If you’re reading this article, you most likely are on the hunt for a Learning Management System for your educational needs. Your needs could be internally focused or externally focused for driving leads or generating additional revenue. Either way, in this article, we’ll cover some of the must-have features of any LMS worth its weight in salt.
A note from the author:
Before we get started and in full transparency, the Impulse Creative team has our very own LMS called HubLMS designed to work with HubSpot CRM and HubSpot CMS. This article is not a promotional piece for our HubLMS Learning Management System! I will mention it from time to time but, use these 7 LMS features to guide your decision-making process when purchasing your next learning management system.
While HubLMS has many of the features in this article, I’ve tried to go far past it in an effort to add value and help you truly know what you need in an LMS to get the most out of it!
1. LMS Design Functionality
The first thing you need to focus on when using an LMS to create a course or educational track for your team or leads & customers is user experience. This means one of the major functionalities of any great Learning Management System is the ability to layout and design your educational information in a way that is pleasing to the user.
In my honest opinion, this is part of what makes many WordPress-based LMS systems as popular as they are. They have been forced to be created in a way that works with the WordPress system. As well as many systems like Elementor, Beaver Builder, and Divi have extra functionality either for or that works in tandem with LMS plugins.
So if you take a system like LearnDash, MemberPress, or even LifterLMS, you know that you will be able to design something that looks good and that the end-user can interact with without feeling like it’s 1989 again!
Not that 1989 was a bad year!
I mean, these things did happen back then!
- Ronald Reagan was president of the United States of America.
- The first of 24 Global Positioning System satellites is placed into orbit.
- Disney-MGM Studios at Walt Disney World opens to public for the first time.
- The television show Seinfeld premieres.
- Nintendo's Game Boy is released in North America.
- Walt Disney’s 28th featured animation The Little Mermaid, is released.
- George B. Thomas joined the US Navy and headed out for Bootcamp.
(Hey that’s me) 😁
Let’s get back to the reason you are here, LMS functionality.
A Bit About LearnDash
Here’s what LearnDash has to say about themselves.
Don’t just sell courses, sell more courses.
With LearnDash you have complete control when selling your online courses. Choose the pricing model, up-sell offerings, reminder notifications, and watch your sales soar!
A Bit About MemberPress
Here’s what LifterLMS has to say about themselves.
The “All-In-One” Membership Plugin for WordPress
MemberPress will help you build astounding WordPress membership sites, accept credit cards securely, sell online courses, control who sees your content and sell digital downloads... all without the difficult setup.
A Bit About LifterLMS
Here’s what LifterLMS has to say about themselves.
The Most Flexible WordPress LMS for Your Online Learning Website
Save money and increase learner success from your customizable course or membership website that you own and control. All-in-one affordable LMS system to start, run, and grow your business.
But, what about HubLMS?
Just like the WordPress plugin LMS systems, you might typically choose to pair with a WordPress page builder, the HubLMS learning management system is designed to work with the HubSpot CMS theme functionality.
The HubSpot CMS uses drag & drop layout functionality, focuses on mobile-first, allows for A/B testing of your course pages, and so much more. I’m sure we will dig into more of those features along the way but, if you are interested in learning more about the HubSpot CMS, we wrote an article 7 Benefits to Hosting Your Website on the HubSpot Standalone CMS you might want to check out.
To wrap this one up, no matter what LMS you choose, make sure it is easy to design your courses and focus on a great learning experience. Think themes, layouts, and other helpful areas that will save you time when designing your courses in the future.
2. Mobile Learning LMS Feature
If your LMS does not allow for mobile learning management system functionality then put down your pencil and slowly walk away. The stats on mobile usage is crazy in 2021. Did you know that Americans spent eight percent more time on mobile than watching live TV each day? (Source)
Make amazing mobile learning experiences so that your users can go right from Hulu or Netflix to your course material without skipping a beat.
Let’s be honest here, LMS platforms that are not accessible on other devices like tablets and phones, are not capturing the bandwidth of their online learning program.
Frankly, that's just lame.
If your LMS is not mobile-friendly, you’re missing out on the ability to reach your learners on their favorite mobile devices and catch them on the go. And boy are people ready to get back on the go in 2021!
3. LMS Course Management Functionality
This one is pretty huge and something most folks think about in hindsight. Most times when you get started with an LMS it’s because you are creating your first course, not your 15th. But, what happens when you try to create 4, 7, or 15 courses for your user experience as well as your experience managing them on the backend?
Does it quickly fall apart or, are you able to easily create a courses page that shows all your available courses? Better yet, are you able to build a courses page that only shows the courses that they have purchased and have access to?
You have to ask yourself, do you have the granular ability to even separate the courses by the user? Or, based on modules in certain courses by the user's paid terms.
How easy is it or do you need a college degree to understand how to set up individual courses? Are you locked into a system that makes you choose a bronze, silver, gold level course mentality?
You need to be able to create and manage courses, categorize them, enroll users, and pull reports quickly and easily so you don’t spend unnecessary time on tasks that could be more automated. Speaking of automation, does your LMS have that? We’ll talk about that a bit later.
4. LMS Quiz Features
If your learner takes the time to read all of your material or better yet watch all of your videos, how do you know they actually retained the material?
The short answer, you don't.
Unless you have the ability to provide a quiz or quizzes in your learning management system. When it comes to quizzes, you want something that allows you to easily set up your questions and it’s possible answers.
On the other side of quizzes, you want something that keeps track of the right and wrong answers and provides you a score for that quiz. And, in a perfect world, if they pass the quiz, you want to email or display a certification or even a downloadable PDF version they can print out and hang on their wall with pride. If you are searching the internet high and low for an LMS system and you don’t see quiz functionality, run away!
5. User & LMS Data Storage Functionality
Speaking of quiz scores, where are you going to store that information? Or, where are you going to store the learner's information like profile, courses purchased? If it is built-in WordPress and adds a line to your database, that’s not great as over time it could slow your entire system down.
Most conversations around data for LMS systems turn into a Salesforce or some type of CRM integration. Meaning, you need to connect to another piece of software, have an additional, cost, and add complexity to your internal system. Why not choose an LMS built on a CRM?
No matter what learning management system you choose, you have to make sure you are thinking about where you will store all of the data you will be collecting and if it is secure. One of the things we love about the HubSpot CRM or all the HubSpot products, to be honest, is the level of security they have. But, don’t take my word for it, check out the HubSpot Security details for yourself.
6. Course Feedback Surveys Feature
I mean come on, this one is a no-brainer. Do the users who originally sign up for the courses you provide even like your material? Unless you can get some feedback from them post-learning, you will never know.
Feedback is the breakfast of champions and so, your LMS should give you an easy way to get that feedback from your users. That way, you can add more content, tweak your communication style, and really dig in and make your course material top-notch over time.
7. Integrate With Current Tools
Make sure your LMS choice allows you to integrate with your video hosting company. For us here at Impulse Creative, that is Wistia but it could be Vidyard, Vimeo, or even Youtube. Your LMS needs to work no matter where you host your video content.
What about your payment processor?
If you are only creating free courses for lead generation, then you can probably skip this and not worry about it. However, if you are creating courses to generate more revenue for your business, making sure your LMS integrates with a payment gateway, PayPal, or even Stripe just makes sense.
Heck, what if your CRM could integrate with your bookkeeping system as well.
Stop, dream for a second. What if your LMS was built on an integration machine that allowed everything in your business to talk and work together in perfect harmony?
Oh, what a paradise that would be.
More Important LMS Functionality
To be honest, a post on 7 LMS features you need to have doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface. There are so many other pieces of functionality you should pay attention to.
Things like reporting, automation, communications, SEO, social promotion, and an entire content strategy around your courses just to name a few. The great thing is that when you use HubLMS, all of those features come standard in the HubSpot CRM & HubSpot CMS so, you have nothing to worry about.
To understand how powerful the HubLMS LMS may be for you, you first need to understand how powerful HubSpot could be for your entire business. Also, we’ll be writing about those and even more features in the future!
So my friend, continue your LMS journey and learn more about how HubSpot can be the foundation of your Learning Management System and the power-up your marketing and sales machine needs moving forward.