Elearning Workplace training

9 minute read

10 Things to Look for in a Small Business LMS

Saikat Basu

Saikat Basu

A Learning Management System (LMS) sounds like a training platform only a large enterprise would use. But this is where you could miss out on giving your small business a competitive edge.

A Learning Management System (LMS) is necessary for small businesses, startups, and teams of all sizes. It helps enhance skills, learn new ones, and effectively share knowledge within the organization.

Picture a scenario where you hire someone new. You can use an LMS solution to help onboard new employees. It can assist them in getting started smoothly, learning new skills, and meeting industry requirements faster. The same LMS can then upskill them as they progress through the ranks. 

Small business LMSThere are different types of LMS platforms to choose from. The best option for small businesses is one that is customized to fit your specific needs, not just those of large corporations.

The best LMS for a small business

A greater number of features won’t make a learning management system the best fit for a small organization. The tool should fit the culture and not the other way round. 

The best small business LMSs are not only time savers but should also give you a good return on investment (ROI). What are some of the not-so-obvious considerations to bear in mind? Here are 10 key factors you should look for when you decide to deploy an LMS for your small business.  

1. No user minimums 

Small businesses and large corporations both have learning needs. However, it can be difficult for small businesses to find affordable LMS software for a small number of learners. Some LMS platforms have a high minimum number of users for their pricing. This means that even small businesses might have to pay for licenses they don't need at the lowest price level.

When choosing an LMS, find one with a generous free trial or freemium option. This way, you can pick the features you need for your small business without paying for bells and whistles you don't need. Importantly, make sure that your LMS does not require you to have a higher minimum number of learners than you have to train, but is also scalable enough to grow with your business.

The GoSkills LMS is free for teams of any size, with no expensive set-up fees. It also offers optional add-ons like pre-made courses and customizable templates, which makes it a great choice for small businesses.

2. Budget-friendly

What is your online training budget? This will likely be a critical factor that will determine your choice. Different LMS providers offer variable tiers on their services. They can also offer a price per user instead of a package subscription. The former can be ideal if your training needs expand in the future.

LMS packages can also offer feature-specific pricing. This can help you avoid paying for features that you might not need right now. Remember, prices can be tough to decipher, so a needs-based assessment will help you focus on the optimum amount to spend. 

If you are wary of committing to a paid LMS straight away, first look for one that offers a free plan or at least a free trial.

3. Ready-to-go content

Developing your own content is time-intensive and costly. A 2020 study found that time, budget, and the headcount of the talent team were the biggest constraints to the design and development of elearning content

Small businesses can benefit from ready-to-go content for essential office skills and soft skills. Many learning platforms, such as GoSkills, already have a variety of pre-made courses that don't require customization for each student. You can simply assign the different courses to different teams or individuals.

Small business LMS

An LMS that allows you to import or upload training materials (like slides, video, documents, SCORM courses, and PDF files) can reduce the need but won’t cover your entire training needs. An in-house elearning content developer is necessary for proprietary and specialized content, or you can work with an LMS provider to help you develop custom courses.

4. Relevant content

Once the basic decisions are out of the way, the eventual success of the training will depend largely on the content. The content can differ for new employees who you want to just onboard and members of the workforce who need continuous training. 

A learning needs assessment exercise will help you decide on the scope of the content. If the content is standardized across the organization, then a pre-packaged LMS can work well. Otherwise, you might need to choose an LMS that allows you to create original content and update it when necessary.

5. Easy to configure

As a small business, you don’t have the man-hours to set up the LMS. A small business will want the learning to be up and running in minutes and without a set of complicated rules. Learning in the cloud is as simple as logging into an elearning website from the browser.

6. Caters to diverse learning styles

Employees can have different approaches to how they process information. An LMS needs to adapt to the different learning styles of the students, and not vice versa, to be efficient. 

Age can affect preferences, along with factors like visual, auditory, reading/writing, and kinesthetic preferences. Different age groups may have different preferences. Visual, auditory, reading/writing, and kinesthetic preferences are common factors that influence preferences. For instance, younger learners might prefer mobile videos and social sharing over reading. 

Participants with a large volume of responsibilities might like microlearning as they multitask at home and in the office.

small business lms - goskills microlearning lesson
A GoSkills microlearning lesson includes a video, a reference guide, an exercise, and a quiz.

Not all learners fit into one category, so an adaptive LMS should support learning across several learning modalities. Check if the service supports a wider variety of learning assets.

7. Accessible from anywhere

A cross-platform LMS will work on any platform, including mobile devices. This will reduce your implementation costs and anyone can learn on the move from anywhere. Cloud-based learning management systems offer remote learning by default.

8. Facilitates team collaboration

Hybrid workplaces are becoming the norm now. Still, teams might prefer learning together instead of self-directed learning. An LMS that offers blended learning (online learning and instructor-led) over the cloud is the best of both worlds.

A Gallup study found that learning together is more effective than going it alone: 

“[...] as many people participate in remote education from their homes or preferred settings of choice, often while dressed down, a sense of inclusion is rapidly created.”

9. Progress tracking abilities

You can only improve what you track. Narrow down on an LMS that helps you monitor the learning goals of your business. An LMS with good analytics will help you identify problem areas and those employees who might need further training. Quickly spotting successful learners will enable you to empower them in the right roles.

10. Future needs

Choose an LMS that will be a part of the business for a long time. Do developers update it on a schedule? Does that platform have enough traction in your industry? Has it considered new trends, for instance, social learning and gamification for business learning?

A custom-built learning management system is tempting but not ideal for a small business. Also, some well-known LMS systems may have a worldwide user base but can have hidden costs that only show up after implementation. 

So, look at your future needs and choose an LMS that will scale with your business needs. Any industry accreditation and awards in its track record can help give some assurance to make your decision easier. 

features of a small business LMS

There might be other factors that will determine the best LMS for your small business depending on your particular needs (like SCORM compliance, industry certifications, and integration with third-party tools), but the above ten are a good trigger for you to start thinking about the right tool for your organization. 

With all these factors in mind, the GoSkills LMS is an obvious choice for small businesses seeking to foster a culture of continuous learning and development. Recognized for its ease of use and budget-friendly pricing, GoSkills has consistently been awarded for its excellence in serving the unique needs of smaller enterprises. Explore the GoSkills LMS for your small business. With no user minimums, no hidden fees, and optional upgrades like off-the-shelf courses, GoSkills is the ideal choice to train your team.

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Saikat Basu

Saikat Basu

Saikat is a writer who hunts for the latest tricks in Microsoft Office and web apps. He doesn't want to get off the learning curve, so a camera and a harmonica claim an equal share of his free time.