Reading time: 15 minutes
PUBLISH DATE: Apr 29 2024
UPD: Apr 29 2024
Reading time: 15 minutes

Cloud-Based LMS: Exploring Main Features and Benefits

A cloud-based learning management system that, for example, enables online courses can be a game-changer for your business. Why? Such systems help you train employees from any location. As a result, those frameworks are perfect for enabling a long-term transition to flexible work arrangements rather than premise solutions. The main goal of the presented article is to assist the readers with learning more about the concept. Firstly, you’ll learn about the essence of cloud-based LMS. Secondly, we’ll outline its difference from on-premise systems. Lastly, we’ll describe the core features of those systems and the benefits they bring to clients. In short, this article offers a full guide into the cloud-based LMS software technology that will help you make further decisions about systems of this kind.

Cloud-Based LMS: Simple Explanation

In order to understand what a cloud-based Learning Management System is, we should at first outline the nature of LMSs. So, LMS is a platform that is used for planning, organizing, implementing, and supervising learning. What are some examples of high-quality Learning Management Systems? They include Google Classroom, Absorb LMS, Docebo, and Blackboard Learn LMS frameworks. Those systems enable their clients to create and supervise a myriad of learning courses. For example, Google Classroom allows teachers to prepare lessons and even whole courses. Absorb LMS is notable for being a course solution aimed at employee and customer training for businesses. All in all, one can call an LMS a system for transferring our teaching capabilities from traditional classrooms to the web.

A cloud-based LMS is an LMS using modern cloud technologies to function. Instead of being placed on a specific PC or server of a particular organization, a cloud-based SaaS LMS uses the services of large companies such as Amazon to function. On the one hand, this approach enables it to work in any location that has access to the Internet. On the other hand, access to the larger computing resources of organizations like Amazon enables the decision-makers to enjoy better stability when numerous individuals use a particular app, creating one of the core benefits of a cloud-based Learning Management System.

On-Premise vs. Cloud-Based LMS

One of the most important distinctions between app types for LMS frameworks involves on-premise and cloud-based systems. A cloud-based LMS, as mentioned before, is an LMS that uses modern cloud services to function. In turn, an on-premise system is typically the one that is installed on the computers belonging to a particular company. So, the first difference between cloud-based and on-premise LMS frameworks lies in the economic relationships involved in server maintenance. Cloud-based LMS frameworks are typically rent-oriented. On-premise systems use the internal resources of the relevant business. Hence, a typical on-premise framework gives more control over all processes to the relevant decision-makers.

What are some other differences in the presented case? An on-premise system is usually more limited in terms of its availability via the Internet. It’s possible to establish a server on-premise indeed, but it’ll likely have a lower scalability. In simpler terms, an on-premise system may be less suited to significant company growth. 

Simultaneously, a typical on-premise system can be safer than a cloud-based LMS. Why? The reason is simple: one can fully disconnect such a system from the Internet. If you work with highly confidential information, this approach may be preferable to other alternatives on the market. Thus, the choice between a cloud-based LMS and an on-premise one typically depends on the demands of the involved companies in terms of accessibility and security.

What Are the Benefits of a Cloud LMS?

What are the benefits of a cloud LMS?

Now that we know what a cloud-based Learning Management System is and how it differs from on-premise systems, it’s time to review the benefits of those frameworks in depth. Here are the core elements to consider in this case:

Efficient cost usage

The first reason to invest in a cloud-based LMS is undoubtedly the opportunity to save costs. Such systems are cost-efficient in several ways. Firstly, they allow you to be more flexible with your workforce. Using those systems, one can hire and train individuals from all over the world. On-premise frameworks are limited to the offices of your business, restricting the ability to hire global talent. 

Secondly, cloud-based apps are cost-efficient because they remove various operational expenses for their owners. An on-premise system requires its operators to invest in hardware and, more importantly, in all operational tasks concerning it. One needs to maintain servers both physically and from a software standpoint. Many of those tasks are costly and require a significant workforce. With cloud-based systems, most of those tasks are outsourced to cloud service maintainers. As a result, you’ll have to invest only in the management of the cloud, which is typically a simpler task than the maintenance of the whole on-premise server.

Ease of access

Modern cloud-based Learning Management Systems improve the ease of access in two ways. On the one hand, they enable flexible work as it’s possible to hire individuals from any location. For example, an American company can easily find an individual in India and train them via a cloud system. This accessibility is great for all parties: employees get an opportunity to decide where they live; in turn, employers have better access to the hiring market.

On the other hand, cloud-based LMSs are also noteworthy for their capability to boost accessibility for people with disabilities. A common problem encountered by individuals who have mobility issues, for example, is the difficulty of finding suitable office employment. Cloud systems are essential since they allow one to work from home in numerous instances. As a result, more people will have employment opportunities thanks to such systems. Their ability to integrate special accessibility technologies is also noteworthy, as a cloud-based LMS can, for instance, have adaptations for individuals with eyesight or motor impairments. In short, the technology is likely to make work easier for a group that constitutes up to 15% of the global population.

High-quality learner experience

A typical cloud-based LMS greatly improves the learning experience of the average user. The primary reason why this is the case lies in the opportunity to use a cloud-based system from any place. Many jobs are high-paced and leave a limited amount of time for learning. An on-premise system may require a person to spend extra hours in an office during the first months of employment. Often, this process can be a source of significant stress for many involved individuals. Cloud-based systems are notable for their ability to use them from any location. Thus, the relevant individuals can learn at home or on the way to their workplace. Moreover, it’s possible to learn at whatever time the worker deems suitable.

The second vital reason for improved learner experience in a typical cloud-based LMS stems from their capability to include multimedia content. Traditional learning systems are noteworthy for being more restricted in this respect. For example, textbooks focus too much on text (even though, current technologies enable non-conventional additions) and, at best, include some images. Live demonstrations are also notable for the lack of more thorough theoretical explanations. Learning Management Systems remove this issue once and for all. They allow people to learn in multiple modalities, boosting their results through an evidence-centered method. Consequently, a cloud-based LMS is an essential part of a high-quality learning framework in any company.

Advanced future outlook

A major benefit of a cloud-based LMS is its future outlook. Those systems once again offer this benefit in two ways. Firstly, they’re noteworthy for their scalability. All that is necessary for a high-quality cloud LMS is to use more space and computer resources if one works with a larger audience. In many cases, their cost in cloud services is relatively low, making it possible to work with the same LMS both in bigger and smaller companies. An on-premise LMS that is self-hosted may, in turn, require sudden investments in its expansion. As a result, such systems are far from being as forward-looking as they seem.

Secondly, a typical cloud-based Learning Management System is also perfect in the current context of changing work-related practices. In the past, the majority of employers focused on office-based work. Today, this tradition is encountering a major transformation, and various states and their legislatures are actively supporting it. In this light, there’s a high probability that distance work or at least the ability to choose between office and work-from-home will become a de facto standard in the upcoming decades. This change is highly inclusive, as it allows many individuals formerly excluded from the workforce to maintain advanced careers. By installing a cloud-based LMS, you can prepare your business for the inevitable change in the legislation towards the one favoring distance work.

Improved security

Out of all systems, on-premise ones can be both the safest and the least safe. When fully disconnected from the Internet and run on the local networks, they’re almost impenetrable. However, this choice is often impracticable, so most firms connect their on-premise systems to the Internet. Due to lacking resources and expertise, this approach exposes them to the myriad of threats that exist online. 

A cloud-based LMS removes the majority of those challenges. How exactly? In this respect, the involved systems rely on the infrastructure of large-scale corporations, which can dedicate more resources to advanced protections. Therefore, the probability of vulnerabilities disrupting your systems is significantly lower. More importantly, you can still install your own security measures while using cloud-based frameworks. This means the likelihood of encountering security problems is low with such systems. The only way to be safer is by separating yourself from the Internet entirely.

Unique Features of a Cloud Learning Management System

Unique features of a cloud learning management system

Modern cloud-based Learning Management Systems have a unique range of features that make them better than the majority of previous options on the market. Let’s review those positive features in depth:

Reduced downtime

A major concern encountered by many self-hosted sites is downtime. This problem often disrupts even the most potent products despite the security advantages. It may happen due to maintenance needs or some significant bugs preventing stable work. In one way or another, the source of downtime doesn’t matter that much: what’s genuinely important are its effects. Downtime makes it impossible to use some services, creating a potential source of discomfort for users. For example, downtime in services such as Google Classroom is often noticed by large media. Why? Because millions of users are relying on those systems. 

What are the results of issues with downtime? Your app can have problems with security system stability. Moreover, long downtime may become a major source of reputation damage. Companies incapable of creating stable servers are usually disliked by their users for disrupting their schedules.

A typical cloud-based LMS solves the majority of these challenges. Cloud solution servers have much more means for maintaining app stability than other services. As a result, the probability of long-term downtime due to problems with Internet connection is typically lower. It’s unlikely such downtime can be provoked by outside factors like DDoS attacks due to internal protections. Moreover, cloud storage has high-quality tools for backups. Consequently, reverting to old versions of your app to prevent bugs is typically easier.

Easy disaster recovery

The preceding positive feature creates other benefits of a cloud-based LMS. Typically, cloud-based LMS frameworks are easier to restore after some disaster. Above all, cloud-based servers are usually much more stable than other services. More importantly, they also enable easier maintenance of backups. One can store more snapshots of the internal configurations and has easy methods for restoring them relatively fast. In this light, a well-configured cloud system should be easy to restore even if all its files are accidentally deleted. Various cloud systems have a strong set of precautions, ensuring your restoration data remains as safe as possible.

Ease of integration with other services

Lastly, cloud-based LMS platforms are noteworthy for their improved capability to integrate with other services. In this regard, it’s possible to connect more modules to them without encountering significant performance problems. Moreover, platforms using the same cloud services for their core functions can be easier to integrate, too. Since most technologies these days are uniform, add-ons for integrating video or streaming capabilities for your LMS should be relatively simple to access with such systems. Therefore, this technology is a perfect way to save time for the relevant decision-makers, as it removes many traditional barriers to system integration.

What Stakeholders Can Find Cloud-Based Systems Beneficial?

What stakeholders can find cloud-based systems beneficial?

In our opinion, there are two groups of stakeholders that may need the core features of the cloud-based LMS solution. Let’s review their reasons for investment in depth:

Education organizations

The first group that benefits from the investments into cloud-based solutions includes education organizations. Here, the reasons are simple. Firstly, such LMSs can enhance the PC and mobile learning process by offering more opportunities for students. They can give pre-study materials and additional information to them or enable distance learning. Secondly, LMS frameworks help users upgrade their learning approaches. They promote multimodal learning, which, in many ways, can be superior to what other organizations are offering.

Key functions they may be interested in

In our opinion, the following features of the cloud-based LMS solution can be of great interest to education organizations:

1) Course system;

2) Gamification;

3) AI integration;

4) Personalization;

5) Distance learning;

6) Automatic assessment;

7) Education proctoring;

8) AR and VR integration;

9) Multimodal learning.

Non-education businesses and non-profits

Various businesses and non-profits outside the education sphere may also need cloud-based LMS features. The first reason to invest in this sector is the capability to hire more people. Cloud-based software enables the decision-makers to make more money by hiring talent from all over the world. The second reason to consider such systems is similar to that of education organizations: LMS frameworks promote non-standard methods of learning. Consequently, there’s an opportunity to improve the results of training and build a better workforce.

Key functions they may be interested in

1) Distance learning;

2) Course system;

3) Multimodal learning;

4) High stability and security;

5) AI integration;

6) Automatic assessments;

7) AR and VR integration.

Do you want to develop a cloud-based LMS?

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