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What makes a good learning management system?

HR leaders should ensure their new LMS includes certain features so it benefits employees, managers and HR staff. Learn what makes a good learning management system.

A learning management system can help HR leaders train employees, measure training results and ensure employees complete required compliance training. When selecting an LMS for their company, HR and other leaders should ensure the system includes certain features to maximize success.

Some features are provided by most or all vendors, but others are only offered by a select few. The LMS selection team should make sure they understand the company's needs and have compiled a list of requirements for an LMS before meeting with vendors.

Learn more here about what makes a good learning management system and features HR leaders should look for when selecting one.

Why use a learning management system?

An LMS can benefit HR leaders and company employees in various ways. It enables the HR team to help employees learn new skills and grow professionally. In addition, an LMS offers course assignment tracking, which can improve HR reporting.

An LMS can benefit employees as well. It provides employees with training opportunities, and employees can show commitment to their personal growth by completing LMS courses, which could lead to salary increases and improved career opportunities.

11 key features of an LMS

HR leaders and others selecting a company LMS should ensure their new LMS includes some of these important features.

User data tracking

User data tracking is an important feature because it enables the HR team, employees and managers to track course assignments and completions.

HR may find it particularly helpful for tracking completion of required compliance courses.

Personalization capabilities

Personalization capabilities enable employees to customize their display, with potential capabilities including modifying the homepage display and saving course searches.

These capabilities can improve employee experience, which may lead to employees using the LMS more.

Instructor-led training courses

An LMS should enable trainers to schedule live courses within the system and track the course dates and times. If the training has a remote option, the LMS should also enable a trainer to insert the URL for joining the course. The course details and the course schedule should be kept separate in the system if possible so the trainer doesn't have to modify the course each time the date and time are changed.

Employees should be able to search for a particular course in the LMS and see when the course is being offered.

E-learning courses

LMSes can typically house e-learning courses, which enable employees to take courses on demand and can include content, quizzes and tests.

Before purchasing an LMS, HR leaders should confirm that their potential LMS supports the format of the courses they would like employees to take. One course format example is the Shareable Content Object Reference Model (SCORM) format.

Reporting and dashboards

HR leaders should examine an LMS' reporting and dashboard capabilities before purchasing because reporting capabilities and dashboards can benefit the company in a variety of ways. Reporting and dashboards enable employees, managers and the HR team to easily track course assignments and completions.

Reporting and dashboards also provide insight into the amount of people actively using the LMS, the amount of time employees spend taking courses and other metrics that can help measure the LMS' success.

Manager self-service

An LMS should help managers facilitate their employees' development, including enabling managers to assign courses to employees and track course completion.

These features are especially important when managers need to make sure their direct reports completed required learning.


LMS integration with other systems, such as an HR information system (HRIS), can help HR leaders and other employees in multiple ways. If an LMS is integrated with the HRIS, then employee data is automatically updated in the LMS once users enter changes in the HRIS. HR employees won't have to update the LMS as well when new hires join the company, employees leave, and employees get new titles or move to a different manager.

When selecting an LMS, HR leaders should consider that they may need to integrate the LMS with third-party courses in the future. While some vendors may provide courses in a supported format, such as the SCORM format, other vendors may only provide the ability to integrate with their course library.

Integrating the LMS with other systems, such as a learning experience platform, could also bring benefits. For example, HR may be able to configure the two systems so logging in to one automatically authenticates the employee in the other system, providing a seamless experience.

Ease of use

The LMS should provide an intuitive UI that requires little employee training. The UI should include the ability to search and filter lists so employees can find desired courses, as well as the ability to view completed and incomplete courses.

Reporting and dashboards should also be easy for users to understand.

Version control on courses

An ideal LMS should version-control the courses, as this enables instructors to update current courses and track the version of the course that employees have completed, in addition to enabling employees to complete a new course if the course is assigned but not yet started.

If there is a major revision to a course that requires employees to retake it, the LMS should make it easy to select the employees who must complete the updated course. This ability is important if, for example, a course is country-specific and employees live in multiple countries.


An LMS should include the ability to set notifications and reminders for various situations, such as reminders to an employee to complete an assigned course and course notifications if an employee must regularly retake a course. For example, employees may need to complete annual training about cybersecurity.

Ideally, the LMS lets the system administrator customize the reminders.

Technical support

HR leaders should make sure the software purchasing team fully understands the vendor's technical support before signing an LMS contract. Vendor support may include positive aspects, like a dedicated technical support manager who helps resolve support tickets and meets regularly with company employees to discuss open tickets and the product roadmap.

However, vendor support may also include drawbacks, like support that is limited to certain business hours in a particular time zone rather than 24/7 support.

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