What is an LMS?

What is an LMS and why does my organisation need one?

What is an LMS?

Ever come across the term ‘LMS’, but unsure what it means?

An LMS is the go-to solution for millions of organisations worldwide, but what exactly is an LMS and how can your organisation benefit from investing in one?

What is an LMS?

LMS stands for ‘Learning Management System’. Simply put, an LMS is a software tool or application that allows you to create, manage, deliver, and report on online courses and digital training materials.

An LMS provides educators, learning and development (L&D) experts, HR departments, and trainers with a secure online platform that can be customised with a wide range of digital resources to provide an immersive, collaborative, and dynamic learning experience.

Online learning isn’t a new concept. In fact, e-learning has been around in various guises for decades. Following the widespread adoption of the internet at the turn of the millennium, online training and assessment have surged in popularity and become ever more sophisticated. The demand for distance learning and training continued to grow exponentially during the COVID-19 pandemic and shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon.

One important type of LMS is the open-source platform. Open-source technology allows developers to access the LMS source code and create modifications to extend or enhance the existing LMS functionality. Much like installing apps on your smartphone, open-source LMSs allows the inclusion of individual bespoke plugins, allowing organisations to customise their LMS and mirror their existing digital infrastructure. Ultimately, open-source LMS platforms can create an accessible, flexible, and feature-rich environment.

What leading LMS options are available?

Moodle and Totara are two of the leading open-source LMS platforms, with hundreds of millions of users worldwide.

Moodle LMS was founded 21 years ago in Perth, Western Australia, and quickly became one of the most popular learning management systems on the market and a firm favourite with educators.

In 2019, Moodle introduced the highly-anticipated Moodle Workplace platform – the corporate distribution of Moodle – designed to help businesses, in particular, upskill their people. You can discover the key differences between Moodle LMS and Moodle Workplace here.

Totara was founded fourteen years ago, in 2010, and is a leading open-source LMS focused on workplace learning and development. Totara TXP (Talent Experience Platform) combines three separate LMS options – Learn, Engage, and Perform.

Totara Learn is a management system designed to help develop people across an entire organisation. Totara Engage offers a secure social space, powered by people, and is designed to facilitate collaborative learning, communication, knowledge sharing, and discovery. Totara Perform, as the name suggests, allows organisations to nurture staff performance, to help improve operating efficiencies.

So, why does my organisation need to invest in an LMS?

Avoid losing your talent

Every organisation wants to keep their most talented people. The prospect of losing gifted employees to competitors keeps many CEOs awake long into the night.

So, other than competitive remuneration and benefits, how do organisations ensure their best talent remains with them for the long term? Through training and career development.

The best talent needs to feel supported, respected, and special. Nobody wants to stay still in their career for too long, stagnating in a role they have long outgrown. Training helps to unlock people’s full potential, while also allowing them to grow in their roles, and feel supported.

Organisations that decide to invest in an LMS platform are also signaling to their people that training and development is a serious priority and a long-term commitment.

Cost-effective and consistent training

An LMS can provide a cost-effective solution to cover training and development across an entire organisation, from micro-SMEs through to multi-national corporations.

Companies can avoid paying repetitive and expensive course fees for instructor-led classes and can also provide training consistency for each member of staff whilst still ensuring their specific developmental needs are catered to. LMS platforms allow organisations to deliver compliance or soft-skill training at scale, providing a one-stop-shop for content, assessment, and instruction.

Data-led performance

An LMS allows organisations to monitor the training performance of their people, with real-time data available at-a-glance through scheduled reports and sophisticated dashboards. This allows line managers and HR to monitor course progress and completion rates of individuals across a company, while also assessing their ROI (Return on Investment).

Mirror your organisation structure

An LMS allows organisations to set up their learning platform to completely mirror their organisational structure. Administrators can assign Managers or Departmental Leads and create the same lines of reporting within the learning system that exists within the organisation.

Each member of an organisation can be assigned a job title or position, and automated workflows can then be created to deliver tailored training experiences.

The LMS is also scalable, and the number of users can be easily dialed up or down depending on an organisation’s growth ambitions or targets.

Notifications and communication

LMS platforms feature notification and messaging systems allowing trainers to notify individuals about changes to their training programmes or courses. Messaging system integration is another key innovation in recent years, with Slack or Microsoft Teams synchronisation available for in-course communication between the learner and trainer.

Measuring your people

In-built assessment within the LMS platform allows organisations to measure understanding and knowledge gained. Administrators can create one-off programs to support the onboarding process of new staff, and recurring certifications can be created to ensure all members of staff are regularly kept informed, upskilled, and safe. Employees can even be automatically alerted, should they need to take a course, or if they have missed a key deadline.

Dynamic Rules

Dynamic rules and automated workflows are another excellent feature that LMS platforms provide, helping to save time, unburden administrators, and boost productivity.

Automations can be established based on user profile details, including departments, job titles, and much more. This also enables automated enrolment, where learners are automatically enrolled into courses based on specific job characteristics, functions and requirements that can be specified by the system administrators.

Customisable and Personalised Learning

An LMS can be themed to match an organisation’s branding guidelines, including colours, logo, and much more, providing a sense of familiarity for the learners engaging with course materials.

Many LMS platforms come with in-built diagnostic tools, which can be used to conduct 360-degree skills audits on each individual learner, providing AI and machine learning recommendations for learning, based on the individual’s strengths and weaknesses.

Administrators have complete control and can quickly make changes to course materials when required, responding to feedback from learners, or updating compliance modules when key legislation changes. Training always remains updated and relevant to the audience.


Multi-tenancy functionality allows organisations to split their LMS platform into departments, teams, or divisions, and provide different learning experiences on a single installation. These multi-tenancies can be managed by system administrators as independent entities. Administrators can also control custom themes, permissions, and learning content, to provide tailored learning environments and experiences for different audiences.

Next steps

So, now you know what an LMS means, some of the leading platforms on the market, and how your organisation could benefit from investing in one.

But, what next?

Well, as a Moodle Premium Certified Services Partner, we at Accipio are one of only four organisations in the UK that is licensed to provide Moodle Workplace, alongside Moodle LMS.

For over a decade, we have also been a Totara Platinum Partner, supporting some of the world’s biggest brands to deliver innovative LMS platforms, from PepsiCo and the Premier League to the NHS and UK government departments.

We are incredibly proud of these partnerships because they reflect the premium yet accessible service that we provide to organisations and training institutions while supporting their development and growth goals.

We provide a fully end-to-end service, which includes fast and secure hosting, unlimited rapid support (provided on average in less than ten minutes), advanced theming, next generation plugins (including Accipio Shop: the world’s most advanced native shop for Moodle and Totara), and implementation and training. We also provide a migration service for existing LMS platforms.

If you have any further questions or want to know more, then please get in touch.