21 June 2024

What to consider when choosing an LMS

a man in a suit smiling after choosing the right lms.

The right LMS can transform your employee experience and how your organisation grows. We’ve put together the essential guide to choosing the right one for your needs.

For a start, what is an LMS?

A Learning Management System (LMS) is a software application or web-based technology used to plan, implement, and assess a specific learning process.

The key aspects and functions of an LMS can be categorised into six parts:

Content Management

This includes course creation; tools for creating and organising educational content, including multimedia, documents, quizzes, and assignments – and content delivery; efficient distribution of learning materials to students or employees.

User Management

This involves managing the registration and enrolment of users in various courses or training programs, and tracking progress, using monitoring learners’ progress, completion rates, and performance metrics.

Assessment and Evaluation

Learning assessments using and administering tests and exams, then gaining grading and feedback using automated systems and feedback mechanisms to evaluate learner performance.

Communication and Collaboration

This category includes discussion forums for learning: Platforms for discussions, questions, and interaction among learners and instructors. Messaging can include integrated messaging systems for direct communication.

Reporting and Analytics

Progress reports are detailed reports on individual and group progress, performance, and completion rates. Data analytics tools then gain insights into learning patterns and effectiveness.

Customisation and Integration

This is using the ability to customise the LMS to fit the specific needs of the organisation or institution. Integration is the compatibility with other systems and tools, such as HR software, CRM systems, and content authoring tools.

How do you identify your specific learning needs?

Conduct a skills gap analysis 

Evaluate the current skill levels of your employees through surveys, interviews, assessments, and performance reviews. This can determine the skills and knowledge needed to meet current and future organisational goals. Then you can compare, to Identify gaps between the current skills of employees and the skills required.

Consult with stakeholder

First, get input from managers and leaders about the skills and knowledge gaps they observe in their teams. Engage employees through surveys or focus groups to understand their perspectives on learning needs and areas where they feel they need more training.

Review organisational goals and objectives

Match your training needs with the organisation’s strategic goals. For example, if the goal is to expand into new markets, employees may need training in new languages or cultural competencies. Analyse key performance indicators (KPIs) to identify areas where performance is lacking and determine if training can help improve these metrics.

Analyse job requirements 

Review current job descriptions to ensure they accurately reflect the skills and knowledge required for each role. Consider the skills and knowledge required for future roles and responsibilities, especially if the organisation is planning to grow or change direction.

Evaluate past training programs

Assess the effectiveness of previous training programs by reviewing feedback, test scores, and performance improvements. Determine if past training programs are still relevant to current organisational needs or if they need updating.

Use performance appraisals

Use the information from performance appraisals and feed back to identify common areas where employees are underperforming. Then incorporate the learning needs identified in individual development plans into broader training plans.

Monitor industry trends

Use data from your LMS to track course completions, assessment results, and engagement levels to identify learning needs; collect feedback from training sessions to understand which areas employees find most and least valuable.

Prioritise learning needs

Focus on skills and knowledge areas that are most critical to achieving organisational goals. Then address the most immediate and impactful learning needs first to ensure quick wins and build momentum for your training initiatives.

These areas will help in developing a skilled, knowledgeable, and effective workforce capable of meeting organisational goals.

Choosing the correct LMS system

Once you have identified the needs of your organisation’s employees, choosing the right LMS (Learning Management System) is important for the effective delivery and management of training within your organisation. Here are the key areas to focus on:

Ease of use for employee use: The LMS should have an intuitive and user-friendly interface for both learners and administrators. It should also have easy navigation to access courses, track progress, and manage administrative tasks.

Customisation and branding: It should have the ability to customise the look and feel of the LMS to align with your organisation’s branding. It should include flexible course templates, with options to customise course templates and content to suit different learning needs and styles.

Content management: Content upload should be simple; with added support for various content types, including text, video, audio, PDFs, and interactive elements. Content creation tools should be provided, with built-in tools for creating and editing courses and learning materials.

Assessment and testing: This should include tools to create quizzes and exams, tests, and other forms of assessments. Automated grading should feature, allowing instant feedback for learners.

Tracking and reporting: This should include the ability to track learner progress, course completions, and time spent on each activity. Detailed reports should provide learner performance, engagement, and overall training effectiveness.

Integration capabilities: Third-party integration is important for compatibility with other software and tools, such as HR systems, CRM, and video conferencing tools. Single Sign-On (SSO) means integration with existing authentication systems and seamless user access.

Mobile compatibility and responsive design: Ensure the LMS is mobile-friendly and accessible on various devices, including smartphones and tablets. Don’t forget mobile apps: with availability of these for offline learning and better user experience.

Social and collaborative learning: Discussion forums can enable discussion forums, social learning, and peer interactions. Collaborative Tools are ideal for group work, projects, and collaborative learning activities.

Compliance tracking: Features can be put in place to ensure compliance with industry standards and regulatory requirements, with the ability to issue certificates upon course completion and track certification status.

Support and training: Ensure customer support, including live chat, email, and phone support. Make sure there is access to training materials, tutorials, and user guides to help administrators and learners.

Data security and privacy: Ensure the LMS complies with data security standards and provides secure access to information. Concentrate on privacy controls as strong privacy settings protect learner data and maintain confidentiality.

Gamification engagement tools: Features like badges, leaderboards, and rewards have been proven to motivate and engage learners: Incorporation of interactive elements also enhances the learning experience.

Analytics, insights and a concise dashboard: Include tools to analyse learning data and derive actionable insights to improve training programs. Your dashboard should be customisable for quick access to key metrics and performance indicators.

These features are just a guide; some may suit your organisation, some may not. Pick and choose which features you feel will assist your employees with their ongoing learning.

How to evaluate the effectiveness of your LMS

How do you know your LMS is effective? It’s important to ensure it meets your organisation's learning and development goals. Here are some key points to consider when assessing your LMS:

First, define success criteria. Clearly outline the learning objectives you aim to achieve with the LMS. Establish Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) related to user engagement, completion rates, knowledge retention, and application of skills. Then collect user feedback from learners, instructors, and administrators about their experience using the LMS through surveys and questionnaires. Measure overall satisfaction with the platform’s usability, content, and support services.

Analyse completion rates. Track the percentage of learners who complete courses and training programs. Additionally, measure the average time learners take to complete courses compared to expected durations. Gather some engagement metrics. Monitor how often learners log into the LMS and evaluate their participation in discussions, forums, and collaborative activities. Analyse how learners interact with different types of content, such as videos, quizzes, and assignments.

Track learner performances to gauge understanding and retention through quiz and exam scores. Use pre-tests and post-tests to measure knowledge gained from the courses. Evaluate the development of skills and competencies as learners progress through training programs. See if there is any need to Improve performance by assessing the impact of training on job performance and productivity.

And how to check if there is Return on Investment (ROI)? Do a cost-benefit analysis. Compare the costs of using the LMS with traditional training methods. Measure the financial return on investment by analysing improvements in performance, productivity, and cost savings.

Track whether the LMS contributes to higher employee retention rates by analysing if there is a decrease in employee turnover following the implementation of the LMS.

Check the technical performance of the programmes. Evaluate the uptime, speed, and reliability of the LMS. Track the frequency and resolution time of technical problems or support requests.

Ensure there is continuous improvement. Schedule periodic reviews to assess the LMS’s performance and effectiveness. Implement updates and improvements based on feedback and changing needs.


Compare your LMS performance metrics against industry standards and best practices. Benchmark against similar organisations to identify areas for improvement. By systematically evaluating all or some of these aspects, you can determine how well your LMS is meeting your organisation’s learning objectives and where there may be opportunities for improvement.

How do you monitor your learning management system for continuous improvement?

This is essential to ensure the LMS you have invested in remains effective, user-friendly, and meets your organisation’s evolving needs.

You must set clear goals and metrics. Begin by defining clear goals and metrics that match with your organisation’s learning objectives. These could include user engagement rates, course completion rates, assessment scores, and feedback scores. Establish Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to track progress and measure success. Gathering user feedback regularly is very useful. Collect feedback from all LMS users, including learners, instructors, and administrators. Use surveys, interviews, and focus groups to understand their experiences and identify areas for improvement. Pay close attention to suggestions and complaints so that you can address any issues promptly.

Ensure technical performance. Don’t underestimate tech. Regularly check the technical performance of the LMS, including uptime, loading times, and any technical issues reported by users. Work closely with your IT team or LMS provider to resolve technical problems quickly and ensure a smooth experience for the user.

Don’t forget to implement improvements. Based on your evaluations, implement improvements to the LMS. This might include updating content, enhancing user interface design, adding new features, or improving technical infrastructure. Communicate these changes to users and provide training or support as needed.

Encourage a culture of continuous improvement within your organisation - make it clear that feedback is valued, and that the LMS is a dynamic tool that evolves to meet users’ needs. Remember to regularly update stakeholders on improvements and how these will enhance the learning experience.

What are the benefits of a Learning Management System?

Using an LMS has been proven to offer numerous advantages, including:


  • Providing online access to educational materials, allows students and employees to learn from anywhere, at any time.
  • Enables learners to learn at their own pace, benefiting those with busy schedules, independent learning preference, or remote work situations.


  • Centralises all educational materials, making it easy for learners to find what they need when they need it.
  • Simplifies management tasks, with everything in one location, making updates and changes quick and easy.

Tracking and Reporting

  • Offers integral monitoring and insight tools to track progress and report on the overall success of training programs and ROI.
  • Provides a variety of customisable reports that offer practical feedback, insights, and the ability to identify knowledge gaps.


  • Reduces the need for physical classroom space, textbooks, and other materials, saving organisations money.
  • Lowers travel and accommodation expenses for external training.


  • Enhances the learning experience with interactive elements such as quizzes, knowledge checks, discussion boards, and multimedia content.
  • Facilitates collaboration and communication among learners, managers, and instructors, as well as peers, boosting engagement and knowledge retention.


  • Allows for rapid scalability of training programs, from a single course to a full curriculum.
  • Easily adjusts to meet the evolving needs of an organisation.

Continuous Learning

  • Supports ongoing learning, making it easy for learners to stay current with the latest updates, trends, and skills.


  • Enables the creation of custom learning plans tailored to individual learners’ needs.
  • Keeps learners engaged with training that is relevant to them and their roles.

For knowledge and advice on the perfect LMS for your organisation, visit our LMS page.

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Alix King, freelance content writer

Alix King

Alix is a freelance journalist and copywriter. With a love for academics, Alix has studied both journalism and law and has a knack for writing for very different audiences. From humorous articles to white papers, she loves a writing challenge.

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