Over the past decade, powerful software were developed for the management of complex databases to be used in conjunction with digital frameworks, curricula management, training materials and assessment tools. This technology is known as a Learning Management System (LMS).
An industry of nearly one billion dollars, products and LMS software allows organizations to develop intelligent electronic courses and unchain them to reach an incomparable flexibility.
The LMS has become a powerful tool for companies that specialize in human resources and training, extensioned schools and any organization that seeks to gain a better understanding of the continuing education of their workforce and consulting. Its impact was felt mostly outside the traditional educational institutions, although the same technological/market forces are changing traditional classrooms dramatically too.
The LMS provides its users the ability to manage a continued use over time. LMS offers an incredible balance between functionality and ease of use. It provides an easy, simple but modern interface.
Below find an overview of the common aspects of the LMS industry, some of their strengths and limitations, and a peek at what the future holds.
Components of a LMS
There is no standard definition of the industry or published norm defining the components of a LMS, but several characteristics are common:
- Creating class lists, control over the registration process, as well as the ability to create waiting lists.
- Upload and document the management of your curricular content.
- Course content delivery through web-based interfaces, allowing, in most cases, the remote participation of the instructor and/or student.
- Creating and publishing course calendars.
- The interaction between the students, through instant messaging, E-mail and discussion forums.
- Methods of evaluation and testing (such as creating pop quizzes);
- Management of the complete training systems. Therefore, being able to easily understand those and gather detailed reports.
LMS systems are used in corporate training environments that offer additional features. Often those features are related to meeting objetives like knowledge management and performance evaluation, such as:
- Automatic subscription and reminders for required courses;
- Options for manager access, like approval of materials or participation;
- Integration of HR systems. assuring easy adaptation of the office, entire monitoring of performance goals and other corporate priorities;
- Get the control and access over team groupings, according to an established criterion, such as geography, membership in a particular project or security permission levels.
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Advantages of a LMS
Like many IT innovations in recent decades did, the Learning Management System is able to add a new level of efficiency to the learning of an organization system, with a number of benefits such as:
- Easy adaptation and reuse of materials over time;
- More options for designers of online courses, such as content formats, instructional design and techniques for the assessment;
- Creation of an economic scale, which makes the development and maintenance of content less costly for companies, since they depend on third parties;
- Improvements in professional development and evaluation, allowing companies to get more value from human resources, empowering individuals with additional tools for self-improvement.
The future of LMS
While still at a relatively early stage, the LMS continues to evolve and adapt to new challenges of learning and technological capabilities, including:
- New uses for E-learning content, ranging up to the arts of marketing communications;
- More intuitive and easy to use learning environments;
- Access to courses through mobile devices like smartphones and tablets;
- Greater integration between collaboration software platforms such as Google Apps and Microsoft Outlook;
- Tighter integration with management software such as ERP and CRM;
- Data storage migration to network-based methods, commonly known as “cloud”;
- Greater integration with talent management software systems;