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Learning Management Systems 2021: Ultimate Guide

Learning Management System (LMS) centralizes learning course content, data, and training materials. As a result, businesses can train employees across the organization with ease. Learning Management Systems are used to manage, deploy and track all online training initiatives. eLearning is training, learning, or education delivered online through a computer or any other digital device. eLearning is essentially part of LMS. Learn what is Learning Management System, how it works and how to choose the right LMS software.

Last updated: Apr 8, 2021

Learning Management Systems 2021: Ultimate Guide

What is Learning Management?

The use of technology to comprehensively create, deliver, measure and most importantly, manage learning, is known as Learning Management.

What is a Learning Management System?

Learning Management Systems enable companies to offer training and educational courses online, which can be centrally managed. A Learning Management System (LMS) is an application that is used by organizations to create, manage, deliver and document learning or training programs. Learning Management Systems have been around for a while, but with the change in technologies, they have evolved.

Another term eLearning is used very often in this context. eLearning is training, learning, or education delivered online through a computer or any other digital device. eLearning is essentially part of LMS.

A Learning Management System centralizes course content, data, and training materials. As a result, businesses can train employees across the organization with ease. The type of Learning Management System often depends on the type of organization and its specific training objectives. But mostly, Learning Management Systems are used to manage, deploy and track all online training initiatives.

What are the Key Benefits of using a Learning Management System?

Consistent Quality of Training

Learning Management Systems enable businesses to deliver training of consistent quality without dependency on the trainer’s skills. Material is designed and managed in a manner that allows any employee to begin their learning, and access courses at their own speed.

Time Efficiency

Traditional training sessions require a great deal of coordination. In an office environment, employees will always have their daily responsibilities and trainers cannot conduct classes a second time for those who have missed a session. Learning Management Systems help businesses ensure that everyone has access to the required training in the most time-efficient way.

Cost Efficiency

Learning Management Systems save costs in the course material, office real estate, and can be scaled up or down without having to hire or fire trainers. This makes it an extremely cost-efficient way to manage training.

Personalized Learning

As each employee can log in to the system at their own pace, Learning Management Systems offer a highly personalized path to training. Many Learning Management Systems also allow the user to choose topics to master first, or to progress to the next level only after they have mastered the previous level. This enables the system to ensure that all employees can learn at their own pace while offering a personalized experience.

We need to bring Learning to People instead of People to Learning


Elliot Masie

Education Technology Expert

Rich Multimedia Support

With Learning Management Systems, you can choose from several different approaches to training and use the most appropriate method for the situation or subject matter. With newer technologies, Learning Management Systems now support various media types, and forms of assessments enabling a richer learning experience.

Data Analysis

Learning Management Systems offer an immeasurable benefit in the data it provides. Managers can receive reports on course completion, performance, time spent on each lesson, and more. This data gives managers a sharper understanding of their employees’ strengths. It also gives them insights on exactly how much value their employees have got out of their training.

Learning on Demand

Learning Management Systems allow for training to take place regardless of where the learner is located at the moment, or when the learner seeks to begin the learning. Learning Management Systems make training modules accessible through devices such as desktops, laptops, smartphones, and tablets. They provide a truly mobile learning experience without geographical limitations.

What are the Key Benefits of using a Learning Management System?

Which industries use the Learning Management System?

In addition to its training capabilities, the Learning Management System offers businesses a repository of learning information, which is accessible across the organization. The ability to access this material anytime and anywhere enables learners who are in jobs that require them to be in the field constantly (likes sales) to learn on the go.

Education, technology companies, manufacturing, automotive and the healthcare industry are typically the industries where Learning Management Systems are deployed. This is because in these industries, being able to offer a high level of training anywhere in the company network is critical to their operational functioning.

According to Docebo, large enterprises, especially those with big technology budgets to provide employees a standard training environment comprise 30% of the global Learning Management System buyers. A key driver of the Learning Management System is attributed to the growth of AI and machine learning (ML) capabilities and the acceptance of Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policies in enterprises.

Who are the users of a Learning Management System?

Regardless of the type of Learning Management System, users are generally from one of two categories. The first categories are the employees or the learners who need the Learning Management System to train. Individual users could be from across the company including internal employees such as sales, customer-facing roles, specialized operators or external roles such as resellers, vendors and even the customers themselves.

Research and Markets states that the primary participants in Learning Management Systems platforms are C-Level executives at 65% and managers at 35%.

The second category is the training material team which uses the platform to create and deliver information. eLearning teams are needed to create learning content that is tailored to the company’s needs.

Why is the Learning Management System Important?

Overcome Costs of Training at Scale

Offering employees training can come at a huge expense of time and money. Yet employee training cannot be stopped as companies grow and new employees are brought in throughout the year. It’s vital to the smooth functioning of the organization despite changes that might be taking place. Learning Management Systems enable businesses to offer ongoing, quality training to employees at scale across geographies.

Ensure Proper Compliance

For many large enterprises, ensuring compliance in critical roles is essential to operations. Some examples are hygiene procedures in hospitals and safety regulations in automobile companies, cybersecurity training in technology companies. Companies need to ensure that everyone involved has gone through the training, and can adapt to their work environment quickly.

Upgrade Employee Skills

To compete, companies today must evolve. This requires adding new skills or learning new technologies, which is not always feasible in a busy work environment. Learning Management Systems allow skill enhancement to be made available to all employees around the year.

Think about what your learners need to do with that information after the course is finished and design around that.


Matthew Guyan

Learning Experience Designer

Improve Customer Engagement

Customer training is sometimes needed to help customers use your products efficiently, reducing dissatisfaction or poor results from products. An example would be the use of healthcare equipment. Technicians need to understand new features and operate equipment with safety and efficiency. Learning Management System can help ensure customers stay satisfied with their products and that they are being used properly.

Key Features of a Learning Management System

Key Features of a Learning Management System

Channel Agnostic

Learning Management Systems offer users access to their courses on various channels and devices using a unique account and internet connection. Users can potentially start a course on their desktop at home, continue it on their smartphones, and finish off on their office laptops, without any loss in continuity.

Course Controls

This feature allows Course Managers to build courses or import material from other formats.

Engagement Tools

Learning Management Systems offer tools such as chat, discussion boards and instant messaging to encourage learning and interaction.

Perhaps not all courses can be taught online, but all courses can benefit from an online presence!


Kelley L Meeusen

Reports and Analytics

Reports and data test scores, courses completed, time taken to complete the course, department results, results by seniority, etc., are offered as standard features in any Learning Management System.

Security Controls

Using unique single sign-ins, Learning Management Systems offer users access only to their course content and nothing else thereby keeping content secure. Other security features may include firewalls, authentication, and password change prompts.


Learners are encouraged to complete the courses using leaderboards, rewards, badges and other points. This feature helps reduce the tedium of training while fostering an environment of regular learning and healthy competition.

Social Tools

Social tools help users interact with other learners and share their experiences. Many Learning Management Systems, therefore, offer integrated social media tools, which encourage a culture of learning and sharing.

AI in Learning Management Systems

Considering how much Artificial Intelligence has impacted our lives, it’s not surprising to know that Artificial Intelligence is also powering learning initiatives in a very real way.

Let’s look at some of the ways in which AI is driving Learning Management Systems.


From tagging content to translating material into multiple languages, to sending alerts for course completion, AI is automating a lot of the manual labor that goes on behind the running of a Learning Management System.

Recommendation Engine

AI can intelligently curate and recommend content relative to what the user is currently learning.


AI ensures personalized experiences for learners by analyzing activity, course completion data, and preferred formats which yield best results. The engine can then offer the most effective customized course based on the employee’s preferences and capabilities.


AI helps make the Learning Management System respond intelligently to user requests. The more AI learns about a learner’s needs, the better its recommendations and responses will become, further driving the Learning Management System to better optimization over time.

Buyer’s Guide: Guide to choosing the Right Learning Management System

Before choosing a Learning Management System it is important to know the technology and critical functionalities to ensure the software matches your training goals.


Before investing in a Learning Management System, consider whether it offers multilingual and geolocation features. This is necessary for large global enterprises that need to offer training to their employees around the world. And many users may perform better in training if the Learning Management System interfaces with them in their native language.


An enterprise Learning Management System needs to be able to integrate with other eLearning software, platforms, and CRM systems. This ensures that information stored within the system can be exported in and out to other systems with ease.

White Labeling

Does the Learning Management System enable your company to brand the content and delivery system? For some, this is essential to ensure a brand voice is maintained.

Open-Source, On-Premise or Cloud

There are open-source LMS available, but it would require some amount of customization and service component before it can be deployed for the enterprise. Though the cost of the LMS itself could be cheaper, they can come with additional overheads. Also, long term maintenance viability and support aspects need to be considered. Odoo, Forma LMS, Moodle are some popular open-source LMS. Open-source LMS are more popular with educational institutions. On-premise LMS is more suited for enterprises that have higher complexity content and higher security specifications. Cloud-based LMS are gaining a lot of traction, as they are easy to adopt, come with lesser overheads and more cost-effective.


Understand if the Learning Management System has the ability to exchange data with other training software and is compliant with standards such as SCORM and Tin-Can.


Check if the Learning Management System can offer extended features using third party scripts and public APIs, so that the system can integrate with new tools as needed.

What are the challenges in adopting a Learning Management System?

Content Integration

Ensuring compliance with SCORM and AICC content and integrating material can be a big challenge. The implementation and content development team will need to be able to troubleshoot integration problems as they occur.

IT Issues

If your company has a limited technology team, then the implementation could be slow. Consider opting for a cloud solution or one that comes with tech support and requires little or no involvement from your IT.

System Performance

Poor response time can be a frustration for many learners, and the Learning Management System needs to be geared to be able to handle more traffic, support multiple web servers, offer redundancies and fail-safes to ensure optimal system performance.

ROI of a Learning Management System

There are several ways the investment into a good Learning Management System can be realized:

Reduced Classroom Costs

Virtual training sessions save a lot of money on facilities, trainer fees, transport, infrastructure and supplies.

Buyer’s Guide: Guide to choosing the Right Learning Management System
Manage Employee Churn

Constant skill improvement can help reduce employee turnover by opening up more career growth opportunities for them.

Onboard Employees Faster

Businesses can optimize their operational efficiency by being able to train and onboard employees at a faster pace. Learning Management Systems enable this by offering access to training material on any device, at any time, anywhere in the world.

Reduced Hardware

Instead of large companies maintaining multiple software systems in-house, Learning Management Systems can centrally manage your content and training information and make it accessible to employees around the globe. In fact, with a cloud-based Learning Management System, even an internal software system is no longer needed.

Which of these 208 Learning Management System software fit your needs?

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208 Learning Management System Software