What Is a Learning Management Systems (LMS)? Learning Management System Software

Posted On May 29, 2024

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With the Fourth Industrial Revolution in full swing, integrating technology into learning and professional development has become necessary. As industries embrace advanced automation, artificial intelligence, and digitalization, and education evolves to equip students with the skills in a rapidly changing world, the use, and evolution of learning methods have become indispensable. Such is observed with the emergence of a hosted learning management system (LMS), which is used by many.

Recent data reveals that by 2026, the total estimated value of the e-learning market, including the learning management system industry, will be around $372 billion (Statista, 2020a). This is partly because corporate or enterprise LMS was seen as an effective avenue for implementing training and development (L&D) during the peak of COVID-19. Moreover, these platforms have transformed the way learning is facilitated, allowing for the efficient management of courses, seamless content delivery, and enhanced learner engagement.

In this guide, our team will discuss the top statistics and trends in the learning management system market and provide a list of the best 20 learning management products that schools, universities, and various companies can use to thrive in Industry and Education 4.0.


Learning Management System Statistics (LMSS)

Digital transformation and the rapid advancement of technology have reshaped the education and training landscape, requiring skills to adapt to digital learning environments. Therefore, by examining relevant data on the learning management system industry, online education, and employee training, stakeholders can gain insights into how these platforms can help bridge the digital skills gap.

  • The learning management system software market is expected to grow to $18.26 billion in 2023. It is projected to reach $47.47 billion by 2030 at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 14.6% (Fortune Business Insights, 2023).
  • Only 3.6% of education and training expenditure, or around $227 billion, is used in education technology (ed-tech), like software, hardware, and tech services (HolonIQ, 2021).
  • 88% of learners believe that online learning will continue to be part of both primary and secondary or higher education worldwide (Pearson, 2020).
  • The share of L&D teams that use LMS for employee training in North America rose to 70% in 2020 from 53% in 2019 (Statista, 2020b).
  • 76% of employees are more convinced to stay in a company that provides regular training (Society for Human Resource Management, 2022).

Diving deeper into these data provides better insights into the potential for growth and benefits of using a learning management product. For instance, the pandemic helped reinforce what is LMS for teachers, and the demand for these platforms, as well as student collaboration, productivity, and referencing apps, skyrocketed. Educators worldwide recognized the value and necessity of facilitating blended and personalised learning schedules, creating assessment analyses with ease, and encouraging online collaboration.

Despite low cuts in ed-tech, there is hope that a greater proportion of budgets will be allocated to its improvements, such as investing in a learning management system, to meet the growing demand. Moreover, the importance of learning management system features, such as providing accessible and engaging learning experiences, to enhance employee satisfaction underscores the potential and benefits of an enterprise learning platform in corporate training and retention.


Learning Management System Trends

LMS systems have undergone significant transformations to meet the evolving needs of learners, educators, and organization heads, and this is not only applicable in the academic setting but even in corporate training with the best LMS for small businesses and big corporations alike. Therefore, to better prepare them and guide their decisions, our team rounds up a few significant trends that push the boundaries of LMS even further.

  • Utilizing mobile learning: mLearning is a type of learning management software that features easy access to short lessons, interactive tests and activities, and microlearning on the go. Approximately, there will be 6.89 million smartphone users in 2023 (Statista, 2022). As individuals continue to use this portable technology, learning platforms have also evolved to fit in the palm of a hand.
  • Mixing work and study with play: One of the emerging leadership training approaches is integrating gamification elements, such as badges, points, leaderboards, and rewards, into LMS platforms to enhance engagement and motivation. In fact, 24% of workers cite that gamified modules could help make L&D more impactful (SHRM, 2022). It could also be an educational tool to develop motivation, participation, and intellectual performance (Leon et al., 2021).
  • Crafting personalized learning: Not everyone learns the same way, which is why customizing lessons through adaptive learning technology helps in creating activities that are specifically designed to hone an individual’s knowledge and talents. This helps higher education students to obtain the skills they need quickly and employers to nurture the potential of their workers (Diaz-Infante et al., 2022).
  • Integrating VR and AR: The virtual and augmented reality market values are expected to balloon to $52.05 billion by 2027 (Statista, 2023). Using VR and AR in learning and training can help give dynamic visual representations and experiential experiences that cannot be learned from 2D images. Moreover, despite being an artificial reality, this learning management system trend also helps develop communication skills through presentations and simulated discussions (Meister, 2021).

By embracing these trends, educational institutions and corporate organizations can create engaging and innovative learning experiences that cater to the diverse needs of learners in the digital age. However, these may also pose a few downsides, such as added cost, specific technical requirements, security and privacy issues, internet accessibility, and adapting to the learning curve of using these still-developing features. Therefore, educators, company heads, and other executives must conduct thorough research and weigh carefully the pros and cons as they decide on which learning management system to acquire among the available options, including cloud LMS solutions.


What Is Document Management?

Document management can be defined as the process of storing, locating, updating, sharing and tracking documents. Documents include any written material – a printed or electronic document that contains information for several purposes.

A document archival system of any kind organizes all documents within an organization. In comparison to function-specific workflows such as marketing project management, document management systems add value to the organization as a whole and have the potential to contribute significantly to the bottom line of a small and medium enterprise (SME) or large corporation.

The following case study illustrates the power of a document management system:

Previously, the Canadian Seed Growers Association (CSGA) needed to mail paper forms to seed inspectors throughout Canada, resulting in enormous postage bills and wasted labour. With the help of Laserfiche document management solutions, the CSGA saved $10,000 and 300 labour hours within the first three weeks of its use.

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How to Choose a Learning Management System

A learning management system can help you centralize your internal learning resources and create more flexible learning experiences for your employees, based on their needs. To help you figure out which LMS best fits your needs, you need to pinpoint your key users and document their specific challenges first.

As you work through your own unique LMS software selection process, keep the following points in mind:

  • What problem are you trying to solve: Start by identifying the challenges you're trying to overcome. This will help you clarify the features and functionality the learning management system needs to provide.
  • Who will need to use it: To evaluate cost and requirements, consider who will be using the software and how many licenses you'll need. For a learning management system, you'll likely want access for your entire workforce, with special access for your HR administrators and managers. Once that's clear, it's also useful to rank the needs of your different users to identify the key priorities for your power users, managers, and employees, to ensure they're all met.
  • What other tools it needs to work with: Clarify what tools you're replacing, what tools are staying, and the tools you'll need to integrate with, such as HR management systems, performance management systems, and communication tools like Slack and Microsoft Teams. You'll need to decide if the tools will need to integrate, or if you can replace multiple tools with an all-in-one employee learning & development platform.
  • What outcomes are important: Review the capabilities you want to gain or improve, and how you will be measuring success. For example, you may want to offer learning experiences in more flexible formats, gain stronger tools for progress tracking, or improve your compliance rates for internal training purposes. You could compare LMS features until you’re blue in the face but if you aren’t thinking about the outcomes you want to achieve, you could waste a lot of valuable time.
  • How it would work within your organization: Consider the software selection alongside your existing workflows and systems. Evaluate what's working well, and the areas that are causing issues that need to be addressed.

Remember every business is different — don’t assume that a learning management system will work for your organization just because it's popular.


How Much Do Learning Management Systems Cost?

LMS costs differ depending on various factors such as organization size, feature requirements, customization, deployment type and customer support services.

Here are the factors that typically influence the pricing:

  • Number of users: Many LMS providers charge based on the number of active users or learners. As the number of users grows, your costs will often grow, too.
  • Features: Advanced features such as personalized learning paths, advanced reporting, mobile learning, e-commerce capabilities and others may drive up the cost of an LMS.
  • Customization: Customizing an LMS to align it with your organization’s branding, workflows and integrations may increase the cost.
  • Deployment type: Generally, cloud-based or SaaS LMS are less expensive upfront than self-hosted LMS because they don’t require dedicated hardware. With more users, the long-term costs can increase significantly.
  • Support and training: If you require extensive support, training for your staff or premium support options such as dedicated account managers, the cost of the LMS may increase.

There are free LMS options, though this isn’t common. You can expect to pay a fee per user, typically a few dollars per month. You can usually save money by paying annually, or if you have a large number of users, contacting its sales team can sometimes result in bulk pricing.

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Primary Learning Management System (LMS) use cases

Implementing an LMS varies depending on the organisation, industry, and country. To showcase the versatility of a learning solution, here are a few of the most common use cases for an LMS:


1. Employee onboarding: An LMS will automate the onboarding process in role-specific formats with active engagement through blended and self-guided learning.


2. Compliance training: With an LMS, you can automate compliance training, create custom training programmes in minutes, engage internal experts to co-create course content, and drive completion rates.


3. Sales enablement: You and your team can be empowered to take the sales team to new heights by accelerating the onboarding process, levelling up their performance, and upskilling them in their workflow.


4. Customer training: Using an LMS can assist you and your team in producing customer training in large quantities, avoiding repeating tutorials or one-on-one training and helping customers get the most out of their investments in your products or services.

So, now that we have the purpose of an LMS and some primary use cases in mind, let’s look at some of the best examples.

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Unveiling the Three Major Types of Learning Management Systems

In the dynamic landscape of education technology, Learning Management Systems (LMS) play a pivotal role in facilitating seamless and effective learning experiences. Understanding the nuances of the three major types of LMS can significantly impact the educational landscape for institutions, instructors, and learners alike.


1. Cloud-Based Learning Management Systems: Embracing Accessibility and Flexibility

Cloud-based LMS stands at the forefront of modern educational technology, revolutionizing the traditional approach to learning management. Cloud-based systems leverage the power of the Internet, allowing users to access educational resources and content from any location with an Internet connection. This flexibility caters to remote learners' needs and ensures that educational materials are available 24/7.

One of the key advantages of cloud-based LMS is scalability. Educational institutions can easily scale their infrastructure based on the number of users, ensuring a seamless learning experience even as the user base grows. This scalability is particularly crucial for institutions experiencing dynamic enrollment or training needs shifts.


2. Self-Hosted Learning Management Systems: Empowering Control and Customization

For organizations seeking complete control over their learning environment, self-hosted LMS proves to be an invaluable choice. In a self-hosted setup, the institution or organization hosts the LMS on its servers, enabling a high degree of customization and control over the platform.

The self-hosted LMS model allows institutions to tailor the learning experience to their specific needs. From customizing user interfaces to integrating proprietary tools and features, this type of LMS empowers educational institutions to create a unique and branded online learning presence. Additionally, self-hosted systems often offer enhanced security measures, a critical consideration in the age of digital information.


3. Open-Source Learning Management Systems: Fostering Collaboration and Innovation

Open-source LMS represents a collaborative approach to education technology, fostering a community-driven ecosystem. In an open-source model, the underlying code of the LMS is freely available, allowing developers to modify, enhance, and contribute to its evolution.

Open-source LMS encourages collaboration among educational institutions and developers, leading to continuous innovation. This collaborative spirit ensures that the LMS stays updated with the latest features and security patches. Moreover, the open-source nature promotes a cost-effective solution for institutions looking to implement a robust learning management system without incurring exorbitant licensing fees.


Choosing the Right Learning Management System for Your Needs

Selecting the most suitable LMS for your educational institution involves a careful consideration of your specific requirements, budget constraints, and technological preferences. Cloud-based systems offer unparalleled accessibility, self-hosted solutions provide control and customization, while open-source models foster collaboration and innovation.


Before making a decision, it’s essential to assess the unique needs of your institution or organization. Consider factors such as the scale of operation, the desired level of control, and the potential for collaborative development. By understanding the intricacies of each LMS type, you empower yourself to make an informed decision that aligns with your educational goals.


In conclusion, the landscape of Learning Management Systems is diverse, catering to the varied needs of educational institutions and organizations. Whether opting for the accessibility of cloud-based systems, the control of self-hosted solutions, or the collaborative spirit of open-source platforms, the key lies in selecting the LMS that best aligns with your educational objectives.


What are the advantages of a learning management system?

Using an LMS to conduct training programs can prove to be super beneficial to both learners and training admins in multiple ways. Here are some of the key advantages of an LMS for your organization:

  • Makes the process of conducting training programs less tedious by supporting a variety of course settings that can be used to create multiple courses, define permissions, support different learning styles, and a lot more.
  • Helps training admins include training resources in various formats that learners can easily access and download from anywhere, at any time.
  • Provides clarity to training admins on how different courses are progressing, who have enrolled for the course, who have taken up the tests, who have submitted their assignments, and such similar useful insights.
  • Offers an engaging learning experience to employees by helping them offer feedback, collaborate with fellow learners, and support mobile learning.
  • Provides actionable reports to enhance training programs, allowing admins to easily track course ratings and materials for continuous improvement.


How do I choose the right learning management system?

Here's how you can select the right learning management software consistent with your organization's training needs.

  • Assess the training needs, challenges, and goals of your organization to get a better idea about what to look for in your LMS.
  • Make a list of features you'd want in your LMS based on the training goals you've defined and other must-have features.
  • Request a detailed demo from the LMS vendors you've shortlisted and use a trial for a minimum of 30 days.
  • Once you've finalized your LMS provider, be sure to stay on the same page when it comes to deployment, customization, support, compliance, and all other aspects.
  • Implement the LMS for your entire organization along with a dedicated training session that'll help your employees get familiar with the system.


How does an LMS help different roles?

Here's how an LMS can be beneficial to individuals from different roles in your organization.

  • C-level leaders: In addition to helping C-level leaders bring better alignment between organizational objectives and training initiatives, an LMS also helps them stay on top of skill gaps, training progress, and the like.
  • Managers: Managers can make use of an LMS to suggest and enroll their team members in courses they think would be beneficial to them and also provide necessary training feedback to their team.
  • Employees: With an LMS, employees can level up their skills and competencies on the go while benefiting from flexible learning experiences and personalized learning paths.


Should you adopt a learning management system?  

Here are some compelling reasons why an LMS could be one of your organization's best tech investments.


1. Onboarding training  

Training your new hires is crucial to ensuring they adapt to your company culture and their job responsibilities smoothly. With an LMS, your entire onboarding training can be automated to provide an exceptional onboarding training experience to your new hires. If you want your new hires to learn about your company's vision and mission, you could include a short video about your organization as part of their training program. If mentors want to provide constructive feedback to help new hires get started, they can do so through the LMS itself, too.


2. Compliance training  

Organizations need to remain compliant with certain rules and regulations, and effective compliance training programs will keep employees in the know. You can easily include related learning materials in the LMS so your employees can access them from anywhere. Similarly, you can also conduct online quizzes and tests to ensure your employees are clear on the terms dictated by those laws and grade them accordingly.


3. Diversity, equality, and inclusion (DEI) training  

Training programs that focus on DEI lead to stronger workplace culture, improved teamwork, and greater innovation. As part of your DEI training, you may want to encourage your learners to discuss key topics with their peers, such as common biases and stereotypes. The discussion forums in your LMS can be really helpful in initiating such discussions among learners.


4. Soft skills training  

Soft skill training courses can enable your employees to communicate more effectively and think critically at work. As part of your soft skills training, you may want to conduct assignments and activities. Your learners can submit their assignments through the LMS itself, and if your employees are working remotely, all of the activities can be conducted through the system's video conferencing software.

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