Want to build a custom learning management system (LMS)? In this article, we talk about what an LMS is, how it works, and what the main types of LMSs are. We also list key features that are important to build a successful learning management system.

What is an LMS?

A learning management system, or LMS, is a web-based system that automates the learning process for employees, students, and other users. With a learning management system, you can gather all your learning materials in one place and make them available to all learners in just one click. You can even create different groups of learners according to their functions or job positions.

In an LMS, you can assign learners a single course, a test, or a whole series of materials called a learning path. You can then easily track each learner’s progress to encourage the leaders and help the team to develop faster. Today we’ll talk about how to create your own learning management system.

A wide range of organizations from high schools to corporations can benefit from using a learning management system to reduce expenses for things like:

  • Classroom rentals
  • Transport and accommodation
  • Instructors’ salaries
  • Printouts of learning materials

The right LMS helps you save time, set unified learning standards, and regularly assess and develop employees’ knowledge.

Types of learning management systems

cloud training software

There are many different types of learning management systems. You should conduct research and decide what type of LMS you want to develop. Here are the main types:

  • Internal corporate LMS
  • Internal school/university LMS
  • LMS software as a service

Each type of learning management system has different features and different business analysis processes.

Internal corporate LMS

Some companies choose a custom LMS for internal use. For the most part, the reason is that many SaaS learning management systems have limits on customization. If you plan to use an LMS for teaching your employees unique processes, finding a system that can cover those processes may be hard. Additionally, when it comes to security, a custom learning management system is generally better than a third-party solution.

On the other hand, if your company doesn’t require unique processes and your learning materials don’t include any confidential data, it might be best to opt for a SaaS LMS, as it will be cheaper and easier to implement.

Internal school/university LMS

Schools and universities don’t need their own custom LMSs. These institutions usually don’t use private information in learning materials, and customization isn’t that important for them. For schools and colleges, the cost of building a custom learning management system can be too high.

However, times are changing. With quarantine, servers of SaaS learning management systems like Google Classroom are heavily loaded. It might be time for some changes, and maybe big institutions will consider investing in developing their own LMSs.

LMS software as a service

If you want to build a learning management system that you can offer as a service to businesses or schools, you should choose a niche. The market is full of great LMS solutions, and you’ll need to stand out from the crowd. It’s very important to create your own LMS with a unique value proposition.

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Basic features of a learning management system

When building an LMS, you should research what features you need to build. Below are learning management system key features.

Course builder

building a learning platform
This feature is considered the core of a learning management system. It allows users to create courses for training within a company or school.A course builder has to be able to build courses around various topics and create quizzes to test learners.

Content management

Content is essential for a website or application, and it’s also quite important for a customizable learning management system. When building your own LMS, note that the content management feature is responsible for content that will be used for training employees.

Skills assessment and testing

A learning management system should be equipped with a tool to manage and measure skills that users acquire. Assessing skills is very important, as it helps you see whether training is effective. Assessing skills can take the form of quizzes, tests, and assignments.

Progress tracking

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A quality learning management system should allow you to track learners’ progress. It should show the number of quizzes learners have taken, how long it takes them to complete those quizzes, and the number of tasks learners have completed.
This feature includes the following:

  • Achievements. Track the learner’s progress with achievement rewards.
  • Statistics. Track users’ progress by analyzing statistics.
  • Surveys. Create surveys to find out what your users think about the learning management system.

Social structure

When building a customized learning management system, you should focus on making the learning process easy for users. You can achieve this goal by giving users a community where they can share their experience. Consider adding a live chat or a forum where users can discuss things and get quick answers to their questions. This can make communication and information sharing easier for people within your company.

Group creation

No matter if they consist of school classes or teams of new employees, groups are an essential part of a learning management system. A group creation feature helps teachers organize course materials and distribute them to learners. Learners can also use groups to communicate among themselves, collaborate, and help each other.

Calendar

smart learning management system
A calendar lets you set deadlines for learners. This feature is quite important if a group needs to study at a set schedule. A calendar feature can even be useful for individual learning — for example, to track progress and the speed at which a user learns.

Library

A library organizes content that can be reused for different courses It can also store supplemental content that might be helpful for students. The library in a learning management system should be able to support different kinds of content like text documents, PDFs, and audio and video files. Don’t forget to implement a filtering system for fast search.

Mobile support

Usually, learning management systems are created for web use. But consider making your LMS accessible on all kinds of devices to provide users with access to your LMS throughout the day. Lots of people prefer to use their mobile devices over computers. Mobile support also provides learners with the flexibility to take courses when it’s most convenient for them.

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Notifications

A learning management system should provide real-time updates on lessons and exams.
An LMS can send notifications in the form of:

  • Simple text messages
  • Images
  • Action buttons

Security

Never overlook the security of your learning management system. When developing an LMS, make sure that only authorized people can edit or remove courses. Security measures can prevent you from losing business data and exposing users’ private information.

How to create a learning management system

Let’s find out how to build a learning platform.

Create an LMS project plan

A successful learning management system should be based on a well-structured project plan. Here’s how to create LMS project plan.
Start making a plan by asking these basic questions:

  • Why am I creating an LMS?
  • What problems is my company or organization facing and how will a learning management system solve them?
  • Who will build the LMS?
  • Who will implement the LMS?
  • How much do I plan to invest in LMS development?

There are more questions to consider when developing a project plan, but these are the most important ones that can give you an idea of where to start.

Choose the core features of your LMS

Make a list of valuable features for your learning management system. Don’t forget to research the market to find out what features your target audience will need.

Note that the market is full of great solutions, and to stand out, you’ll need to come up with a unique value proposition.

Hire an LMS development company

To help you build your learning management system, hire a professional LMS development company. The first phase of development will include business analysis, developing a technical specification, estimating the development cost, and planning the project. Before diving into the actual development, you and your team should create an app development workflow, choose the main features for the app, and design the app concept.

Build an MVP for your LMS

Start by creating a minimum viable product (MVP) of your learning management system. By first launching an MVP and testing its technical and business performance, you’ll be able to find out what users like and don’t like in your app. Then you’ll be able to consider their feedback and improve your app.

Top 4 learning management systems in 2020

Here’re top 4 best LMS websites in 2020:

Looop

evolution of learning management systems
Loop’s goal is to put learners first and provide access to learning materials whenever it’s convenient for the user. The system is partly customizable, as you can add a custom logo and content. Loop has a data analytics feature that provides you with instant insights into the courses you present and allows you to receive direct feedback from learners on the effectiveness of your learning programs. Loop also has tools that help you create good content, assessments, and schedules.
Plans: $299/month for 50 users, $699/month for 250 users, $1,199/month for 500 users

Learn Amp

learning management system statistics
Learn Amp is a learning management system that provides learners with access to AI-driven recommendations. This can help you give your trainees the most relevant information. Learn Amp users can add and share web content through learning pathways. You can even track the efficiency of courses by analyzing important KPIs like engagement, retention, and skills. Learn Amp has access to an expertly curated library, supports social learning, and is SCORM (Sharable Content Object Reference Model) compliant.
Pricing: $5/month per user for 100 to 500 users and $4/month per user for 500 to 1000 users

TalentLMS

create your own learning management system
TalentLMS is a cloud-based learning management system whose goal is to enhance online learning and training. It provides users with analytics and can be customized to meet their needs. TalentLMS can be accessed from both iOS and Android devices, is content-friendly, and provides users with SCORM and Tin Can (xApi) compliance, assessment engines, survey engines, learning paths, and a file repository.
Pricing: Free for 5 users, $29/month for up to 25 users, $99/month for up to 100 users, $199/month for up to 500 users, and $349/month for up to 1000 users

Google Classroom

build an online learning platform
Google Classroom seamlessly integrates with Google services like Gmail, Drive, Docs, and YouTube. The system is completely free for individuals and for schools that use G Suite for Education.

But it also has its downsides. For example, Google Classroom doesn’t have accounts for parents to keep track of their kids’ performance. And it doesn’t provide integration with Hangouts, which means no internal communication. As a form of communication, users usually set up groups in external messengers like Remind: School Communication, Skype, or Facebook Messenger.

LMS monetization

Learning management systems usually adopt a paid monetization model. This is a perfect option because it avoids interrupting users’ studies with annoying ads. You have two main options for monetizing a learning management system:

  • Paid software with a trial period. Paid learning management systems are widespread. But such LMSs face strong competition from free and freemium options like Google Classroom. To succeed with a paid model, you’ll need to build a professional LMS with high-quality features and a compelling value proposition.
  • Freemium model. With this model, users can download your app for free. They can then pay to upgrade their account or use premium features. Extra features can be very useful, but they’re not part of the core functionality.

Quick summary of developing a custom learning management system

Developing a custom learning management system is a long and hard process. But if done correctly, your LMS can become successful and bring a lot of value to you as a business owner.
Key takeaways:

  • A well-developed LMS can help you save time, set unified learning standards, and regularly assess and develop employees’ knowledge.
  • Learning management systems usually use a paid or freemium monetization model.
  • The market is full of great solutions, and you’ll need to stand out from the crowd. It’s important to create your own unique value proposition.

If you want to create a custom learning management system but don’t know where to start, feel free to contact Mobindustry for a consultation.

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