload and deliver different types of personalized content, including videos, audio and podcasts, presentations, rich text and more.

Email Notifications

With support for in-app notifications, you can seamlessly send branded and customized email communications that encourage learning and knowledge retention — think a message to remind someone to complete a course.

Surveys

Deliver custom surveys to people via any embedded survey tool (e.g., Typeform and Survey Monkey) to get feedback, poll opinions and make updates to improve your program.

Custom Quizzes and Assignments

The learning interface is integrated with assignments and quizzes — multiple choice, true/false, short answer, matching, rank style questions, etc. — that help you evaluate someone’s understanding of a topic. Using the SaaS example above, a quiz or assessment could test a new user’s ability to log in.

Certifications

Offer certificates to your learners when they complete a course. Certificates can be branded with logos and include the date of completion, the person’s name as well as the expiration date. Certificates can be printed, downloaded or emailed.

Personalization Tokens

Personalization tokens recognize individual learners taking the course and populate content that applies to their unique learning needs.

Live Session

An LMS that supports live sessions gives you the ability to let people register for one-to-many live online training events where you can hold Q&As, deliver product training, create a panel discussion and more.

Simple Formatting

Simple formatting allows you to easily create, organize, and manage your learning activities in one centralized location. It also reduces the learning curve for new admins.

Content Authoring

Built-in content authoring tools let you create, upload and update content that people can immediately access in the LMS.

Bulk Uploads

Bulk uploads let you bring an entire library of assets to a central media library so that you can use them to create learning activities in any course.

Milestones

Milestones ensure people complete a desired action before moving on to additional content. For example, watching 100% of a video or earning a minimum score on a quiz.

Instructor-led Training (ILT)

Support for in-person and virtual training event management by streamlining the process of enrolling participants, sending email reminders and tracking attendance.

Email Communications and Customization

The ability to share course and content links via customized emails (i.e., sending one email about onboarding to a new employee and another about sales techniques to a seller.

SSO

Support SSO with Oauth 2.0, Oauth, OpenID Connect, etc., so that users can access course content without having to painstakingly remember their password each time.

APIs

Enable communication between your systems and your LMS to embed your learning program and automate workflows. APIs are a great way to add learning data to an existing ecosystem to create the least friction possible.

Integrations

Enhance the learning experience with integrations such as BambooHR, Zapier and HubSpot. Integrations can make it easier for people to learn as well as internal administrators to manage the LMS.

Webhooks

Webhooks help streamline training operations by sending triggered events that enable the LMS to take action based on learner interactions.

Roles and Permissions

Multiple levels of permissions (admin, manager and learner) that let you manage someone’s ability to edit content, view analytics and send course enrollment emails.

Website and Apps

The ability to embed course access links on our website, in apps or within tools people use daily so that you create a consistent and cohesive learning experience.

Learner-level Analytics and Custom Reports

Analytics that let you drill down into everyone’s learning activity. For example, the last time someone accessed a course and how far they’ve progressed. Custom reports allow you to tailor your insights report based on your current needs—for instance, a report on how the Marketing team is moving through a learning path.

Data Sharing

Send data directly to external tools to minimize the need to build time-consuming queries to access data. Robust data-sharing capabilities are paramount to the success of Learning teams consistently onboarding and managing a growing user base.

Alerts

A threshold notification system lets learners stay informed about significant changes in their data and receive emails to alert them when the data reaches a predetermined threshold.

Multi-language Support

With multi-language support, you can easily translate your content into different languages and provide an excellent experience for people in other parts of the world (i.e., content localization).

Global Infrastructure

The platform uses cloud-based infrastructure and a global content-delivery network to deliver content, no matter where people are.

Cloud Hosting

Enables you to scale your user base from zero to hundreds of thousands without having to worry about operational issues or sacrificing the learning or brand experience.

Social

Support for discussion boards, file sharing, virtual online sessions and other features that create a sense of community among your learners.

SCORM Compliant

SCORM compliance ensures that the LMS will “play well” with other software.

What Else to Look for in an LMS?

These are great foundational features to check off your list, but there’s more to a successful online learning program.

The LMS vendor’s intangibles have an equal impact. Specifically, you want to consider the company’s philosophy and the implementation and support services they offer. 

Company Philosophy

By understanding the vendor’s philosophy on online learning, you’ll continue to benefit from product updates and releases, allowing you to grow, mature and scale. If you’re not on the same page with the vendor, you may run into speed bumps down the road.

Implementation and Support

It’s vital that you make sure you’ll have people and resources backing you up (e.g., robust support documentation and a dedicated Customer Success Manager). Having a team behind you is essential to long-term success and sustainability with any rapidly evolving product and industry.

So, Which LMS Features Do You Really Need?  

In a perfect world, your LMS does absolutely everything you need. Unfortunately, that’s likely not the case. While every LMS on the market fundamentally helps you do the same thing—educate your target audience and help them be successful—they each have their strengths and weaknesses, meaning that what one can do won’t necessarily align with another. 

That said, when you’re looking for an LMS, there’s one area where you CANNOT sacrifice: Features related to usability and scalability. 

Regarding usability, the reality is that people (administrators and learners) won’t use the LMS and the content within if it isn’t incredibly intuitive. To that end, you must prioritize features related to usability. From the learner’s POV, this means features like Learning Paths, mobile optimization, SSO and integrations. 

For admin-facing features, you’ll want to prioritize bulk uploading, easy course creation, custom reports and more. Anything that can make the lives of anyone using the LMS easier is an excellent feature to have. 

In terms of scalability, you want an LMS that’ll help you scale without disrupting the learning or brand experience. This is why features like global infrastructure, cloud hosting and multi-language support are so important. 

Think of it this way: You should prioritize features that’ll let you onboard an influx of users, add more content and implement advanced features without people noticing you’re making substantial changes. If scaling your learning program means shutting down your LMS or making significant learner-facing changes, you don’t have the features you need. 

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