All About Learning Management Software

Learning management software (otherwise known as learning management systems or LMS) allows companies to train and teach employees from one singular platform using gamification, quizzes, and customized curriculum.

Finding the perfect job candidate isn’t always as easy as one might make it out to be. Each business is unique and you can’t expect every new employee to be able to hit the ground running from day one, especially as jobs become more nuanced. Companies need to empower their workforce to bridge gaps in knowledge, identify what might be missing, and inventory skills in order for each employee and new hire to be brought up to speed.

This is not an easy task. But if you have a hiring process that lacks the skills, you need to figure out how your business can give you the qualified employees you need. From skill development, ongoing education, and training and onboarding, learning management software can help businesses simplify the consistent transfer of skills and critical knowledge to employees.

It’s not only time-consuming but also difficult to decide what kind of learning management software a business needs since almost every HR vendor offers it. This article will take a look at the different types of learning management software available and include case studies for every type of organization to help simplify the buying process.

Good Learning Management Software

LMS systems manage and deliver instructional and educational content and assess and identify organizational and individual training or learning goals. It then tracks an employee’s progress towards meeting these goals and presents and collects data to examine the whole process. Having good learning management software will allow management to incorporate other platforms including ERP software, accounting, or HR to measure the overall cost, effectiveness, and impact of training initiatives.

Skills management and talent management are the driving forces for developing a training system. An LMS will be able to streamline employee training related to company standards, government, or to uphold industry. LMS systems can also report and document learning activities, enable recycling knowledge, and customize training or learning content, combine training goals through self-guided employee services, and automate and centralize learning administration.

You can customize learning management software to suit your company’s needs. Training must span topics that enable the success and growth of every employee and also the business itself. In order to determine which system will work best for your business, there are some necessary programs which need to be identified. Some common topics include sales, computer, or communications skills, leadership, supervisor, and management development, inclusion, diversity, and workplace safety, and compliance and certifications.

Comparing Learning Management Software

It is a very tedious process to compare learning management software. If you’ve seen one software package, you’ve seen all of them. While it may seem tempting to use the dartboard method, it’s unnecessary. While learning management systems appear to be indistinguishable on the outside, they significantly vary from vendor to vendor. You don’t want an average system. The whole point of this article is to help you choose the best learning management software for your company. You do not want the fate of your entire staff to depend on a random dart you threw out into nowhere.

Figure out which features you consider to be non-negotiable for your learning management system. After you have your checklist of requirements, use the following important factors to evaluate each option further.

Suites and Integrations

There’s no easy way to spell it out – standalone learning management systems are going away. Market leaders in HR software are buying out smaller learning management system vendors, plus many LMS vendors now include full talent management suites. When you recognize the overlap between performance systems, payroll, administration, and recruiting, it’s not surprising. Companies typically manage up to 8 payroll and HR systems.

There’s nothing wrong with purchasing a standalone learning management system, but having only one end-to-end HR suite can eliminate paperwork and data entry and combine reporting processes. The unique needs of your business will help you figure out which type of systems to choose. When comparing learning management software, you want a system that will work with the existing


Everyone loves to take a test drive. You should register for a free trial or set up a software demo so you can give each LMS a try. In order to discover things you never knew you wanted or needed or realize that awkward functionality hides behind a fancy interface, you need to experience the software first-hand. Before you sign a contract, try the software out first.

Vendor Specialties

It’s imperative that you consider how familiar a vendor is with the market when choosing your software. Do sales reps mostly cater to smaller businesses or do they care more about enterprise companies? Do you need a vendor with a specialization in your industry? Can your payroll provider be trusted with your learning system?

Instead of posing these questions to vendors, you can use the following information to help you find the answers. Some examples include industry awards or recognition, in-depth use cases, and case studies, and client recommendations and testimonials.

Remember not to turn your vendor search into a popularity contest. There are many niche or lesser-known players which offer a solid user experience and reliable functionality. Be sure that the vendors you choose have a trusted track record, standard integrations, and reliable customer support.

Learning Management Software: The Three Tiers

The main functionalities of all learning management software are very similar, but if you’re looking for additional vendor qualifications and functionality, we have three different tier levels that might interest you.

The first level we’re going to discuss is the enterprise tier. If you’re a large organization, you probably want a learning management system that will work with existing ERP and HR systems. It’s less expensive to own an HCM or HRIS system compared to integrating and implementing systems from separate vendors. With workforces becoming larger, it makes sense for an enterprise organization to have a suite that connects data and standardizes internal processes by incorporating multiple modules.

Be sure that your enterprise LMS vendor offers a complete talent management suite. If your vendor doesn’t offer HR admin functionality, you’ll need a suite that will integrate with an HCM system. In addition, enterprise managers need robust collaboration features that will simplify the sharing of employee data across all departments. Enterprises may also want an LMS system that offers white-labeled or customizable learning portal interfaces.

The next level we’re going to discuss is the mid-market tier. Cloud-based software has allowed medium-sized companies to acquire the same functionality they would receive from an enterprise system without the infrastructure at a reduced cost. These companies also benefit from having quicker integrated solutions and implementations that meet the needs of their talent management. In this particular case, companies should look for a larger vendor that can implement a “one-stop shopping” solution that’s personalized to fit vendors designed for medium-sized businesses as well as mid-market needs. When signing contracts and requesting proposals, mid-market buyers need to be very thorough, as most vendors only offer critical functionality as an add-on or in tiers.

The final level we’re going to discuss is the small business tier. Sixty percent of all firms with less than 100 employees invested in human resources technology software in 2015. Some companies are still relatively new and do not have HR or custom-designed legacy systems that need to be integrated or phased out. They can take full advantage of SaaS and find inexpensive enterprise level functionality like many medium-sized companies have.

LMS systems benefit small businesses exactly the same as they do for medium-sized businesses or enterprises but need more simplistic economical systems. Small companies who have specified talent management needs may wish to adopt an HR system from stand-alone, independent cloud-based vendors. But if a company chooses to do this, they need to be mindful that they will eventually outgrow their tools. When the time comes, be sure you’ll be able to export your data.

Types of Buyers

It’s important to know what kind of buyer you are before you purchase an LMS system. We’ll discuss the two types below:

Education-industry professionals – Universities and schools are the most obvious buyers. The entire purpose of these organizations is to simplify the spread of knowledge. A majority of courses at the K-12 and university levels offer students access to testing information, syllabi, and assignments through a web-based LMS that’s specifically created for education. These types of LMS products can be purchased as core components of many K-12 software packages or by themselves along with applications such as student information systems (aka SISs) and school accounting.

Corporate training professionals

LMS systems are also used prominently in corporate training software, especially in industries that are highly regulated. Those industries need employees to maintain specific licenses or certifications to comply with government or industry standards including food preparation or aviation. A company can purchase LMS software that’s specific to corporate trainers’ needs and include e-commerce or functionality for performance reviews, which is very similar to LMS systems that are designed specifically for use in universities and schools. And, just like LMS systems for schools or universities, the software for corporate industries can be purchased as part of a comprehensive HR suite or by itself.