What is an LMS?

An in-depth look at the basics, key benefits, and characteristics of learning management systems (LMS).

By TOPYX® Download the Overview

An LMS, or learning management system, enables the electronic delivery of educational courses and training. It is a collaborative platform used by professionals from every industry to create, manage, and deliver learning and development materials, including remote training. An LMS creates online employee training opportunities that engage employees in the training process.

As the eLearning market expands, LMS systems will become an increasingly important part of how organizations implement training and professional development across all verticals.  

LMS software most frequently consists of two parts:

  • Server - performs the core functionalities of creating and managing courses.

  • User interface - used by students and administrators to access and monitor content and programs.

Every sophisticated LMS should cater to the needs of two specific groups - administrators and learners:

  • Administrators - Learning management systems simplify the distribution process of learning content for organization leaders and administrators by enabling organizations to generate and track content in a secure, centralized location.

  • Learners - For students, the online platform is an accessible way to view assignments, test knowledge, and track progress with online assessments. Learners should also be able to participate in collaborative social learning that encourages engagement. 

Company employees, association members, and nonprofit constituents can all benefit from an LMS platform. An LMS makes it easy to learn everything from basic company policies to industry-specific software - all in a convenient, accessible online location. Even senior executives can use eCourses in their company or association LMS to stay up to date with the latest trends and shifts in their industry.

  • Businesses & companies - Businesses often use LMS platforms for enterprise-wide training and development for employees. The system not only helps onboard and educate staff, but it also maintains and organizes records as well as improving reporting.

  • Nonprofits & associations - Nonprofits and associations train massive amounts of volunteers and run their organizations on a fixed budget. An LMS helps associations leverage technology to do this and meet their numbers. It's also an ideal way for associations to deliver professional development courses to their members.

  • Healthcare facilities - LMS software simplifies compliance management for the healthcare sector and enables seamless information sharing.

  • Government agencies - Eliminate the wasting of critical budget funds and seamlessly share information to support efforts across various government groups.

  • Educational institutions - Universities and schools can reach new audiences through online courses that deliver exceptional results like increased knowledge retention and engagement rates.

The best LMS platforms simplify internal educational procedures for organizations and provide convenience to both administrators and students. They give organizations an easily maintainable infrastructure that streamlines eLearning initiatives.

Other benefits of implementing an LMS include:

  • Unlimited access - eLearning materials are always available to your workforce, members, or constituents regardless of time of day and location.

  • Increased productivity - Everyone has a busy schedule, and traditional education often interferes with other priorities. Through an LMS, employees and members can learn at their own pace and complete courses on their own time.

  • Cost-effective - LMS systems eliminate venue rentals, travel, materials, and catering.

  • Instantaneous content deployment - The minute a new announcement hits, your organization can create and deploy meaningful content, keeping employees and members informed and your organization compliant.

  • Streamlined onboarding process - Training new employees and volunteers is faster and easier with an LMS. The software will quickly get them up to speed on your organization’s vision, mission, and goals, so that they can add value immediately.

  • Educate every employee and volunteer - eLearning with an LMS ensures that everyone is retaining the same information and reaching everyone at once.

what is an lms

Learning Management Systems are online platforms designed to make training and professional development easier. Their features are specifically designed to help people craft, distribute, track, and take part in LMS training with less time and effort. Top LMS platforms will have a variety of features that enable the software to meet a large variety of administrator and learner needs.

The most integral feature of an LMS should be the ability to create content, organize it, deliver to an audience, enroll students, and monitor and assess performance standards. Other features of a modern LMS include:

  • Mobile learning - Create and distribute training content online so learners can access material via desktop or on a smartphone, tablet, laptop or mobile device.

  • Social learning - Online communities let learners share knowledge and utilize peer-to-peer learning.

  • Reporting & dashboards - Access reports and quickly assess key performance indicators.

  • Language localization - Break down language barriers and expand your potential audience by letting administrators and learners access LMS courses in their native language.

  • Content management- User-friendly content tools help administrators and employers create compelling courses regardless of their technical expertise. Some learning management systems even come with a content library feature, making the process of generating courses seamless.

One of the most critical aspects of an LMS is the ability to track and monitor learner progress in real time. An LMS automates every aspect of learning including attendance, grades, and displays data immediately to assist with strategic initiatives and high-level business goals.

Companies that adapt continuous eLearning initiatives with an LMS often see higher growth profits over a period of four years. Emphasizing the importance of continuous eLearning is a strategy every organization can implement, regardless of industry or size.

eLearning initiatives, especially those powered by robust LMS platforms, promote knowledge retention more effectively than traditional learning. In a classroom setting, learners have been shown to retain between 5-30% of the information presented. However, in an eLearning setting, individuals can retain between 50-90% of what is taught.

While it might seem overwhelming to overhaul your approach and culture when it comes to eLearning, all it takes is establishing an LMS as the primary method of training. LMS systems have been proven to facilitate a continuous learning culture. Other benefits of a continuous learning culture include:

  • Increasing efficiency, productivity, and profit growth
  • Instilling a sense of ownership of learning and training in employees
  • Making transitions easier for workers
  • Decreasing turnover

"With TOPYX®, we found an engaging eLearning software solution that truly works. It allows our employees to learn when they want, where they want."

JoJo Wynder - Director of Talent Management, Morton Salt

As we touched on previously, every sophisticated LMS should cater to the needs of two specific groups, administrators, and learners.


Administrators oversee the operational performance of an LMS and assist in uploading content, creating courses, and setting up learning paths for success. Any LMS that assists with administration should have an easy-to-use reporting dashboard, import and export capabilities, and the ability to control user sign in.

LMS software simplifies the distribution process of learning content for company leaders and administrators. It enables company leaders to generate and track content in a centralized and secure location.


For learners, online LMS platforms are an accessible way to get information, view assignments, test knowledge, and track progress with online assessments. Customizable LMS platforms have a variety of features to help learners get the most out of their courses:

  • Notifications & reminders - LMS platforms often enable automated email notifications and other reminders.

  • Learner profiles - Personalization is an essential element in any LMS platform. Take advantage of customizable learner profiles so every student can manage their online presence by updating their own details.

  • Learner to-do list - Similar to the learner profile feature, students can set and track their progress with a to-do list.

  • Sessions - Sessions provide multiple options for learners to attend live events. You may set up different dates, different locations, different instructors, etc.

We’ve established the short and long-term benefits of implementing eLearning initiatives through an LMS. When considering all the ways these benefits streamline training processes for companies, healthcare organizations, associations, nonprofits, and businesses, it’s difficult to understand why organizational leaders avoid implementing eLearning platforms.

It’s probable that the main reason employers and leaders avoid investing in an LMS is simply that they feel unsure about which one to choose.

To help your management team simplify the selection process, ask the following three questions:

  1. What does my organization need from an LMS?
  2. Does this LMS provider charge hidden fees?
  3. What ROI will my organization receive from this learning management system?

These questions will help your organization assess its objectives. Here's why each question is important:

  • What does my organization need from an LMS?  Without a clear set of goals, the search process is often lengthy and unsuccessful. Speak with organizational leaders to determine what the most important elements are. Those in management positions often know what challenges are pressing.

  • Does this LMS provider charge hidden fees? Hidden fees, sometimes referred to as per-user fees, are common throughout the eLearning industry. With these fees, service providers cap the number of users an LMS may host and once that cap is exceeded, clients are charged an additional fee for each user. To avoid additional costs, look for an LMS provider with upfront and transparent pricing, so your organization isn’t penalized for growth.

  • What ROI will my company see with this system? This is often difficult to quantify when it comes to any eLearning initiative. However, companies often find that a virtual training model is significantly more cost-effective than traditional classroom courses and associations find that more members join for an LMS's professional development opportunities. The ROI is higher and overhead cut when utilizing an LMS with robust capabilities.

Use the LMS Comparison Worksheet to evaluate LMS solutions

With the right LMS solution, everything is included. The TOPYX eLearning platform fits this all-inclusive pricing model. Everything is included and you will never be hit with a wave of hidden and confusing fees.

  • Unlimited users
  • Implementation included
  • Tech support included
  • Custom branding included
  • xAPI / Tin Can API
  • Unlimited data
  • Unlimited administrators
  • Mobile learning
  • SCORM certified
  • Learning record store
  • Advanced reporting, including Google Analytics
  • Social learning tools
  • Learning tool interoperability (LTI)

See why many of today’s leading international and domestic organizations use TOPYX for training new employees and continuous education. Our easy-to-use learning platform lets the user customize their own learning path and it doesn't include any additional user fees.

With TOPYX LMS, you'll be able to:

  • Integrate social learning experiences to build communication

  • Customize training courses for your employees to understand the strategies and goals that are important to your business

  • Use reporting tools to see the visible results of employee training

You’re ready to create your eLearning courses powered by a robust LMS. Request a Demo, or get started with our Quick Start Program.

Quick Start TOPYX LMS

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