What is a CMS for eLearning? The Ultimate Guide
December 4, 2023
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It’s no secret that modern companies need to provide training to both employees and customers. Learning and development is no longer a competitive advantage.
According to a recent LinkedIn report, 89 percent of L&D managers agree that proactively building employee skills will help navigate the evolving future of work.
A content management system is software that stores and publishes learning material. The problem is that the sheer number of CMS eLearning options available can feel overwhelming, making it challenging to navigate and compare key features.
We’re here to solve that problem. We’ll explain what an eLearning CMS is, the essential features and functionality to look for when shortlisting potential vendors, and best practices to get the most value from your new CMS for eLearning.
In this post:
What is a content management system?
A content management system (CMS) is a type of software that allows you to publish content online. They’re most often used to share content publicly.
You might use one to publish blog posts, eBooks, or landing pages on your website.
What is a CMS for eLearning?
A learning content management system is a CMS specifically designed for learning and development teams. They’re sometimes referred to as an LCMS.
Instead of publishing content for the world to see, you can use a LCMS to gatekeep your learning materials. Customers, partners, and employees can sign in and see the educational content you’ve uploaded to your CMS.
CMS for eLearning vs LMS for eLearning
Learning content management systems often get mixed up with learning management systems (LMS). The key difference between a CMS and an LMS is the use case.
An eLearning CMS primarily focuses on creating, storing, and organizing learning content. An LMS, on the other hand, goes beyond content creation and focuses on the administration, tracking, and content delivery of training programs.
You’ll likely need an LMS with a built-in CMS. That way, you can upload training content to the same CMS that powers your training academy.
WorkRamp CMS, for example, is a unified LMS + CMS for your revenue enablement and learning content. When you have your learning and enablement content in a central location, you equip your team with the necessary resources to excel.
eLearning content management system features
Now we know what an eLearning CMS is, let’s explore the different features you should look for when choosing one.
You already have a library of training materials inside your LMS. But if you needed to find a specific training course or even a module, could you find it without relying on memory?
Your LCMS platform should have content management features that make it easy for admins and learners to navigate through so much content.
That might be:
- Tags, such as “sales training” or “employee onboarding”
- Filters, such as course duration or facilitator
- Learning paths for different job roles
In fact, these management features are so useful that Earthjustice, a nonprofit that turned to WorkRamp to host online training materials for its employees, launched 99 eLearning courses and saved $50,000 in a single year.
Some eLearning CMSes can only handle text-based content. That’s great if you’re engaging learners through written content like transcripts or guides, but not so great if you’re appealing to a wider variety of users with different learning styles.
So, when evaluating which eLearning CMS you should use, check whether it can support interactive multimedia content. The Learning Cloud from WorkRamp can support audio, video, images, forums, quizzes, PowerPoint presentations, and flipcards alongside traditional written content.
As an L&D manager, you want to spend time creating content that employees engage with. It’s no small feat—but one you don’t have to take on single-handedly. You can use generative artificial intelligence (AI) tools to improve your content and be more efficient.
Some eLearning CMSes, including the Learning Cloud, have AI features to speed up the content creation process.
Use the AI Assist tool in the Learning Cloud to:
- Improve your writing
- Simplify the language
- Change the tone
- Summarize the content
- Brainstorm new ideas
- Draft new training materials
Analytics and reporting dashboard
The best eLearning CMS will have a user-friendly dashboard with advanced reporting capabilities to show how learners engage with the content.
“A great platform will measure your success across many key metrics like completion rates, devices preferred, success rates, and more,” says Robert Kaskel, Chief People Officer, Checkr. “You can get a very clear view of what content and strategies are going well and where you need to concentrate your efforts to improve.”
Robert adds: “Sometimes, users won’t share this feedback with you, or they might not even be aware of issues themselves, so it’s good to have those metrics to fill in the blanks and give you a better understanding of success.”
Benefits of using a CMS for eLearning
Still unsure whether it’s worth investing in a CMS for your blended learning activities?
Here are three benefits that might convince you otherwise.
Create and store content
You have a wealth of knowledge to distribute to customers, employees, or partners through your LMS platform. But you can’t just deliver new content and expect people to keep up. There’s a risk of overwhelming users if they can’t find the training materials they need when they need them.
An eLearning CMS helps solve this problem with content management and organization features such as search, folders, and tags. It’ll ensure all relevant content is easily accessible from one location.
The best part: When you can easily find existing content, updating specific sections or reusing content across different online courses is easier. This saves time and keeps things consistent across different online learning modules.
Update content in real-time
The training materials you delivered just six months ago might not be relevant today. Industries move fast. Even evergreen courses like compliance training programs need to be refreshed periodically to make sure you remain compliant with rules and regulations.
With a CMS inside your learning platform, you can update content in real-time—so long as you have an internet connection. Whether it’s a new rule or best practice you’re implementing, a CMS speeds the process up and ensures you’re always delivering top-quality training content.
Chances are, you’re not the only person creating training materials for your digital learning and content development programs. You might have colleagues or subject matter experts who also create materials or users who want to author their own training materials (like a sales manager who wants to create sales training programs for their team within your LMS).
The best eLearning CMS typically includes a course authoring tool and version control features to see the history of any piece of content, depending on each user’s permissions.
- Track changes by user
- See version history
- Revert to old content
Best practices for using an eLearning CMS
Once you’ve chosen your eLearning CMS, here are four best practices to get the most value from it.
It’s important for any branded content to be consistent. That doesn’t just apply to external or customer-facing content.
Employees who get an on-brand learning experience know exactly what your brand is, what it stands for, and the values they should embody when representing your company. Templates make this more efficient since any L&D team member can use prebuilt templates to create new content.
Templates help with scalability, too. If you’re going through a period of aggressive growth and plan to welcome hundreds of new employees, templates prevent you from having to create employee onboarding materials from scratch.
You can use the CMS inside your LMS to repurpose a template that’s already proven to engage new hires.
With the Learning Cloud, you can use the prebuilt content library with a range of standardized training courses—from health and safety to the art of negotiation. Treat these as templates to build upon when personalizing your own learning content.
Integrate your tech stack
Speaking of time-saving activities to make the most out of your eLearning CMS, many software providers have integrations with other tools. They can sync data between your LMS and other platforms to ensure you have your most important data in one place and automate workflows based on triggers and actions across either platform.
For example, WorkRamp integrates with the following tools:
- Salesforce: sync learner data with leads in your CRM
- Chorus: pull training calls from Chorus to use in WorkRamp training materials
- Stripe: gate your customer education program behind a paywall reserved for premium customers
Train your team
Get everyone on the same page regarding content management and storage as part of your training. Users can quickly and easily navigate the content repository, finding relevant materials without confusion.
That might include:
- File naming conventions (e.g. course, module, and lesson)
- Tags (e.g. all sales content should be tagged with “sales”)
- Version codes (e.g. V1 or version1)
- Special characters (e.g. hyphens or spaces)
You could also use screen recordings to show people how to navigate the CMS. Record yourself uploading a piece of content to the eLearning CMS, then store it inside your employee LMS for people to reference later.
Track and analyze content usage
Creating content is only one half of the puzzle. As part of your learning and development initiatives, you should regularly monitor how learners interact with the content you’ve uploaded to the CMS. You can use the data to measure the effectiveness of your content and make informed decisions that improve the overall learning experience.
Check in on your learning CMS analytics to see:
- Learner engagement by course or module
- Popular or underused materials
- Whether your training materials are meeting L&D goals
- Quiz results by module
Let’s put that into practice and say that your workplace safety module has a lower learner engagement rate than your cybersecurity training. The workplace module is a wall of written text, whereas the cybersecurity training has fun interactive features and different types of content, including video, transcript, and audio-only versions.
This is compelling evidence that proves learners are more likely to engage with training materials that come in a range of formats. So, you take this approach to future content and see a substantial uplift in learner participation.
Use the best CMS for eLearning
There’s more to eLearning CMS than just uploading written materials to share with learners.
The best platforms have advanced features that let you upload different types of content, store content for easy referencing, and use AI to speed up the content creation process.
WorkRamp CMS lets you leverage the power of an LMS and CMS in a single platform for all of your learning needs. Join the waitlist to get notified when WorkRamp CMS is available, or contact us to schedule a free, personalized demo to see the Learning Cloud in action.
Complete the form for a custom demo.
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