Today the process of learning is quite different from what our society used to observe 20, 30, 50 years ago. And one of the main factors that lead to these changes is the development of technologies. That is true not only about school education or university studies and about learning at the workplace.
Now employers fully understand that the success of any organization and its business growth greatly depend on the team’s knowledge and skills that should be continuously expanded and improved by the latest industry tendencies. That’s one of the reasons why the demand for learning management systems and lms software development services is on the rise.
In this article, we explain the benefits of this type of software and share our insights on how to create an lms.
What is an LMS?
Let’s start with the most basic definition. LMS is a widely used abbreviation of such a word combination as a “learning management system”. The aims of this software are clear from its full name.
It is intended for creating, managing, and distributing educational content.
Today the market offers a significant number of various ready-made solutions that have some obvious benefits. For example, the use of a ready-made system can help you to reduce your expenses. Moreover, suppose you’ve decided to start implementing an LMS in the work of your organization. In that case, you have to spend significantly less time on the implementation and you have to think about the station when you buy a solution than in those cases when you build an LMS website from scratch. Though some systems of this kind do not allow users to customize any features, others are customizable, allowing you to adapt the solution to your business needs. And in the short term, this option looks attractive.
However, based on our experience, we can say that many companies that are using one-size-fits-all solutions sooner or later decide to switch to a solution fully tailored to their needs.
Below you can find just a couple of reasons that can make you put your thoughts about ready-made software aside and consider a variant of building an lms under the current needs of your business.
- Often, third-party vendors’ systems do not allow change to design or navigation, and you will have to get accustomed to the available options even if they are not intuitively clear or user-friendly enough.
- In some cases, you can’t add additional features exclusively for your company.
- You have to pay regular fees or make license payments. So if you add new users, your expenses will grow.
- You have no or very little control over the security of data in the system.
- There can be severe restrictions in making any third-party integrations not initially supported by the vendor that provides you with the LMS.
- You can face a lack of software scalability and growth opportunities.
There is no difference: whether you have already decided to build your own LMS or prefer to use an existing solution for the first time. There is a wide range of parameters and characteristics of your future product that you have to think about beforehand. So, first of all, let’s have a look at the classification of this software.
Different Types of Learning Management Systems
Enterprise vs. Individual LMS
While enterprise systems are usually built for 500+ users, individual systems are targeted at small organizations or a single person who creates and manages the content for learning. The first type of software is easily scalable and can be expanded with new courses and features required when growing. These systems are used at enterprises that work in healthcare, banking, finance, insurance, hospitality, manufacturing, and others.
As for individual systems, the number of available features can be limited based on the requirements of a small organization, which can help reduce the development and support costs.
Free vs. Commercial
Today, if you want to create a course for your students or employees, you can do it on your own with the help of one of the available free, open-source products. Though some platforms provide numerous features that can be used for your course, you should understand that they often do not offer the level of support you can be accustomed to getting today. In addition, the deployment can be a challenge for those who do not have any relevant knowledge.
As for commercial products, usually, they have 24/7 support services and are easy to deploy.
SaaS vs. Licensed Product
SaaS products are usually ready-to-use cloud-based products that are very easy to deploy. Such solutions are scalable but may have some limitations related to their customization.
Licensed products are usually more flexible and adaptive to customer’s needs. This software can be either on-premise or cloud-based. Compared with SaaS products, this second variant may be less expensive if we take the ownership cost per user.
Cloud-based vs. On-premises
The software is hosted on the cloud platform and accessible from numerous computers regardless of their location. Cloud-based systems stand out from the crowd for their scalability.
On-premise software is installed on the server that the organization chooses. These products are believed to be more secure than cloud-based ones, but at the same time, their installation and maintenance can turn out to be more expensive.
Integrated vs. Standalone
If your company already has some relevant software, your LMS can be integrated with it to ensure a seamless learner experience.
However, it’s also possible if you want to keep your LMS as a fully separate product.
Built-in Authoring Tools vs. Pre-Written CMS
Most modern learning management systems have built-in authoring tools or support the Shareable Content Object Reference Model (or SCORM), allowing creators to share their courses on different platforms. Up-to-date systems also provide developers with the possibility to upload courses that were created with other tools.
It is crucial to understand that a CMS (content management system) is not just the same as an LMS. It is a different product. But you can use your CMS for storing some educational data or for writing your academic courses. But it will never replace an LMS. When the lessons are designed in CMS, you need to import them into the learning management system.
Here’s a list of the most popular LMS features that we recommend you consider for your project.
- Learning content management
- User and eLearning process management
- Testing and assessment
- Reporting and analytics
- Mobile learning support
- Social learning
- Compliance Management
Advantages of LMS
But do you need an LMS? The key benefits of this type of software speak for themselves.
- Outstanding learning experience
- Easy distribution of learning content
- Possibility to regularly update existing courses
- Easy result tracking and reporting
- Higher engagement
- Better results thanks to gamification
- Content personalization
Our team has rich expertise in building learning management systems and other eLearning software products. So let’s bring your ideas to life.
Technologies to Consider
If you are going to build your lms from scratch, you should know that there is a wide range of technologies that can be used for it. Usually, the development team makes the decision on what tech stack to use based on the functionality and aims of the software under consideration.
The names that you can see below can be viewed as an example of the available options as, in reality, the list of the technologies that can be applied is much longer.
|Backend||Symphony, Laravel, Node.js, Nest.js, Express.js|
|Database||MySQL, PostgreSQL, MongoDB|
|Mobile||iOS, Android, Сross-platform|
|Cloud||AWS, Google Cloud|
|Payment gateway||Stripe, PayPal|
How to Create LMS Software: Development Process
The entire process consists of a couple of steps.
- Validate your idea, decide on the key features.
At this step, you need to understand who will use this software clearly, how often, for what purposes. We recommend studying similar products to get inspiration and find the functionality that can be potentially interesting for the company.
- Choose your service provider.
Now it’s time to make a decision on whether you will buy a ready-made solution or you will build your own LMS. As we’ve already mentioned, ready-made solutions can be cheaper, and you can implement them practically immediately, but only custom software will fully meet your needs. It will be more flexible and scalable.
- Find your best software development team (if you’ve decided to create an LMS from scratch).
Today the outsourcing market offers a wide range of companies to choose from for your projects. In one of our previously published blog posts, you can find valuable tips that will help you to find the best developers.
- Start the development itself.
When the team is ready, the project enters the most crucial part of its realization plan. Now it's time for design, development, and continuous testing. Different teams have different approaches to development. For example, we at Geomotiv prefer to work by the Agile principles and break down the development into sprints.
- Proceed to the product release.
When everything is well-tested and all bugs are fixed (if any), your LMS can be launched.
- Do not forget about support and maintenance.
It is impossible to launch a software product and to forget about it. Some necessary changes will likely be defined in the process of using it. Moreover, please bear in mind that any software will become obsolete with time flow, and you will need to think about its modernization.
Cost of LMS
Though we've already taken a look at different types of LMS software and their benefits, there is one fundamental question that we still haven’t answered.
How much does it cost to create your own LMS?
Unfortunately, there is no exact answer. The final amount will depend on a great variety of factors, including the features that should be added to your system and the number of users for whom your software is intended.
For example, the cost of an LMS for a mid-size business can be around $40,000-$90,000. The cost of enterprise-level software will be up to $300,000.
But in the second case, the development services will include all the components and features of mid-size business software (like project analysis, automated tests and QA, gamification elements maintenance and support) and some additional options. They are multilingual support, CRM, ERP, eCommerce software integration, integration of AI tools, and creation of individual sub-portals in accordance with the organizational structure.
As you see, there are different variants, and to voice the cost of your software, we need to analyze your requirements and expectations.
If you already have any ideas, at Geomotiv, we are always open to new projects. Share your thoughts with us via an online form available on our website, and our experts will contact you very soon.
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