The traditional Learning Management System (LMS) has undergone massive changes and face-lifts to evolve into an innovative and modern system capable not only of delivery training but also of doing it in an engaging, (cost) effective and easy way to achieve the desired learning and business impact. So, what can users expect from a modern LMS? What are today’s LMS’ X-factors? What about learning ROI? We explore this and more in detail below.

LMS X-Factors

Technological innovations have revolutionized almost every industry on the planet, and the learning technology space is not far behind. Where modern technologies like automation and Artificial Intelligence (AI) are disrupting today’s workplaces, the same technologies (and more) are helping today’s workforce reskill/ upskill on-the-job and become future-proof. And, an innovative LMS is an indispensable part of this transformation.

  • Artificial Intelligence

    Artificial Intelligence (AI) continues to be one of the buzzwords ringing non-stop across the learn-tech industry for the past few years. A key tool in providing learning relevance, recommended learning and in-demand topics to enterprise learning, an LMS AI continuously learns, determines and establishes learning pathways to offer personalized learning suited to the unique needs of the modern learner. A modern AI-powered LMS can not only help meet learners’ unique needs, but also do it engagingly and effectively through continuous data-gathering to offer customized learning. On the backend of such an LMS is an AI-powered recommendation engine that enables enriched and smart learning journeys, where relevant content is suggested to the learners automatically by constantly gathering intelligence from learner behaviors, skill-sets and information pieces to produce a rich pool of related content and deep search results.

  • Business Intelligence

    Data is at the heart of any algorithm, be it AI or automation, and making sense of the vast amount of data collected from learners’ progress, learning patterns, course completions, and more, in a structured and organized manner is at the heart of learning analytics. Big data or raw data is not of much help to L&D professionals, what is needed is filtering and analysis of that data to draw insights. Business intelligence and insights into the effectiveness of the training programs along with reporting is as crucial as designing and delivering training itself. An LMS with built-in reporting and analytics goes a long way in understanding learner behavior, learning patterns as well as gives critical insights into the effectiveness of learning experiences, helping organizations improve the overall quality of the training programs to achieve better learning outcomes.

  • LXP

    Although the LMS is still business critical in terms of providing proven and tested learning delivery mechanisms, the LXP offers a new ‘experience’ for the modern learners that expect simple, efficient and engaging learning environments. Learner-centric design, great UI/UX, and a mobile-first approach are just few of the advantages of an LXP. An LXP makes it much easier for learners to navigate (like Netflix, YouTube etc.) and gives them options to search topics, videos and other content, while also enabling them to pick and choose from most popular topics taken by colleagues for a customized learning experience. LXPs make for great collaborative and social learning platforms by enabling learners to share popular content, quality learning materials like courses, videos, or even discussions. Using an LXP, learners can make the existing content more actionable by sharing information, thus fostering collaboration and boosting team work and performance. LXPs have earned an important place in the constantly evolving learning technology solutions space and organizations can certainly look at an LXP to resolve long-standing and pressing problems like lack of engagement, underutilized content and ineffective search capabilities.

  • API

    APIs and integrations are key ingredients in achieving LMS’ effectiveness. While features like automation, AI, analytics etc. are great, APIs and integrations affect the entire learning journey, right from user login to diverse applications and systems. APIs helps share data securely across the extended enterprise by facilitating the flow of information between applications, thus automating workflows and processes. An LMS with ready APIs and integrations will give you more bang for your buck, while reducing the manual efforts, by seamlessly integrating with a diverse apps, tools and systems, including but not limited to, salesforce, GoToMeeting, PayPal, Azure and more.

LMS and Business Impact

As global organizations increasingly embrace technology-led learning solutions, the global LMS and eLearning market is set to reach $15.72 billion by 2021, which will further balloon to $19.05 billion by 2022  and predicted to reach $22.4 billion by 2023. These stats are only evidence of the fact that billions of dollars are being invested in the learning and development of the workforce the world over, which brings us to results and ROI.  

When speaking about investments, it’s natural to steer the conversation to L&D as it is one of the major investment centers for businesses today. An LMS, with its ability to reach learners anytime, anywhere, on any device, while offering continuous learning and development, motivation, engagement, and more, is the ‘go-to tool’ for managing small to large scale L&D interventions. So it’s clear that organizational leaders understand the need to invest in a learning platform. But, what needs some additional understanding, or rather uncovering, is how can businesses invest their dollars into the right LMS to maximize the ROI.

L&D Head of Zydus Group, Anil Nair, sheds some light on this very topic, “ROI has got multiple definitions. In some of the organizations or some interventions, you would want to measure whether the cost has come down, in some you would want to measure if the productivity has increased. If you are doing some kind of a session for a new product launch you would want to find out whether it was established from a certain point of time. I would like to say it’s more like ammunition in the bullet, keep shooting. Even if the ROI comes post training we can’t say that that is completely attributed to their training, can we? None of the organizations believe in it. BUT without the training can it happen? I would say NO. It becomes an important facilitator.”

An LMS that is business-focused, has a fantastic UI/UX, with multi-lingual support and advanced integration functionalities, delivers learning content in an engaging and timely manner, and can track and analyze employees’ learning behavior as well as give valuable insights on improving the learning experience, can be a truly prized possession. A great LMS not only reduces training costs, but also ensures that you get the maximum out of your investment, and further drive your business ROI.

Anil Nair adds, “ROI has got multiple parameters. You need to rate training as one of the important tools. I write on a drawing board about what are the various things which would improve ROI and then if you feel that there is a necessity of training in that checklist, you must include training. So then it becomes relatively easier when you want to measure an ROI.”

An organization investing in employee L&D will undoubtedly expect a return in terms of business enhancement as a primary expectation. And, while figuring out the ROI of learning is one of the most elusive challenges, there are many surefire ways to understand the business impact. An organization will only invest its resources in something that can eventually either add to its top line or bottom line, directly or indirectly.

Take Away

Needless to say, an LMS plays a critical role in an organization. An effective and state-of-the-art LMS not only helps enterprises plan, design and deliver online training to its employees, but also increases learner engagement and productivity by leveraging AI algorithms and business intelligence to draw insights from learners’ interaction with the material and helping L&D professionals continually improve the training programs.

Some of today’s most innovative LMSes have capabilities that go well beyond the core functionalities that help make learning more intuitive, engaging, social and eventually more effective. But, despite of the many incredible benefits an LMS offers, to consistently get the most out of an LMS, L&D professionals must know the full potential of their system and create an action plan to unlock it.

Our comprehensive LMS Essentials Toolkit will help you understand the importance of an innovative LMS, how L&D leaders rate an LMS against their learning and business objectives, as well as draw insights from leading global organizations leveraging an LMS to boost their training and development initiatives.