Technological advancements have made the world a global village, with people and organizations now working across geographical boundaries and time zones. In this new business landscape, all business processes have evolved along with the way companies train their employees. Online learning courses are the new buzzword in employee training. And this also holds true for the education sector with universities, colleges and high schools moving their learning courses online to enable learning anywhere and anytime. The rising penetration of the Internet and easy availability of the smartphones have further built the case for online learning courses or eLearning. Market research firm Global Industry Analysts had predicted a few years back that eLearning would reach $107 billion in 2015, and it did. The firm has now projected that it would grow to $325 Billion by 2025.
In sync with the changing times, more and more companies are taking the online route to their training. Apart from transcending geographical borders and time zones, online courses also provide learners the opportunity to learn at their own pace. Besides, they also provide them access to the information they need at the time when they need it the most to close a sale or successfully complete the task at hand.
So, what is the best way to conduct online learning courses? The answer is through a cloud-based learning management system, popularly known as LMS in corporate circles. As the name suggests, a cloud-based LMS hosts all learning material on the cloud and provides authorized access to learners anywhere, anytime. Besides, it also provides tools for collaboration, making it possible to hold meetings, brainstorm and at the same time, learn in a personalized environment.
Here are some advantages of delivering your online learning courses through a cloud-based LMS.
Learning in a Personalized Environment: By hosting your online learning courses on a cloud-based LMS, you can provide your learners a personalized environment, complete with interaction and collaboration with or without the support of an instructor. Further, video conversations can also be facilitated between learners and an external trainer through apps such as WebEx and Skype.
Learning at One’s Own Pace: Learners can rewind a particular topic in case they have not understood a concept and then move on to further modules. They can also learn when they want, from the comfort of their own homes or while on the move.
Team Learning: A cloud-based LMS also empowers companies to enroll a number of learners to a single course, making team learning possible. Besides, they can also add or remove learners.
Creating Online-Learning Communities: The LMS allows educators to create cost-effective and collaborative online communities and scale up to accommodate a larger user base.
Effective Monitoring and Follow-Up: Most LMS also incorporate features that allow training managers and administrators to track each learner effectively and also provide feedback for improved learning outcomes. Besides, they can also generate course completion reports.
Open Source: While there are several LMS packages available, it is a good idea to choose a Moodle-based LMS, which is an open source LMS, implying that it can be freely downloaded and distributed. This type of LMS is supported by a global community of educators and professionals who are extremely passionate about improving the online learning experience it provides. This means that they constantly scrutinize and update the code for better user experience. Within the Moodle communities, you can find the answer to all your questions.
Low Cost: A majority of users of the software have testified high satisfaction rates because of the low costs involved in the implementation of a cloud-based LMS and the ease of use it provides.
If you are planning to host your online learning courses on an LMS, make sure that it includes the following features, no matter what your business goals are. Here is a list of 10 must have LMS features for your business.
- User-friendly Interface: It is very important for an LMS to have a user-friendly interface with self-descriptive navigation features. The last thing that you need is to invest time, resources and money in studying how to use an LMS before you can put it to use to supplement your training and learning needs.
- Ease of Integration: The LMS you choose should be able to integrate with your various business functions within the enterprise such are human resource management, compliance, talent management, workflow management, customer relationship management, payment processing to name a few. Besides, it should also have features to share data across all geographies.
- Content Management: The LMS should be able to support all latest eLearning standards such as SCORM and Tin Can/xAPI. Besides, it should enable you to upload existing documents and videos, and also share materials and events between courses or learning paths.
- Ease of Access: The LMS should have a responsive design, which means that the content should be able to adjust to different screen sizes, be it a mobile device or tablet. Also, with more and more people using their smartphones, it is important to ensure that the LMS supports mobile learning, implying that the content should be interactive and delivered in short segments. Besides, it has generally been observed that users also want more social engagement so the LMS should have features that enable communication through discussion boards.
- Blended Learning Features: Besides providing online features, the LMS should also be able to support offline learning, which means that it should include features for tracking, recording and assessing offline events along with online ones.
- Assessment and Testing: The LMS should be able to support pre-tests and post-tests as part of the learning process. Besides, it should have other flexible testing and assessment features, for example, automatic and manual marking, storing a learner’s complete assessment portfolio etc.
- Reporting and Tracking: Apart from assessment and testing, the LMS should also include features to track and record learners’ progress through a learning path. Besides, it should be able to analyse exam performance, and record which learners have completed the particular learning items and which ones have not. In case of e-commerce, it should be able to track purchase, revenues and performance of marketing initiatives etc.
- Security: The importance of security of data cannot be underestimated. An LMS doesn’t just include records and personal data of learners but also content that is proprietary in nature or is of commercial value. Make sure that the LMS has a secure sign-in feature and also understand how it protects sensitive data, where that data is hosted, and what is the delivery method: cloud-based or on-premise. Also understand how access can be provided, controlled or restricted so that data integrity is maintained at all times.
- e-Commerce Functionality: In case you wish to generate further revenues from selling your courses, you must ensure that your LMS offers an e-commerce functionality, complete with tracking and reporting features to allow you to track purchases and generate revenue reports. Besides, it should also incorporate secure payment gateway integration to allow customers to make their purchases through credit cards or Paypal etc.
- Client Support: Make sure that your LMS provider provides ongoing customer support free of charge so that in case any issue arises, you can contact them for resolution.
If you are looking for an LMS which meet the above criteria and more to host your online learning courses, you can safely consider HurixDigital’s Learning Management System that is cloud-hosted, Moodle-based LMS, which comes with customizable features and support services.