Online training is an excellent opportunity to offer professional courses in a convenient, flexible, and personalized way. Through an online learning platform, training and development companies can create attractive online courses, store training materials in a safe space, market them to a large audience and increase their profits.
Seeing that online training has many benefits and it’s accessible, it doesn’t come as a surprise that about 40% of all Fortune 500 companies use it for training. With so many content providers out there, it’s essential to find a learning solution that is both effective and helps you stand out from the crowd. On top of making your online courses look sharp, meeting client demands is just as important. For example, what many companies want from external training providers is flexibility and a way to demonstrate the ROI of training.
Although learning management systems (LMSs) have been around for a while, it’s good to find a robust option that answers all your needs. In this article, we’ll cover why training and development companies might want to invest in a comprehensive learning platform and the top features to look out for.
Must-have LMS features for training and development companies
Many training and development companies use an LMS because training is increasingly moving online, and clients expect professional courses that engage their employees and bring excellent results. Cloud-hosted LMSs are an affordable way to host and distribute learning materials to a large audience, as well as manage all training activities.
Here are some of the LMS features that are a must-have for training and development providers:
1. Professional-looking portal
Investing a lot of time and resources in developing great content is not enough. Learners expect professional-looking courses that engage them. You need to display custom courses in a way that is both pleasing to the eye and easy to access.
Using an LMS, you can customize all areas of your portal, starting from the main page your clients see when they first reach your site: the catalog, user dashboard, and more. Another great benefit is that you don’t need to be technically savvy to make your portal look good, as you can change the color scheme, add images and write the text yourself.
2. Course creation and templates
Online courses are at the core of your training provider business. Developing high-quality content that positions you as an authority in the field is essential.
Creating a course from scratch is quick and straightforward, especially if using a course template. Using course templates saves time on creating new materials and ensures branding consistency.
Create rich courses by embedding different media types such as images, videos, PDF files, and more. This way, clients are more likely to complete your courses and come back for more.
3. Task automation
Automation is the key to scaling your business and one of the most valuable and important features of an LMS for training and development companies. Not only does automation make learning more flexible and personalized, but it also reduces the time it takes to complete specific tasks.
For example, instead of manually enrolling learners in a course or sending a message to all members of a company, you can automate that task. At the same time, you can use automation to enroll users in a group or course based on their job title.
In short, having automation in your LMS takes a lot of things off your plate, reduces the cost of administrative tasks, and supports learners’ needs.
SCORM is short for Shareable Content Object Reference Model, allowing training providers to transfer their content from one platform to another. SCORM-compliant content makes it easy to follow industry standards. This much-needed feature is supported by most LMS providers, allowing you to create courses once and distribute them across various learning platforms.
One of the first tangible benefits is the flexibility to create and share content. Your LMS allows you to mix different content types for specific learner groups. It also allows you to create SCORM assessments and personalize content for clients.
Content providers can use gamification to create an engaging learning experience. Through this feature, learners are awarded points, badges, or other rewards each time they complete an action. The leaderboard gives a quick overview of their progress and how many points other learners have earned.
Having fun while training is a great plus. When gamification is powered by automation, instructors save a lot of time and can focus their attention on enhancing their content and making sure that clients are happy with their training.
6. Collaboration tools
Training and development companies need a comprehensive set of collaboration tools. When using a training hub with different entities, such as managers, learners, trainers, etc., it’s good to have a reliable communication system.
LMSs integrate all the tools that help you host online training sessions via a web conferencing platform, contact someone via message, create groups for specific interests, or use a forum to discuss training activities.
Collaboration tools save you time and increase learner productivity. Stakeholders can communicate effectively and get insights from the right people.
Training and development companies need an easy way to market their online courses and reach the right audience. Whether you package online courses and learning paths in a bundle, sell digital media or offer subscriptions, it’s crucial to have the right LMS tools.
At the same time, providing multiple payment gateways such as PayPal, Stripe or Authorize.net ensures that companies who prefer specific payment methods can purchase that content.
For clients that need more flexibility, offer discount coupons or sell online courses in bulk. The latter is especially important since companies usually prefer to buy multiple seats at once for their employees.
A learning platform allows you to create a separate portal for each client. This way, you can ensure that clients only see the information you share and that company A can’t interact with company B. In this way, sensitive information is also protected since two separate clients can’t see each other’s catalogs, user lists, or any other important data.
Each member of an organization gets access to a separate catalog and courses that they can access. The separate portal can be customized following their brand guidelines, so it looks and feels like their own website.
9. Reporting tools
Reporting tools are a key LMS feature as it makes all aspects of the business easier to manage. This handy feature gives insights into course completion, enrollments, users, organizations, and group activities. Training and development companies can see how many courses they have sold, learner progress, overall site activity, and more, in order to make better business decisions.
By creating custom reports, you can get more details about the things that interest you and add variables such as assessments, courses, certificates, orders, and organizations. No time-consuming spreadsheets required! You can schedule reports to run weekly, monthly, or even daily.
LMS features for training and development companies
Training and development companies are constantly looking for the best way to scale their business, reach the right audience, and store their professional courses. LMSs help them turn their ideas into reality by taking care of administrative tasks, offering a convenient way to create and store online courses as well as manage different client portals from a centralized location, among many other useful features.
Andreea is a Content Specialist at CYPHER LEARNING. She is passionate about e-learning and helping others make the most out of their online training experience.