So, what's an LMS platform? An LMS platform or learning management system is a software platform you can use to create, manage, deliver and optimize content for your customers, employees, partners or gig workers.
The LMS benefits listed here are some of the most significant ways an LMS can impact your business and your customers.
Time and Cost Savings
By using an LMS platform, you can greatly reduce the amount of time and money that goes into training and supporting your customers, employees, partners and gig workers.
Without a dedicated platform, the training of these audiences would be much more resource-intensive. Plus, better training means less hand-holding from your support team because they’ll spend less time resolving support tickets.
Easy Content Creation
An LMS gives you all the tools you need to easily create informative and engaging content. Your learning team doesn’t need to struggle to put together compelling, multi-format content. With a dedicated platform, you can deliver content that works for all your learners.
Seamless Content Delivery
For your content to actually help users, it needs to be easily accessible to them.
An LMS makes it possible to store all your content in one place where your learners can easily find it.
Some LMS platforms, like Northpass, are also extremely customizable, which allows you to present a learning experience that’s visually consistent with the rest of your brand. Keeping content delivery as seamless as possible helps prevent a jarring experience that interrupts the flow of learning.
Many learning management systems also come with tools for tracking the progress of users as they work through training courses.
Without any way to analyze how your learners are interacting with your content, you’d have no way of improving it.
For example, if you notice a lot of users are getting stuck on a particular course, you can reach out to them with additional support. If enough users are getting stuck in the same spot, it’s probably a good idea to make adjustments to the course itself.
Easy to Scale
As your user base grows, your training program will need to expand to keep up. There will almost certainly come a point where you are no longer able to manually keep pace with the demands of maintaining your customer education program.
Maybe you’ve already reached this point and you’re searching for a solution. An LMS platform enables you to scale your program to meet the needs of thousands of customers without disrupting the learning experience.
What Are the Types of LMS Platforms?
There are many different types of learning management platforms you can choose between. To decide which kind is right for your organization, ask yourself what your goals are for your education program, who your target customers are, and how large your customer base is (or how large you plan for it to be).
Following is a list of LMS types and the differences between them.
A Saas LMS (sometimes called a cloud-based LMS), is one of the simplest, most secure, and most powerful types of LMS. A SaaS learning management system is hosted by a provider, which allows for a “plug and play” kind of experience on your end. It’s simple to set up, and most (but not all) are highly customizable to reflect your brand, not the providers.
An installed learning management system is hosted on your company’s servers. This option prioritizes security, but it doesn’t usually include many of the modern benefits of a SaaS or cloud-based LMS. It can also be expensive to maintain all the data on your own servers.
An open-source LMS has the primary advantage of being free to use and customize to your specific needs. You’ll need someone with the software development know-how to adapt an open-source platform to your specifications. An open-source solution can be a good starting point for teams that just want to get something off the ground, but it will almost certainly require an upgrade later.
A custom LMS is exactly what it sounds like — an LMS customized to your specifications. This type of learning management system gives you the greatest amount of control over how the platform works since it’s specifically tailored for your company.
How to Use an LMS
So, how can you actually use an LMS platform?
There are a few different ways, including training your customers, employees, partners and gig workers.
One of the best ways to use an LMS platform is to educate your customers. Using an LMS can deliver a better learning experience for customers, which leads to all kinds of positive business outcomes.
You can also use a learning management system to deliver training to your employees. It’s just as important to make sure all your employees have the product knowledge they need. When customers need assistance, you want your employees to be experts. Employees who know the product inside and out are also more likely to be able to sell effectively.
Benefits of Employee Training
Better employee retention
More workplace engagement
If you distribute your product through partners, it can be difficult to maintain a consistent presentation. You can use a learning management system to train partners to help them sell your products effectively and maintain the right brand image.
Benefits of Partner Training
Certifications that boost motivation and productivity
Reduced risk and better compliance
Gig Workforce Training
If you rely on a large workforce of gig workers, it can be challenging to keep them all on the same page about product information and company policies. A learning management system provides one central location where all the information your workers need to know can be easily accessed. This makes it much easier for them to receive all the training they need. Gig workers can use the training materials whenever they need them and learn however works best for them.
Benefits of Gig Workforce Training
Better retention rates/less churn
Consistent learning to a disparate workforce
What's the Best LMS?
There's no one-size-fits-all answer to "what's the best LMS?"
Which one you choose will ultimately depend on your goals, budget and available resources.
It’s hard to definitively name a single, “best LMS platform.” However, the best LMS systems for business share some common characteristics:
Intuitive: The LMS should be extremely easy for learners to use and benefit from. It should also be simple for your team to use to create, maintain, update and deliver content.
Scalable As your user base grows, your training program must follow suit. An LMS makes it easy to scale up your program to keep pace with your organization’s growth. The best LMS for scalability is usually a cloud-based LMS.
Customizable. It’s important to be able to create a seamless learning experience by keeping the look and feel of your content aligned with every brand touchpoint, including your website. More engaging visuals are also helpful for maintaining learner engagement and boosting knowledge retention.