As learning becomes more crucial for organizations to develop as a collective unit, management systems, or LMS, have played a huge role in bringing in innovative and effective steps to create a robust learning cycle. The need for corporations to acquire newer skills and knowledge on a continuous basis has further pushed interest towards the adoption of LMSs. LMS broadly is the platform that handles all aspects of the learning process. It is the infrastructure that delivers and manages instructional content, identifies and assesses individual and organizational learning or training goals, tracks the progress towards meeting those goals, and collects and presents data for supervising the learning process of the organization as a whole. A learning management system delivers content but also handles registering for courses, course administration, and skill gap analysis, tracking and reporting.
A recent study by Brandon Hall Group, however, states that the increasing use of LMS has brought with it several overheads that affect the RoI, including the investment in the implementation and maintenance of the new system. The amount of time and finances invested in managing an LMS is considerable. This has led to a drop in the RoI and hence the satisfaction of the companies currently engaging in LMS systems. Building from these factors, the report highlights the need for Learning Management Systems to shift to a cloud-based platform.
1. Improved accessibility and integration of services
Cloud-based LMS offer better accessibility for both learners and course designers. Unlike software-based learning courses, they offer learners the option of simply logging in to their respective accounts ‘anywhere, anytime’ and begin the process of learning new skill sets and expanding their knowledge base. Having a cloud-based platform also enables learners to access their courses through various devices. Similar opportunities are available with instructional designers to update learning content and communicate with stakeholders. Such management systems also provide real-time reporting and access to documents.
A cloud LMS can also be integrated seamlessly with other existing systems within the organization – especially with the HR database which controls and maintains user access of the learning system. This makes the job of administrators simpler, as they can assign courses easily from the HRMS and do not have to log on separately to a different system. Today’s learners find it simpler to log on to the HRMS and access their LMS directly. This increases efficiencies within the organization as well as improves the learning experience by providing ease of use.
2. Lower startup costs and cost predictability
Regardless of the size of the organization, finding a cost-effective way to train employees is always a top priority. Moreover, the initial costs of setting up a cloud-based LMS are quite low since there is no need for physical infrastructure. When clubbed with the option of not purchasing separate learning software and not having a dedicated in-house team to maintain the LMS, it further enriches the value proposition.
With cloud-based LMS, organizations know exactly how much you are going to pay each month. With no unexpected maintenance fees or upgrade costs, organizations have the bandwidth to decide exactly how much they need to allocate for their LMS. There are typically different hosting and service packages, so the organization can choose a package that suits their needs, rather than purchasing a bundle software program that includes things that may be extraneous.
3. Enhanced data security
While many institutions and businesses use LMSs, most use social media sites, such as Twitter and Facebook, to communicate with collaborators. However, these free sites do not have the security features offered by a cloud-based LMS. For example, various designers within one’s network can share information and ideas remotely through the LMS without having to worry about data being lost or stolen, given that they are hosted on platforms that are better encrypted and safer to use. This also helps the organization in maintaining the security of data of their employees. To assist in that goal, LMS providers also proactively employ a series of different methods to ensure security and privacy of their user-base, which is of utmost importance.
Cloud LMS is also scalable across different organizations and changing needs. Smaller organizations have the option of beginning small, and then increasing their LMS capacity as the number of recruits increase. Larger organizations with varied vertical can use such systems. Cloud LMSs allow a lot of customization and partitioned learning units within the LMS. This is very useful, as learner groups within a large organization may have hugely differing learning requirements. With the Cloud Learning Management System, it is possible to create a different ‘LMS’ for each small group and provide a personalized learning experience.
According to a 2015 survey, there have been significant movements towards cloud-based LMS as 87% of the respondents used a web-based LMS, compared to only 13% who have an installed LMS. This is indicative of the slow but steady movement towards cloud-based LMS deployments. The reasons for this are many – Cloud LMS is budget-friendly as well as easier to maintain with regard to faster updates, upgrades, and fixes. Rather than having to install course designs and management software, instructional designers can simply use their Internet browsers to upload course content, create new courses, and communicate with learners directly. This is all done through a secure LMS, which also gives designers the ability to store information on the cloud, which can be remotely accessed by other, approved users. This makes the adopting a cloud-based learning management systems a favorable option for organizations.