What is a Learning Management System (LMS)?

Brunette smiling woman wearing glasses dressed in white shirt holding hand palm up.

As your organization grows, your people need to grow with you.

Learning is the primary way people grow, and most of us not only love learning but are willing to invest significant time and money to improve our knowledge and skills.

For example, “How To” is one of the top search categories on YouTube. Viewers watch more than one billion learning-related videos every day, according to YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki.

But “learning” isn’t a part of every LMS.

Companies such as Udacity, Udemy, Canvas, Blackboard, and Coursera are now part of a multi-billion dollar industry serving people who will pay for access to quality learning content. Prior to their acquisition by Microsoft, LinkedIn bought Lynda.com (now LinkedIn Learning) for $1.6 billion.

Given these trends, your company’s Learning Management System (LMS) should be an easy-to-use, magical tool designed to help your people grow through access to courses, quizzes, assessments, activities, and knowledge.

But often, the reality is anything but “magical.”

Most Learning Management Systems are little more than Compliance Tracking Systems and overwhelming repositories of poorly organized content. “Learning” and “growth” are not words that most people associate with an LMS.

But, learning and growth go together.

What actually makes an LMS a good tool for learning and growing? The answer is different depending on what role you play in using the LMS. Whether you’re working with a Corporate LMS, an Enterprise LMS, or a State LMS, the basic breakdown looks the same:

Content Creators: want a simple yet powerful way of creating, migrating and getting feedback from learners to make their content more valuable and engaging.

Content Learners: want to learn and know what activities they need to complete, when they need to complete them, and the value of completing those activities.

Administrators: want to easily track and report progress.

Leadership: wants to see a connection between the cost of completing these activities and a return on that investment.

Most Learning Management Systems deliver on the first objective for learners – completing activities – but are far from intuitive or engaging. And that can be a barrier to actual learning. A common response to seeing an email message with a link to the LMS is, “I hate going into that thing! I can never figure out what I’m supposed to do and most of it is just a waste of time!”

What explains this knee-jerk reaction to many of the existing learning management systems? Over-complicated design interfaces, lack of compatibility with other systems, weak integration for migration of content from other platforms, and confusing or restrictive templates—all these factors can make content creation more painful than it needs to be. Designers often lament, “Our LMS actually makes it harder to do my job!”

Cumbersome Learning Management Systems result in liabilities.

Leadership often doesn’t see value beyond tracking compliance for courses that almost everyone dislikes taking (including them) and end up wondering what the point of the investment is.

To make matters worse, most Learning Management Systems fail to meet minimum accessibility standards, making their use a potential legal liability. 508 compliance is a requirement for Learning Management Systems, but even with this requirement, a lot of the top LMS options fall short.

When genuine learning happens, “growth” follows…in more ways than one.

A well-designed LMS should be something people want to use. It should guide everyone to relevant content and activities that help them increase their knowledge, strengthen critical skills, and ultimately deliver greater value to the organization. And the value of that investment should be clear to learners, designers, administrators and leaders alike.

YesLMS is a flexible, modern, cloud-first Learning Management System—and the first in the US with complete universal learning capabilities.

YesLMS was created with universal design in mind every step of the way, making it possible to deliver equal educational opportunities to every learner. YesLMS is the best LMS when it comes to accessibility and ADA compliance.

Ready to move to a Learning Management System where “learning” is more than just the first word?

Contact us for a customized demo to learn how YesLMS can help you.