There are a number of different types of Learning Management System (LMS) available and it's easy to get lost in the jargon of features while you're searching for answers. For those of you that like analogies, think of it like a car. The basic purpose and functionality is the same no matter which model you buy, but the design, power and additional benefits vary from model to model, depending on you or your company's needs.
In short, an LMS allows you to access online training in the same way you might log on to a company intranet or web based email system (like Hotmail or Googlemail). Users are allocated a username and password and after logging on you can see which courses you have access to, and in some cases (like the Virtual College Enable system), how far you have progressed through each module.
Why do I need one?
Using e-learning alongside, or instead of, face-to-face training can help to reduce costs and improve productivity. By using an LMS you can easily keep track of how much training a person has completed, perfect for monitoring and audits. Because everything is stored online, it is fast and easy to access a worker's records without having to keep piles of paperwork. Mandatory staff training like Fire Safety and Food Hygiene can be allocated to each member of staff and completed in a couple of hours while work is quiet, rather than sending people out of the office for whole days or more!
Some systems, like Enable, even allow you to upload courses from other providers and create your own specific e-learning modules using common tools like Power Point and Word, before assigning a test to make sure people have completed the task and understood it.
Of course, with the right tools you can do so much more, including online portfolios (where learners can upload examples of their work to complete a course such as videos and images), appraisal tracking systems (allowing progressive appraisals rather than a rushed meeting at the end of the year) and event tracking and internal messaging.
Can I use one company's course in another company's LMS?
Many courses and Learning Management Systems are compatible but it varies from company to company. If you already have courses in place we recommend discussing your needs with the company you are planning on buying the LMS from.
A common term you will hear is SCORM compliant. Generally, if a Learning Management System and an e-learning course are both SCORM compliant, it means progress through the course can be tracked. There are different versions of SCORM and many of the latest systems are compatible with older versions.
Can I put my company branding on an LMS?
Some Learning Management Systems will allow you to brand the portal with your company colours and logos. Here at Virtual College we specialise in working with small and large businesses to deliver bespoke, targeted versions of courses and our LMS, so you can tailor the training experience for staff and users.
Can I buy a licence to use Virtual College courses in my own LMS?
At this time we are unable to supply the raw materials of our own courses for use in external systems, however, we are happy to work with you in developing bespoke materials that you can use and distribute freely.
We hope this information has proven useful. If you have any questions about Virtual College, distance learning or learning management systems, you can call us on 01943 885 089, or email firstname.lastname@example.org