Workplace learning and training programs have come a long way since the cubicle was a new thing. The transfer of knowledge now happens inside and outside of office walls. Employees learn new things from professional trainers in face-to-face courses, from professional instructional designers in online courses, from their managers, and also from each other.

Traditional learning management systems are being replaced with their modern successors: cloud-based LMSs. It’s no wonder, really, since the only way to reach success is to keep up with technology nowadays.

A cloud-based LMS offer a comprehensive set of benefits over a traditional one. Read on to find more about nine of them:

1. Minimal initial costs

Cloud-based LMSs don’t require the purchase of any software or hardware, so the sign-up process is quite straightforward. You create an account, log in, and immediately start designing courses for training. Depending on how elaborate you need these courses to be, you can present them to your learners by the next day, or next month. You don’t need to oversee the installation process at all; not on your computer, not on any computer in your organization.

Since the initial investment in a cloud-based LMS is usually the first monthly fee (after the free trial, of course), small and medium sized businesses have a better chance of getting one for the support of their employees’ learning and development. What’s more, even independent workers or freelancers can make use of a cloud-based LMS. It is especially important, if they want to sell their courses later.

2. Cost transparency and planning

Speaking of money spent on an LMS, it’s easy for managers to plan their training budget when very few to no hidden costs arise after the purchase. The monthly fee covers the details of the selected package, and any package upgrade or downgrade is totally controlled by the customer — not the vendor.

3. Customization heaven

People spend a tremendous amount of time online and are the most sophisticated users ever. They expect the best user experience from everything on the web. It’s no longer enough to be able to choose between three or four pre-defined color schemes for your business LMS. The color wheel is way bigger than that. And your brand logo and colors contribute to the perception of employees of the whole identity of their organization.

Besides personalized color schemes, cloud-based LMS allow for customization of fonts, shortcuts, URLs, terminology (for instance, replacing all occurrences of student with learner) and any other aspect that can be fixed with a custom CSS or JavaScript file.

4. Simple maintenance

Once the courses are set and the learners do their learning, you don’t need to worry about any program glitches or system failure. The LMS vendor usually has a professional team of IT staff who know their learning management system like the back of their hands. They can jump to and fix any operational issue in no time. They will also take care of system upgrades, as they always work to improve their product.

For simpler technical issues, a support team of the vendor should make sure to guide all your steps until a solution is reached.

So, maintaining a cloud-based LMS is as hassle-free as it sounds.

5. 24/7 accessibility

Remember your sophisticated users? Part of their expectations is to be able to access learning materials any time, anywhere, on any device. Smartphones and tablets are taking over the workplace, and employees demand instant support in performing their tasks. No matter where they are — in the office, at the airport, in a cafe — a cloud-based LMS makes it easy for them to access training courses and find the answers they need pronto.

Although it’s getting hard to imagine a world without the internet, sometimes we’re just stuck with a bad connection. This is where the native app of the LMS saves the day, so online training can really be available any time, anywhere.

6. Plenty of storage space

The cloud is infinite; it doesn’t have to obey any physical boundary. That’s why it can gather and store a huge amount of data on the learning activity of each user.

Since all data is stored in the cloud instead on personal computers, human error can rarely affect it. Corrupted hard drives? They can’t corrupt the data in the cloud. Accidentally deleted files? The cloud is so big, it has plenty of space to store the deleted files. Some LMSs keep the deleted files for 30 days to give owner time to reconsider their actions.

Only the sky is the limit for storing learning materials within a cloud-based LMS.

7. Safe data

Even though the cloud may not seem like a down-to-earth option for data security, you can rest assured your sensitive company data will be safe. In fact, a cloud-based LMS is probably your safest option.

LMS vendors adopt a series of safety measures against cyber villains, from data encryption and password protection based on level of access, to SSL, which ensures any sensitive data — like what PayPal requires — is only seen and managed by only those who need to.

What’s more, the system automatically tracks data on any suspicious activity, which makes it easy to identify any data breach before it gets serious.

8. Powerful analytics and reporting

As I mentioned before, a cloud-based LMS can store a hell of a lot of data on the learning activities of each of its users — and it stores it safely. Not only does the system register data, but it also sorts it and delivers it in comprehensive — and sometime eye-catchy — reports.

Therefore, it’s easy to generate updated reports on any kind of data you’re interested in: course status, course completion, module progress, missing work, assessment grades, and so on.

Finding meaning in all this data means you’re a step closer to delivering personalized learning experiences to all your employees.

9. Scalability

Whether you start with 15 users and grow to 70, or you start with 500 users and grow to 25,000, only a cloud-based LMS can meet the growing demands of your organization, without any problem.

The only cost that will grow will be the one on your monthly package. Other than that, you can expect no extra software, or upgrade fees. The cloud can handle any growth.

And those were the top benefits for choosing a cloud-based LMS for businesses.

I know this list is not exhaustive, so I invite you to share your opinions on what other advantages of cloud-based LMSs might be added to it. The comments section awaits your input!

Author: Livia M

Livia is the main online voice of MATRIX by CYPHER LEARNING. She writes about workplace learning and L&D strategies for businesses, as well as other training and e-learning related subjects.