An affordable, modern LMS has, on average, between 200 and 300 features.
On a long run, your organization is going to use (I’m sure) almost all of the available learning management system features. If you think in terms of a 3 year elearning project for your organization, you will have plenty of time to discover, test and appreciate all of them.
For short-term purposes, some features will be more relevant than others.
This is the Time factor.
You’ll find features that are going to be used in different roles across your organization. A system administrator will use features that the final user will never see, and likewise with the trainer and the community manager.
This is the Role factor.
Finally, you’ll find features that will be used daily, and those that will be used occasionally or even just one time.
This is the Frequency Factor.
All these factors are relevant to achieving your business goals. If you’re struggling to demonstrate a good ROI (return on investment) of your service/software acquisition you should take each into account.
A modern learning management system is built to accomplish different business goals:
- Skills enhancement
- Professional development
- Talent management
- Sales performance improvement
- Employer branding
But “learning” is the lowest common denominator of all these strategic business goals, which is why “learning environment features” are still relevant in an LMS. This becomes even more important after your purchase. An organization should train (and re-train) its own staff on the correct usage of each feature, in order to achieve the highest quality of learning experience the LMS can offer.
In these group of features you will find:
- Search functionality
- Individualized learning path
- Multiple catalogues
- Classroom management
- Built-in authoring tool
- Certificates management
- Test engine
As we are in the era of Learning 3.0, you should also look for social learning and collaborative capabilities. The following features belongs in this group:
Your end users (students) will likely use each of these 20 features starting from the first time they log in to the LMS. This a great area of investment for an organization that wants to get the highest performance from an LMS.
All the roles involved in a training program supported by learning technologies should be trained on the usage of the “Learning Environment.”
Stressing your LMS — that is, using it for any learning activity that occurs within your organization — will help your organization achieve planned (and unexpected) business goals. In the end, it will be a key factor to consider when you will be ready to start calculating the ROI of your LMS investment.