If you are aware of the benefits that learning management systems (LMS) bring, you might want to have an LMS for your remote education business. You should be asking yourself how to choose features for a learning management system. In the following article, SOLVVE provides a list of things to consider when deciding on what LMS is the best fit for your business.
Clearly Define Goals and Needs
Before you choose a learning management system, it is important to think through some pivotal questions that define the further direction of your business and the choices you will face.
Firstly, consider your target audience. Are they children or adults? Do you support educational institutions or are you more about corporate training and employee development? What kind of subjects and how many of them do you need to cover?
Secondly, how interactive do you expect your LMS to be and what kind of engagement do you expect from the system? Depending on them, you might want to look also into features that support a lot of media types or could help people with special requirements to the learning environment participate in classes and training with ease.
Thirdly, think about the end of the training process. How will the grading or certification go? Do you want to have some official paper issued? If so, how do you cooperate with issuing institutions? What are their guidelines on the learning process? It can greatly change your initial idea of what your learning management system and its features should be like.
Answering these questions should give you an idea about what kind of features you want to have in your system. And depending on the set of features you will probably face the choice between choosing one of the existing LMS solutions or building a new one from scratch.
Readymade LMS or Custom Software Development?
If you are not sure which one suits you best, consider these benefits and shortcomings for each of them.
On the one hand, the market of LMS solutions is big enough to find an already existing system that can be easy and fast to set up, and that has been in use for a while to guarantee its functionality and stability. Most of them are rather flexible and can be modified according to your needs. On the other hand, by picking up such a solution you automatically agree to the limitations of such systems—E.g. types of media that are compatible, availability of some functions, integration options, etc.
Custom made LMS will give you full control over what functions it has, how it looks, what third-party services you can have there, and so on. If, for example, you have a novel approach to teaching and training that existing systems cannot support, you might want to go with custom development.
Bringing your system to life from scratch will take time. How long does it take to build an app? It depends on several factors which you can discuss with business analysts and development team leads to get your estimates. AT SOLVVE, it is an easy 3-step process to get answers to most of your questions.
What Features Your LMS Should Have?
Whichever you have chosen, SOLVVE experts who were building eLearning software before emphasize that when you choose a learning management system, it should have the following features.
Course builder and content manager
Your LMS should be flexible enough to help teachers and instructors upload, organize, update, and distribute their materials in multiple formats. At the same time, it should be simple and intuitive enough to use for people who are not tech-savvy. Think about how all the users will interact inside the system: uploading papers, commenting, upvoting, etc.
Although integration with social media is still technically an option, many would agree that this is a must, especially for younger generations. Sharing learning results in popular social services and discussions with friends can both motivate students and draw more attention to your LMS. It can also help students and educators see tasks in a new light or find inspiration outside the classroom setting.
Similar to the social component, gamification is a highly recommended feature to have in your learning management system. It helps to keep people engaged and entertained. Thus, learning sessions are more fun and more efficient since games can appeal to different senses and memory types. A little friendly competition can also foster the desire to learn more and move forwards.
Skill tracking and testing options
Tracking skills development and testing today is as efficient as it could ever be thanks to machine learning advancement. AI technologies are changing the future of online learning, namely by automating testing and skills assessment as language learning apps do. It unloads teachers and grants more flexibility to students who can move at their own pace with learning and testing.
Analytics and feedback tools
Similar to the feature above, it is easy to collect and interpret data about all the processes in your LMS to understand the dynamics of it. Administrators, teachers, and students should be able to access specific sets of reports that will keep them informed on what they are doing great and what could be improved, schedules and assignments, upcoming deadlines, etc.
Learning on the go, during launch breaks or commuting can be a game-changer for students. Especially if those are corporate employees whose additional training revolves around their main work. Having a mobile app that goes hand in hand with the latest trends in mobile development should be a part of your LMS architecture from day one.
These will probably be a part of your mobile app anyway. However, it would be great to spend some extra time on planning how notification could prompt students to learn without irritating them with poorly timed reminders. You might want to consult educators on what be the most efficient way to keep students engaged in the most efficient way.
Beside social media integration, keep in mind that at some point you might need to deal with other third-party services. For example, video-conferencing for one-on-one tutoring, a payment system, or a dictionary. The same goes for any service that can issue official certificates after the course completion. Online education is one of the key business opportunities during the pandemic. Thus, it would be best if you considered ways to expand your toolkit when your business starts to grow.
Make sure that your LMS is safely handling personal data of the involved parties. This includes authentication, which can be enhanced with biometrics, communication among the participants inside and outside the LMS, access to learning progress and results, etc.
Maintenance and upgrades
Consult tech experts about the limitations of your future LMS. How much load can it withstand, e.g. how many people can use it at the same time? How fast can it be scaled? What kind of media can it handle? How often is it updated? Who can support you should there be any crashes or problems? Be sure to have your LMS properly tested and have a support team ready just in case.
Who Will Run Your LMS?
Regardless of whether you choose a readymade learning management system or a custom developed one, you need to pick up a trustworthy and experienced service provider. When picking up a company it is good to see if it has any expertise in eLearning, do they understand trends in the remote education domain. See also, what kind of pricing policies, support, and involvement in the process they offer.
At SOLVVE we offer multiple ways of collaboration and pricing to give you the best combination of costs, value, and time-to-market delivery. If you have any questions or ideas related to eLearning and learning management systems, do not hesitate to contact us. Let us make this happen!