The 13 Must-Have Features of a Learning Management System


There are many Learning Management Systems (LMS) in the market. One estimate puts the number of providers at over 800. So, how can you determine the right choice for your business? Each LMS has a different set of features. Described are some features that each LMS must-have.  

1. Integration

An LMS must offer seamless integration with other applications. The success of an organizations’ E-learning initiatives pivots on integration with applications such as talent management systems and HRIS applications. This information exchange between systems can enable a holistic learning experience for employees and provide a comprehensive view of the skill sets of your employee base. The lack of integration with other digital platforms is one of the top three factors associated with dissatisfaction with learning technology platforms.


2. Personalized Learning

An LMS should be able to personalize learning experiences based on job roles and data available in the system. It should provide learning options based on skills required for specific jobs and future career aspirations. Learners should be able to set the pace of learning based on work priorities, and their own learning capabilities. The performance assessment data, (i.e. quiz test scores), should enable learners to prioritize the improvement areas and intuitively adjust the learning plan accordingly.  For example, a Manager struggling with delegating tasks to others may want to self-enroll in a course related to that subject, upskilling themselves and improving your company’s bottom line in the process. So, an LMS must categorize learning content to offer a more personalized learning environment. 

3. Assessment Tools

Your LMS should support assessment tools such as online exams, quizzes, and situational simulations with questions to help understand learner comprehension and retention. With online learning, direct supervision is not feasible, so it’s important to have quality assessment tools to ensure learning objectives are met.

The assessment tool will help determine if a learner is capable of advancing to the next level.  Even the success of a training program can be determined from looking at scores on assessments and can help you determine if courses require modification to elaborate more on point A or point B, and so on, in the event learners are consistently scoring low or certain modules. 

4. Tracking and Analytics

Tracking and analytics help in tracking a learners’ journey, their progress, and performance.  The data enables the learning and development team to modify learning plans for individuals, if required. The reporting and analytics also enable visual representation of a learner’s performance through graphs and charts. 

5. Automation

Automation features help in automating enrollments, sending notifications and alerts, and even awarding certificates. Automation saves time and also helps create organized and structured training programs. 

A learning path is an automation feature within an LMS that helps to group courses to enable learners to master specific areas of learning. It is often compared to a curriculum to meet the requirements of a “Major” at a University with a group of required classes that may require a satisfactory passing score on a class before advancing to a more complex course. 

6. Alerts and Notifications

Automated alerts and notifications are necessary and critical features of LMS. It helps to keep L&D professionals informed about learners’ progress and performance but also helps to keep learners informed about courses’ due dates and assessment timelines. 

As employees are preoccupied with client work, there is a possibility of training getting lost in the shuffle without alerts and notifications. It also helps managers keep an eye on their team members’ progress, which is essential since they may be getting trained for future client projects. 

7. Customization and Configuration

An LMS should help to manage user rights based on their role in the organization. This helps to efficiently assign courses to the users and create personalized learning paths based on job profile and responsibilities. It also ensures that the employees or users are not overwhelmed with too many options by limiting access to training that is unrelated to their career path. 

Reports based on user groups can be pulled to present a better view of the organization’s skill matrix. The role-based user management will help foster communities that encourage training and engagement among peers. 

8. Security

It is essential to have advanced security features in LMS and ensure that they meet data privacy and cloud security industry standards. The LMS will include sensitive information related to an organization’s competencies, individual employee skills, and personal details. All of which need to be protected against cyberattacks and data breaches. 

You can decide on a single-tenant or multi-tenant solution while choosing LMS based on your organization’s protocols surrounding data, security, and storage. 

The ability for your LMS to provide IP blockers, advanced password authentication, anti-spam and antivirus protection, domain-based registration, back-up data storage, data encryption, and mobile security are all features that need to be considered. You can also look for third-party certifications such as Service Organization Control (SOC) 2 to ensure security and compliance. 

9. Remote or Mobile-Workforce Ready

An LMS should have a responsive design so that content renders well and is consistent across a range of devices such as mobile phones, laptops, desktops, and tablets that support both IoS and Android. The goal is to deliver a seamless learning experience to learners.

10. Compliance

SCORM and xAPI methods are used for standardizing learning content. Your LMS should have the ability to upload content that is compliant with these industry standards. 

Your LMS can work to help you ensure compliance in the required training of employees, so the platform itself also needs to meet company policies, and government regulations specific to your business type. 

11. Gamification

Gamification of skill development helps to set goals that motivate employees and create a competitive spirit among them. LMS gamification features use game elements such as points, badges, and leaderboards to engage learners and help them advance in their learning journey in a time-sensitive manner. 

12. Social learning 

LMS with social learning capabilities is favored by companies as it helps them increase employee engagement by facilitating online communities and chat forums.  The social features or tools embedded within LMS help learners share their credentials with others and participate in group learning.  An example of a forum can be frequently asked questions (FAQ) pages to help learners get quick answers to their questions which speeds up their learning process. 

13. Smart scheduling 

Smart scheduling tools enable trainers to offer flexibility to learners by providing multiple dates and time options to attend the training sessions. The flexibility helps learners to attend the sessions without undermining their work commitments. The scheduling tool provides valuable insights to trainers that they can use for creating better scheduling options. 


The list is not exhaustive, but indicative to highlight the most important features of a Learning Management System (LMS) that need to be considered by any organization as part of their LMS selection process.  These must-have features will change with time as vendors develop their platforms to incorporate new technological innovation and accommodate new requirements. Your sourcing evaluation criteria for LMS should begin with these must-have features and then you may add new criteria based on your organization’s specific requirements.

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