What are the most important Learning Management System features?

With over 100 LMS features out there and 1,000+ LMS Vendors globally, making the decision on which vendor to choose and why can be daunting for even the savviest of LMS buyers.

It is vital to have an LMS that not only satisfies your administrative and analytical needs, but also an LMS that works great for your learners. Organizations can spend a lot of time and money on a new LMS, but if it does not meet the needs of the learner, then it won’t be used (or it will be difficult to get people to use it—not fun…).

Based on our 20 years of experience, we have collected and ranked a list of key LMS features from critical importance to nice-to-have.

*This feature ranking may vary depending on an organization’s industry and their specific goals for their training program.

Must-Have LMS Features

The ability to add, edit and manage the following training types:

The ability to apply or enable the following details or characteristics of a course:

  • Course description – WYSIWYG HTML Editor
  • Course prerequisites
  • Course retake restrictions
  • Certificates of Completion
  • Course Levels –Required vs. Elective (Public)
  • Grading (If applicable)

The ability to add, edit and manage course catalogs, groupings or series by:

  • Assigning courses to course catalogs, groups or series based on predefined user roles
  • Share courses across catalogs and course series
  • Manage course catalog or series display date range
  • Make a course catalog or series public

The ability to add, edit and manage user groups, company divisions, business units and brands with:

  • Automated user enrollment or user import (Excel upload)
  • Automated user deactivation
  • Administration of registration codes for user enrollment
  • Creation or modification of user information/user profiles
  • Hierarchy for the training structure based on organizations, departments, user roles and location
  • Ability to mark a user complete

The ability to manage user progress and performance with:

  • Course reports – Course completions, course enrollments, etc.
  • Classroom enrollment reports – Course completions, course enrollments, etc.
  • User reports - Active users, certification completion, compliance completion, user login activity, user transcripts

The ability to communicate with users and collect and manage user feedback with:

  • Course surveys
  • System announcements

The ability for learners to access the following from their learner dashboard:

  • Courses and learning plans
  • Course transcript/progress page
  • Course catalog (for Public courses)
  • Profile/preference changes – Login information, language preferences, etc.
  • The ability to deploy the LMS on the cloud

Good-to-Have LMS Features

The ability to add, edit and manage the following training types:

The ability to apply or enable the following details or characteristics of a course:

  • Social sharing
  • Inclusion of supplemental resources with the course
  • Wait list (If applicable)
  • Discussion Board

The ability to add, edit and manage course catalogs, groupings or series by:

  • Assigning courses to course catalogs, groups or series based on predefined user identification codes

The ability to add, edit and manage user groups, company divisions, business units and brands with:

  • Predefined user roles (Staff, Manager, Supervisor, Instructor, Guest, etc.)

The ability to manage user progress and performance with:

  • Course survey reports- Course satisfaction
  • Report export/download
  • Automated report delivery

The ability to communicate with users and collect user feedback with:

  • Automated notifications – email
  • Direct mail
  • Course comments

The ability for users to communicate with each other with:

  • Discussion boards/social communities

Other

  • Multi-lingual User Interface
  • White labeling
  • Integrations with relevant software –Salesforce, HRIS systems, etc.

Nice-to-Have LMS Features

The ability to apply or enable the following details or characteristics of a course:

  • Designate a course image – Image library
  • Read & sign compliance tracking
  • Self-certified completion

The ability to manage user progress and performance with:

  • User reports- User ranking on Leaderboard
  • System survey reports –System usability
  • Ecommerce reports – Course payment by a form of payment, courses sold, etc.
  • Real-time reporting dashboard

The ability to communicate with users and collect user feedback with:

  • Automated notifications –SMS
  • Course rankings

The ability for learners to access the following from their learner dashboard:

  • Resource bank

The ability to create your own courses within the LMS (built-in course authoring tool)

The ability to generate revenue through your LMS – E-commerce

Other

  • Serious games (Badges, Points, Awards)
  • 3D Simulation
  • Extended enterprise –Multi-domain
  • Open API
  • SSO
  • Blog engine
  • Offline learning
  • Virtual coach/mentor
  • Podcast management

Keep in mind that this list of features is not comprehensive of every feature available on the market, but it does include what we deem as the main features to keep in mind as you decide which LMS provider to select, or which features you’d like to upgrade your LMS with.

We would also recommend taking a look at this step-by-step guide detailing how to plan, choose, and implement an engaging LMS.

If you have any questions about the list or want to know how our Learning Management System stacks up, please give us a shout at 1-800-850-2025, or fill out our Contact Us form.

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