An LMS Can Be a Great Choice for Course Creators in Growth Mode
A Learning Management System (LMS) is a software platform built around the online delivery of educational content. An LMS provides a centralized virtual ecosystem wherein course creators can create, upload, and manage course materials. Students and buyers can often more easily and more deeply review and interact with content via each course creator’s LMS of choice.
But how does an LMS work? When and why do you need one for your course?
LMS: A Database and Central Hub for Your Online Course
The difference between an LMS and say, your website, is that it stores content, user info, and other data relevant to your specific course or courses. The level of detail and the specialization of features unique to these functions are more like what can be found within a content management system, tailored even more uniquely to your specific lesson materials.
Course creators can upload videos, audio recordings, PDFs and quizzes to an LMS. These assets are then organized into courses or modules so that students can easily access and navigate your course materials. The result is often an offering that’s more robust than a set of standalone recordings.
Most LMS are managed by course creators through their web browser or a dedicated app, and then accessed by students either through their own browsers or the same app. They enable creators to track engagement and progress across lesson modules through analytics and reports (more on this in a minute).
The Main Benefits of LMS For Course Creators Revolve Around Efficiency and Growth
There may come a point in the trajectory of your work as course creator where you need to grow your audience beyond what you’re able to do with a simple tech stack comprised of your web site and a video hosting platform.
There are plenty of examples where those two things are enough, but if you’re reading this then someone probably mentioned LMS to you, due to one or all of the following benefits to these type of platforms.
For creators with multiple course offerings, or a single course with many modules, an LMS provides a central hub for organizing and managing your content. Many integrate seamlessly with standard site providers or host providers like Spotlightr.
Most video hosting platforms offer a range of options to custom-brand your course videos. In an LMS, however, you can further customize layouts and just generally layer in a bit more of your branding than colors and logos alone. Use an LMS to mirror the design of your main website, for consistency and to bolster brand awareness, at the same time that you’re taking advantage of its backend functionalities.
Speaking of other features, interactivity is a big selling point for an LMS. Quizzes may or may not be as crucial to your particular course, but the ability to build in things like chat features and discussion forums could make a big difference for student or audience engagement. Features like these, well-utilized, could result in a more effective course and happier learners.
Detailed analytics and reporting are a must for course creators who want to get better at what they do. What gets measured gets managed, so the ability of an LMS to help you measure performance across modules is a powerful method for making data-driven decisions as your iterate your materials and seek to grow in your efficacy as an instructor.
Speaking of growth, an LMS makes scaling courses simpler. They’re designed to enable course creators to easily add new materials, onboard new users, and to just generally grow their business and reach a greater audience without having to stumble through a lot of technical work.
5 Signs That You Might Be Ready to Scale Up To An LMS for Your Courses
Here are some signs that might signal that you’re ready to scale up with your course(s), by moving them over to an LMS.
1 – You want to grow your course library: If or when you develop multiple courses, you might find it challenging to manage all your content without an LMS, which can help streamline your workflows and administration across materials.
2 – Increased student demand: As the number of students enrolled in a course or a set of courses grows, it becomes more difficult to manage their progress and provide individualized feedback. An LMS can help to automate the tracking of student progress and provide analytics that help course creators identify areas where students need more attention, or where you need to make improvements to some of your materials.
3 – You want better engagement: Engagement drives success when it comes to serving an audience. With its interactive features, an LMS makes it easier for course creators to feedback with students and customers at scale.
4 – You want more data-driven insights: The more detailed and more comprehensive analytics offered by top LMS platforms will empower data-minded course creators to make smarter decisions when it comes to performance and growth.
5 – You want to expand: Course creators with plans to expand their offerings and grow their business will want to take a serious look at an LMS. In particular, many leading LMS platforms support automations, which can make it easier to scale without sacrificing quality or consistency.
Popular LMS Options for Course Creators
Below are some popular LMS options that course creators can research further or test out. Some others don’t appear here, because they’re built more for institutions or larger companies, versus the smaller business owners who are doing their own homework (as opposed to working with a sales rep).
|LearnDash||A WordPress plugin that offers a range of features. Cost-effective.|
|TalentLMS||A cloud-based LMS with several integrations, that’s easy-to-use and affordable.|
|Moodle||An open-source LMS that’s highly customizable. Also cost-effective (free).|
|Docebo||Another cloud-based LMS that offers features like gamification and social learning.|
|Schoology||A cloud-based LMS designed specifically for K-12 students.|
Each of these LMS will be better at some things than others, compared to the rest of the list, but course creators of all types have found success with all of them. We’re fans of LearnDash, and offer an integration with Spotlightr. Schoology might only be a fit for a narrow band of course creators, but for them it could be perfectly tailored to teaching younger students (even outside formal school environments).
Conclusion: Upgrade to an LMS When You Need A More Efficient Workflow or You’re Ready to Scale
The decision to upgrade to an LMS will likely come down to whether it will make it easier for you to manage and then grow your business.
Beginning course creators may not need one, but with success can come complexity, and that’s where new software tools can become essential to helping you sustain and grow your business.
You might not need everything an LMS has to offer right now, but especially when it comes to adding more courses and modules, diving deep into analytics for sharper decision-making, and fostering greater engagement through interactive features – an LMS could definitely be worth its costs in time and money for prudent course creators.