"What are YOU looking for in an LMS?"
It's the eternal question. What are the exact features and benefits in an LMS that work for both you and your customers? It might be something that helps your Customer Education (CE) team create training faster and more efficiently. Or perhaps an integration point that means you publish the training directly to a customer intranet site. Whatever it is, there's always something more you're looking for in an LMS.
Some CE pros call it the "unicorn" LMS, as the perfect software has yet to be created that meets everyone's needs and is as rare as a unicorn. Let's take a closer look at the list of features you'd love to see in an LMS.
More robust search engine
In the age of on-demand content, searching properly and surfacing results for learners is important. If your LMS search engine isn't efficient, it won't find the results to help learners. Candice Lange, CEdMA member and Sr. Manager of Readiness & Enablement of Services Operations at Adobe, would love to see a 'Netflix'-type of search-engine to display results specific to the search request, and also presents results related to the search terms.
Support learner-generated content
CE pros may use learner suggestions to create new programs and learning paths, but what about learners creating the content? Ideally, they create the content, then upload it to the LMS to be reviewed, edited, and incorporated into a new or existing learning program. Not only would this satisfy learner requests for specific content, it also alleviates the workload on the CE team; they don't do all the heavy lifting of content ideation and creation.
Capture customized data
Today's CE pros need more than the basic name, company, email address, and course information data from their LMS. As you create customized learning paths based on a wider variety of data sets, you need to find that information easily and efficiently. Miki Ishikawa, CEdMA member and Director of Knowledge Services in Product Management at Kinaxis, would like an easier way to create customized data fields in an LMS. This would help CE pros track more data in the system, thereby giving them more options for search, course creation, learning path identification, customer identification, and more. Both CE pros and customers would have a more accurate view of their learning progress and could take appropriate action.
Integrate LMS with other tech systems
Each system at a company has so much information to use and share, but many LMSs do not integrate well with external systems. How can a CE pro find out more about their learners if they are unable to create reports or associate LMS data to other internal systems like HR or business intelligence?
Ideally the LMS allows for easy integration with other systems in one of two ways: Pull data from other systems to then create learning reports and other visualizations in the LMS; OR allow for back-end API connections with external systems so the LMS data can be extracted automatically into other systems like BI solutions.
Play learning content anywhere
At one time contextual help in software products was a novelty, but now it's a given. Based on the interface a user uses, they can click the help button to get appropriate content for that specific interface. CE pros would like the same kind of integration with their LMS, since users are more likely to go through micro-learning when they have an immediate need for it.
Accept different methods of payment for courses
Just like the different types of achievements learners can earn for their training, they can also pay for it in a variety of ways. Some companies use a credit system to allow customers to prepay for training, such as Cisco and Hewlett-Packard Enterprises; but many LMS systems do not allow for users to pay with the credits, preventing learners from registering for valuable training.
Whether you're looking for a way to gather more meaningful data about learners or to offer them content right where they need it, CE pros expect more out of their LMS systems. Many have a number of features and benefits they like, but there's always room for improvement, including ways to create and publish content easily, as well as empowering learners with meaningful content they need in their workday.
We've talked about a few of the features you'd like to see in your ideal LMS. What else would you like to see? Let us know in the comments.