Learning Management Systems Development Requirements
READ WHOLE ARTICLE
If you run a localized business or a company, you know firsthand about the struggle of keeping qualifications in your staff at a high, constantly progressing rate, as well as about seeking new approaches to eliminating employee turnover. Timely implemented functionalities of a learning management system in your company’s workflow can help you achieve wonders at boosting employee performance, workplace compliance, and recruitment success rates.
The creation of a custom LMS system that specifically fits the peculiarities and nuances of a certain business workflow is a well-tried-and-tested long-term performance-boosting effort that should definitely give you a felt push. One major thing to clarify - what exactly would you like your system to be capable of? What features and capabilities do you need to fit into it?
When it comes to outlining the scope of learning management system requirements, however, the checklist can become confusingly overwhelming and extensive, making you experience difficulties rendering the most necessary things and passing on superficial aspects. This is exactly why we created this article defining the top requirements your LMS should meet in order to prosper in the current market.
Table of Contents
Management of courses and users
To kick things off, the first item on your learning management system requirements checklist should be a general format of your platform and the way users interact with it. This concerns the way your e-learning system structures and delivers educational content. And this begins with basic navigation - users need a way to fully access your system and browse it via a user interface focused on certain purposes and user audience specifics, which comes down to the first two major moments - user registration and user interface.
The fundamental items on the LMS requirements checklist here should include:
- Registration form
- Account login screen
- Catalog of courses
- Search bar (better make it smart, i.e., featuring automated fill-ins and recommendations)
- Course sign-up interface
An important thing to consider here is that if your platform goes beyond the format of the most basic interactive storage of courses and is rather a flexible resource for several different user groups (educators, learners, administrators, etc.), you will need to create several fitting interfaces equipped with certain features.
All in all, you can decide to build your LMS based on one of the three major learning models:
- Online self-learning. This is a narrowed approach where, for instance, your employees get a catalog of profiled courses, tests, and educational materials they can navigate and complete without any third-party involvement.
- Instructor-led training. A more substantial yet more effort-consuming approach would be to allow professional instructors and learners to connect via an LMS platform, which implies a focus on live interaction between educators and learners.
- Hybrid or blended e-learning. You may also combine several approaches, reinforcing the autonomous theoretical part with live exams and practice, for instance.
Thus, the LMS functionality should be expanded with instructor-focused interfaces and features if you are building a two-sided platform. This mainly concerns the capabilities of creating, editing, and launching custom courses within the LMS software infrastructure, including:
- Separate instructor profile cabinet
- Separate learner profile cabinet
- Course editor tool
- Exam editor tool
- Chat or messenger for platform users
The final choice - to build a more basic yet fast and automated narrow LMS or go for a full-on instructor-led platform - depends on your particular goals and scope of interest in your e-learning undertaking.
Make an analysis and generate reports
A huge essential part of any educational interface is the representation of grades and results. This aspect calls for a special place in the learning management system requirement specification. Simply put, you need a dashboard to measure training results.
Thus, for an instructor-led e-learning platform, make sure to implement a:
- Course/test/exam results dashboard that collects all earned grades for further analysis
While a narrower platform for manual employee training should include a:
- Course/test/exam results with automatically generated grades and rankings
To continue the checklist, here are other grading items you will find useful:
- A ranking system (public ratings of the best-performing learners and top educators should bring in a stimulating competitive factor)
- Learner badging system (badges can act as convenient indicators of a user having completed this or that course)
- Grade calculation API
- Google Analytics (or another analytics system that your admins can use in order to track, evaluate, and further analyze important user metrics)
Integrating a specialized readymade or custom API, you can provide instructors, learners, and administrators with useful analytics and reporting functionality.
Create the learning content
From simple basic quick tests to more complex tasking interfaces - you should decide in which color and shape you will be delivering educational materials and training routines. This includes settling the supported content formats:
- PDF, txt., doc., ppt., etc. for text files like manuals, images, infographics, and stuff;
- MP3, MP4, and other media formats for audio and visual content like videos, audio lectures, animations, podcasts, etc.;
Fitting this side of requirements for learning management system into a checklist, here’s what you will need:
- Content library (an interface for browsing, accessing, uploading, etc. various content)
- Audio/video integrations
- Authoring tools
- Content management system
- Content sharing capabilities
This should do it in terms of convenient access and management of educational content on the platform.
Yet another crucial aspect of providing a hassle-free, convenient system that fits relevant LMS requirements is the support of all the content delivery and interaction functionality. This calls for:
- Bug reporting tool
- Support team or support specialist/consultant (depending on the scale of your e-learning project)
- Multi-channel support (via phone, email, and right in the LMS)
- Platform documentation (that would clarify the technical ins and outs of the platform)
As a pro tip, you can take a cost-efficient shortcut while providing a full-blown user support service by hiring an outsourced support specialist or team of specialists.
Moving on with figuring out the essential features of the learning management system, webinars are great opportunities for both specialists and learners to gather online, watch and deliver profiled presentations, share thoughts, and exchange experience. A webinar hosting would be an especially relevant feature for an instructor-led-based LMS (although webinars can also be a great addition to a fully autonomous system). In terms of the LMS requirements checklist, here’s what we have here:
- Video conferencing system
- Instructor-led e-learning features mentioned above
A proper webinar interface fits many simultaneous users, has a live chat, and media sharing features.
If your LMS is focused on delivering definite, narrow-field, complex qualification courses targeted at specific learner groups, you may want to consider providing respective certification that will help learners seal their newly acquired qualification officially. So the next item on the checklist of major LMS requirements is:
- Certification system
Course certificates will also serve as a great motivation for learners to achieve higher and higher results. On top of that, it is easier to define proper specialists when they have a sealed certificate on the appropriate field of expertise under their belt.
A common LMS requirements template usually outlines a number of third-party integrations that help expand the capabilities and rates of performance and convenience of an e-learning platform.
- Integrations with complex third-party systems (CRMs, CMSs (content management systems), BI systems, ERPs, cloud databases, etc.)
- Social media integrations for fast signing up to and login into the LMS
- Analytics integrations (see above)
- Content library integration (see above)
- Media system and/or video conferencing system integrations (see above)
- Various API integrations (for automated reporting, grading, etc.)
- Payment gateway integrations that enable making purchases and donations on the platform
- Inventory management system integrations
- Virtual classroom integration
- Performance tracking and management integrations
In this aspect, the scope of integrations depends on smaller specifics of your particular LMS, but what we mention here and in other sections of the article is usually everything you need to run a sturdy, flexible, convenient e-learning system of any purpose.
Keeping learners engaged and excited with the process of studying and advancing qualification may as well be among the most difficult LMS aspects to streamline and adjust.
- Gamification elements can be truly game-changing (no pun intended) additions to the usual, routine e-learning processes that would stimulate users to achieve better results and progress in their education for better rewards. Which calls for ->
- Rewarding system - come up with grades or incentives that would further heat up learners’ interest to reach new heights (course discounts, promo codes, special accesses, points, badges, etc.).
In addition to gamification, your LMS user engagement rates can also be boosted with such features as:
- Community activity feed
- Profiled forums
- Scheduled events
Surely, reliable security is fundamental for any system with individual user accounts that stores tons of important information - technical, educational, analytical, and personal. This is why further crucial online training requirements in terms of secure functionality should include:
- HTTPS-protected connection
- Data encryption protocol
- Double authentication
- VPN support
Special security adjusting efforts should be dedicated to file and data storage systems you use, be it proprietary or cloud. Here’s where another security-focused API may be integrated as well.
Import and export
- Content management system and/or content library
This is what you ultimately need to structure and properly deliver all the educational content in general as well as to adjust an efficient data import/export routine. Data importing and exporting are among the essential e-learning requirements as both instructors and learners should be able to upload, download, and share various files and educational content pieces.
Sky’s the limit when it comes to LMS features and integrations your systems may have to offer. Great extra capabilities can also include the following:
- Mobile compatibility
- Skills management system
- eCommerce features (pricing, checkout, order processing, etc.)
- Corporate-focused customizations (addition of corporate attributes, such colors, logos, visuals, and other authentic elements)
We can’t stop emphasizing the fact that the final set of features of an LMS of your own should depend strictly on your goals and the scope of educational effort you are looking to encompass. The learning management systems list defining most various solutions is endless. But you may well use the above checklist items in order to achieve a high-quality, engaging solution in the field of e-learning.
All the above-mentioned functional and non-functional requirements for learning management systems can help you assemble an authentic LMS to reckon with. All the rest is a business or practice and real user feedback. Commonly, e-learning initiatives pay off more than well in the long run. So if you wish to implement something truly unique without straying from the smoothest, highest-quality functionality at every stage of the project, you may consider turning to a seasoned e-learning development company.
Contact us to discuss the creation of a flexible LMS for any purpose and scope of educational effort.