20 LMS Features to Look For in 2024

20 LMS Features to Look For in 2024

Choosing the right learning management system (LMS) can feel like looking for a needle in a haystack. Each platform claims to be the best LMS available. They boast more features, better use of AI, and more bells and whistles than any other learning platform on the market. But do you really need all of those LMS features? Which are the ones that are going to add the most value to you as a trainer?

In this article, we look at 20 LMS features that educators find most useful in their training programmes. We even look at how LMS features are used across different sectors.

Top 20 LMS Features

#1 Reporting and Analytics

Being able to track and report on learner enrollment and learner progress is critical to the success of your training initiatives. Reports and analytics help you to visualise the data from your LMS at a glance. They can highlight areas where your training is successful and where it can be improved, for example. This gives you an opportunity to make changes to your courses and training materials as necessary.

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#2 Data tracking

Behind reporting and analytics is an LMS feature that often goes unrecognised. While many trainers find great use in data visualisation, it requires a good deal of data tracking and collection as well. This can include real-time monitoring of course material.

Heat maps, for example, can capture information about where learners are spending a lot of time and where they are simply scrolling. Long pauses can indicate complex concepts that are difficult to understand, while scrolling tends to indicate a lack of interest or learner engagement. The more detailed the data you’re able to gather and track, the more effective your reporting and analytics will become.

#3 Gamification

Learner engagement is key to success in training. The more engaged learners are with your training content, the more they will connect to it. This connection will also not only see learners finding immediate value in your courses but improve knowledge retention as well.

Gamification involves adding fun to the learning experience, often through elements like daily streaks, leaderboards, and challenges. These encourage learners to return to their training on a regular basis and motivate them to keep learning and growing.

#4 Integrations and APIs

You are likely already using a number of different technology solutions. Your learning management system is going to form part of a greater tech stack. However, if the LMS that you choose doesn’t pair well or share information with your existing systems, adoption of the technology is going to become a challenge. This is why it’s important to ensure that the LMS you choose has integrations with your existing solutions, or connects to them through APIs.

#5 Accessibility

You want as many people as possible to be able to access training materials. And they should also be able to access your courses in whatever way is easiest for them. Accessibility covers both areas. Your training should accommodate different learning styles and cater to people with visual or hearing impairments, as well as those with learning difficulties. Learners should also be able to access courses across different devices, both online and offline, to ensure that lessons are available when they need them most.

example of interactive assessments as an lms feature

#6 Interactive Assessments

Interactive assessments can be considered another method of gamification. Quiz software and surveys which test learners’ knowledge help them to engage better with training materials. The interactive nature of these assessments means that learners can get instant feedback, helping them to learn quickly from their mistakes. Learners are also encouraged to keep returning to the training to get better scores or improve their knowledge recall.

#7 Social Learning

Humans are social creatures. We like to share our successes and turn to others for assistance when we’re struggling. Social learning features like community forums, leaderboards, and even integration with platforms like LinkedIn and Facebook, can be an asset to your training initiatives. They help learners engage with content on a deeper level by turning to colleagues, peers and teachers to discuss what they’ve learned.

#8 Security

Security is a primary concern for organisations around the world. With cyberattacks becoming more advanced on a practically daily basis, it’s essential for your LMS to include features for data protection. This will help you to stay compliant with regulations like the EU’s GDPR and Australia’s Privacy Act. It will also help you to protect any intellectual property that your training courses might include.

#9 Content Management

It’s worth noting that there is a big difference between content management and course management. Both are LMS features that can be useful to educators, but they do serve distinct purposes.

Content management is a feature that many learning management systems offer to help you keep track of assets. These could include files, infographics, images, video clips, audio clips and other media types. The right LMS platform will provide you with tools for centralised learning materials. Features like version control and options for tagging and categorising training content will make it easier to find and incorporate into training.

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#10 Course Management

Course management is a feature that helps educators create, track and distribute their training courses. Where content management relates to the uploading, storage and access of files, course and training management involve developing them and incorporating them into a training programme. It helps you to build courses, schedule their release, enrol learners, and manage the communication around training including email announcements and live discussions.

#11 Engaging User Interface

The easier and more intuitive it is to use a platform, the more it’s going to get used. While complex features may add value, they can also be difficult to understand. You want to find a learning management system that offers the best of both worlds. It should be easy to use and access, while still providing the functionality that you need. Ideally, you would want to have advanced LMS features available to those who want to take their learning a step further. This would provide enhanced functionality but still make the platform easily accessible to those who only need the basics.

#12 Learning Paths

No two learners are the same. They will have different skills and knowledge, and they’ll grasp concepts at different rates. This is what makes personalised learning paths a useful LMS feature. It allows you to enrol all of your learners in the same course, but to adjust the learning that they receive according to their results.

Say, for example, that you enrolled your full team in a compliance training course. Most of the learners understand the concepts of the first lesson easily and move on to the next section. However, one learner may struggle because they don’t have a good understanding of GDPR. A customised learning path will adjust that student’s training to include a GDPR introduction course. Others will progress with more in-depth compliance training but may have their own learning paths adjusted as the course continues.

#13 Branding and Customisation

When you’re running training initiatives, it’s important that the courses you create are a good fit for your brand. It’s one matter when you’re using a free course library and aren’t able to customise the content to your needs. However, if one of the learning management system features available is course creation, you want to be able to add your own flair and finish to the end result. This will help learners to associate their courses with your company directly, rather than feeling that they’re accessing generic training materials.

#14 Blended Learning

Accommodating different learning styles is critical to the success of any training programme. While some students prefer self-paced learning, others thrive when engaging with instructors and peers directly. Blended learning helps educators to find a balance between online and in-person training. It can involve learners coming together in a physical space like a classroom or meeting virtually. However, it can also mean providing learners with training material that they can review in their own time when it’s most convenient for them. Blended learning is all about finding the right combination of techniques that accommodates as many learning styles as possible.

example of a digital badge as an lms feature

#15 Certifications

Finishing a training course always comes with a sense of achievement. However, this sense of achievement can be short-lived without any form of accreditation attached to it. When training courses come with certifications, digital badges and other measures of achievement, they can more easily be shared. They also become more valuable, as a certificate of completion for a course can be validated by future employers.

#16 Automation

The less time trainers need to spend on administration, the more time they’ll have to spend on meaningful tasks. Admin is a necessary evil, but it’s one that should take as little time as possible. This is where workflow automation and artificial intelligence in training can be invaluable LMS features. They can simplify the process of course enrollment, allow for effective and consistent communication, and serve as encouragement for students to continue learning.

example of evidence upload for compliance as an lms feature

#17 Compliance

There are numerous regulations that apply to training in different fields. Choosing a learning management system that incorporates compliance into its features makes it easier to follow the letter of the law. You’ll want to find an LMS platform that allows for effective and efficient documentation, and which supports a variety of data entries. Cloud Assess, for example, includes LMS features like logbooks and evidence portfolios, which help companies comply with workforce training regulations.

#18 Alerts and notifications

Another LMS feature that boosts the effectiveness of training programmes is alerts and notifications. These can apply from both an administrative perspective, and for learners as well. And this is another area where automation can be a great asset. You can set up automatic reminders for students after a certain number of days have elapsed without them accessing the learning platform, for example. Or you can set up alerts to notify you when learners complete a course, when a certain action is taken, or when feedback is received.

#19 Offline learning trackers

Having access to online courses is a big advantage for many learners. However, for those without regular internet access, it can be an added challenge to their learning experience. You want to ensure that students are able to learn both online and offline and that their course progress is tracked no matter how or when they are accessing training materials.

#20 User management

User management is about more than just course enrollment. In fact, user management is quite different from learner management. It’s about being able to manage who has access to your LMS, and what information they can view. This is a critical consideration, especially when paired with other LMS features like security and compliance with regulations. Your LMS is likely to contain personal data about your learners, their studies and their course results. It is important to ensure that the learning platform you use also provides you with features for managing who has access to that information.

LMS Buyer’s Guide

How Different LMS Use-Cases Affect Features

As you can already tell, there is a wide range of different LMS features available for trainers to use. Some are universally useful. Effective reporting, analytics and data tracking, for example, are valuable tools for any educator. Ditto personalised learning paths and integration capabilities.

However, different trainers will find some features more valuable than others. This can be dependent on factors like the industry they’re in, the purpose behind their training programme, and the size of their business.

Bearing this in mind, let’s take a quick look at some critical features for different types of training environments.

Small-Businesses

Many start-ups and small businesses only need the basics when it comes to training features. They may not have time for course management and branding. What would be more useful to them is an extensive course library of existing content that they can share with their teams. However, features like gamification, an engaging user interface and social learning will still be valuable assets in helping their learners connect with training material. And for small businesses, automation is especially important. Small teams want to focus their efforts on the business itself as much as possible. Any time they’re able to save on administrative tasks is invaluable.

Enterprises

For bigger businesses, corporations and enterprises, features like branding and customisation are essential. When you’re training large numbers of people, you want to make sure that the learning experience reflects your company culture. With large numbers of learners enrolled in training courses, being able to adjust alerts and notifications is also important. You want to ensure that your workers are progressing through training material, but you also don’t want to have your inbox inundated with messages on an hourly basis. User management, security and compliance are also essential learning management system features for large businesses in particular, since they are processing large amounts of personal data that needs to be protected.

Vocational Education & Training

There are a number of features that simplify training processes for specific roles. Course management is going to be a must-have. Existing content libraries are useful for general training. Being able to create relevant learning materials that cover content for particular industries and roles helps VETs to address specific needs. Since vocational training also often requires the development of practical skills, features like accessibility and offline learning trackers become necessities, rather than nice-to-haves.

example of data tracking as an lms feature

What are Other Important Considerations When Choosing an LMS?

  • Learning Needs: It’s important to think about why having a training programme is necessary, and what you want to achieve. This will guide your decision-making process and help you choose the right LMS for your unique needs.
  • Budget: An LMS can be a substantial investment, and not all platforms are going to fit within your budget. Having an idea of how much you want to spend on training is an important consideration in finding the best learning management systems.
  • Industry: Many LMS providers cater to specific industries. You can find lists of the best LMS for healthcare or corporate training. If you’re in a particular industry with specific needs that need to be catered for, it’s important to conduct thorough research into the LMS platforms your competitors are using and why.
  • Support: Adopting a new technology can be challenging and time-consuming. It’s important to consider the support that you’ll need and to find an LMS that meets that need. Many platforms only provide email support, for example, which can be frustrating if the LMS has a steep learning curve.