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What are the features to look for in an LMS?

Below is a list of certain features and enhancements for learning management systems that should not be taken lightly. While some features may not be important depending on the organization or the higher purpose of the LMS, it is important to consider each feature, what it could be used for, and even if it is not important for the students and employees of today - could it become important as your training program or courses continue to grow and take shape in the ever-changing landscape.

This list is in no way exhaustive of all the features that you will find within an LMS, however, this is a great starting point to get your brain focused on the powerful capabilities of LMS’s and ultimately deciding what aligns with your organization’s, or courses, goal.


Rosters: Prepare class rosters for enrolled students. Unenroll and enroll students through courses based on classes that have already been taken and are next in a sequence.

Registration Control: Logic in place to ensure the proper students are enrolling in a class that is either next in the sequence, or correct in terms of who should be taking what classes, and in what order.

Document Management: A place to store class resources and make available the materials needed in order to successfully take the class with the proper materials.

Multiple Device Access: Learning now takes place on-the-go and in the comfort of home. Gone are the days of sitting in classrooms, and moreover it is important to ensure that students can access their materials for continued learning in whatever setting they may be - when the time is right for them.

An image of someone using multiple devices for training purposes.

Distributed Instructor & Student Base: A way to ensure that not one instructor is loaded with a disproportionate amount of students to teach.

Course Calendars: These calendars are used to lay-out upcoming courses and content to inform students of upcoming classes, enrollment dates, etc.

Student Engagement: A way to report on student engagement to monitor course participation and ensure students are learning the course material as it is being distributed.

Assessments & Testing: Testing features are important within an LMS, not only to ensure the proper instruction and learning of the students, but to provide feedback as necessary to solidify learned concepts and instruction.  

Grading & Scoring: A way to rank students and determine whether or not they are properly learning material and can use skills learned in the future, as necessary, depending on course content.

Automatic Enrollment: Automatic enrollment goes beyond a way to enroll, and instead ensures that students that need to take a class by a certain date, or at a certain time, or in a predefined sequence are automatically placed in the classes as they become available by built-out logic.

Enhanced Security: With sensitive information, such as grades, or personal identifiers - it is always important to ensure that the LMS you choose to adopt has a high level of security so you are not compromising the students or employees information.  

Brand Integration: Most times, LMS’s will be built right into the existing infrastructure of a business or school. That being said, look for an LMS that supports brand integration so there are not multiple logins for students to remember, and everything looks like it belongs within the framework of your existing brand. In most cases, you will be building out all your own courses and training content, so it does not need to be branded by the LMS provider that simply provides the system in which that content is interacted with.

Multi-Lingual Support: If you cater to companies across the world, or to students that do not all have the same first language - multi-lingual support could be increasingly more important for your organization or students.

Data Migration: If you currently have courses, or even and LMS that need to be uploaded into the system, ensure there is a way to use that content moving forward. Whether it is through a data migration team at the LMS provider or through a source of your own. Data migration is definitely important if you have already spent lots of time and resources on creating your own content and want to continue using that content in future iterations of training and courses.

Social Media Support: Looking for an LMS provider that has social media support can be an important feature especially if you are looking to teach content that is not specifically through and organization or school - instead this feature can be used to market your courses, or ensure enrollment of staff and students from various touchpoints and placements for reminders.

Customizable Reporting: While any sort of reporting is a nice feature, it is valuable to find an LMS that allows for customizable reports to ensure that you are able to look at your data from multiple different vantage points.

Gamification: Is there a way for the students and employees to earn points, or badges to signify completion or other achievements? Gamification is another way to ensure engagement and continued effort while moving through courses. Gamification also adds another layer of competition to something that could otherwise be considered boring.

Personalized Learning Paths: Learning paths or sometimes referred to as roadmaps is a way to develop a series of courses that need to be taken within a sequence to ensure the highest level of mastery. These can be extremely important within a work setting to ensure proper training among employees of a certain title. Learning paths are helpful to duplicate training and the same experience for every new employee, or for every newly promoted manager. Whatever the case may be, learning paths are a way to ensure each employee or student is learning the correct content, in the correct order as determined by the instructors or organizations/institutions.

Intuitive User Interface: Technology can sometimes be difficult, and oftentimes there is a disconnect between the way developers create software and users interact with software. With any new adoption of technology, there is sure to be a learning curve - however, it should not take too long or too much training to get the general gist of the software. When sitting through demos, ensure you are able to follow along with the presenter and ask many questions about navigation. If something doesn’t make sense - ask. Once the system is yours and it is your job to teach new users, students, or people not as technologically savvy - it can be frustrating to continue reaching out for help from the LMS provider due to a clunky or out-of-date user interface.

Support Services: Does the LMS provider that you are looking to partner with have support services? While it is not always important to speak with chatbots 24/7, can they be reached by phone? Is it extra for phone support? These are things that need to be looked into. It is vital that you are able to get your questions answered, and problems resolved in a timely manner so looking for the support services offered by your LMS provider is an important feature or addition that should not be overlooked.

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