Written by Shalini Saxena on 08 August 2017
During the past decade, e-learning has literally taken over the education industry and having an LMS (Learning Management System) has become a must have for every educationalist. Choosing the right LMS is not an easy task as it involves a long checklist of must-have features. One key criteria in the list is having a CMS (Content Management System) integrated with your LMS. CMS is just a Website Editor Tool which lets you create a website without the support of a code geek or web-designers. Whether you already have an LMS or planning to get a new one, in both the scenarios you need a website to sell and promote your courses. While there are numerous CMSs to choose from, the ideal option is to have a CMS integrated with your LMS.
You might be wondering - Why an LMS-CMS integration is so important? Well, How else will you connect with your learners? Where will you showcase your courses? How will you manage any third party integration required to sell your courses? The benefits associated with an integrated system are countless and below is a list highlighting some essential ones.
Any updates you make in the LMS whether it’s new pricing or course details, a discount or an entirely new course it will automatically be reflected on your website. An integrated CMS allows showcasing all your courses with a seamless flow of updated content from the LMS.
Benefit – Re-usability of content on both LMS and CMS maintains the consistency. It also saves a lot of time as you needn’t make the same changes twice.
With Single Sign On (SSO for short), you don’t have to maintain two separate accounts for your course content in the LMS and your web-content in the CMS. Just one set of login credentials for the CMS as well as LMS and you are signed into both simultaneously.
Benefit – User can log into the CMS and LMS in one go.
A good CMS lets you create an optimized website without any dependence on a designer or developer. This also maintains a consistent theme and branding between the website and internal LMS. When you write a course overview for your learners it conveys what the course is all about. In the case of an integrated system, this overview can easily be published as course introduction on the website. A course introduction usually includes the most common search terms related to the course, this in turn optimizes your web presence with no additional efforts.
Benefit - All course related data displayed on the CMS can directly be fetched and edited from the LMS.
Having a website integrated with the LMS ensures that end-to-end enrollment flow is smooth. As soon as a learner registers for a course through the website, the enrollment in the LMS also happens. This, in turn, creates a centralized repository of user (learner) data with all the account details.
Benefit - One consistent unified database of user accounts linked to CMS and LMS, means management of user profiles is easier!
CMS acts as the connecting layer between your LMS and Payment Gateway. While the CMS allows the users to showcase their courses online (Where else will you put that ‘enroll now’ button?), it also gives them the power to sell their courses using integrated payment gateways. You may choose from an array of Payment Gateways and streamline your enrollment process. Learners visiting the website, simply look at the details of the course(s) they are interested in – add the course(s) to their cart – and proceed to make the payment. The CMS-LMS combination ensures that the student is enrolled into the course and the payment details/reports are replicated in the LMS.
Benefit – With an integrated CMS, all your payment integration concerns are taken care of.
Using CMS, your Academy website can be easily linked with different social media sites allowing users to comment or converse through those platforms. Also, you can showcase and sell your courses by directing users from any social portal to sign up for the courses on your website.
Benefit – Single-click sign up for learners with their social accounts.
While having an integrated system is a must have, unfortunately, it often goes overlooked as other things like course content, instructor training, course promotion, etc. are of prime importance. Think of it this way - you anyhow need a website to publish your courses then why not have an integrated one? While the domain hosting for your LMS and Website remains the same – all the interlinked functionalities work seamlessly. BUT wait! Not all LMSs support an integrated website builder aka CMS so make sure the tool you procure to sell you courses has this silver lining!
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