How to Create LMS Website – In-depth Info on Essential Features

How to Create LMS Website – In-depth Info on Essential Features

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To create a Learning Management System (LMS) website, one must gain insights into its essential features. While certain features appear straightforward to develop, there are many components that determine the robustness and usefulness of the LMS website. In this blog post, in-depth information on essential features is shared to enable entrepreneurs make well-informed investment decisions. Furthermore, at the moment, there are two essential features being discussed and more will be added periodically. 

Single Sign-On (SSO) / Social Login

New user registration and sign up process may consume a lot of time. Considering the average attention span is around 8 seconds, a standard new user registration process may take more. Thus, a lengthy signup process may result in poor user experience.

To bring ease and shorten the process, single sign-on (SSO) enables a user to login using a single ID and password. The feature is almost similar to social media login functionality provided by Google, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter to name a few. The time is saved as SSO uses information from an existing account and often enables one to login using a single click. Automatic imports such as profile image, name, and email add to the personalized experience, thus strengthening the user’s connection with the LMS mobile app.

Image Source: Facebook Login Overview

However, for a learning management system to work effectively, more information is required on any user. Other relevant details may include department, team, responsibilities, tools, and more. Needless to say, not each detail can be fetched through SSO. The LMS website created can be made to work in such a way that at an initial stage, only necessary information can be fetched using SSO. Later, when the account is created, other profile details can be filled manually by the user.

Learning management systems often require more information to complete a user’s profile. To improve the user experience (UX), it is important to ask essential details first to create an account and fill other relevant details later using a separate form.

Consider the following image. It shows a simple signup form using which the user can register himself. The single sign-on capability is provided that may enable the user to sign up using a single click. In this specific case considered while creating the image, the SSO functionality is delivered through Facebook and LinkedIn social login.

Single sign on- initial form.

While creating a custom learning management system, users can be allowed to register using LinkedIn social login. To enable sign in with LinkedIn, the web developer has to go through the JavaScript SDK documentation available on LinkedIn Developers and can integrate the same using any supported programming language.

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For example – Consider a simple use case, where a registration form in a custom learning management system requires information. To understand the concept in a better way, here is the breakdown of information into 2 information sets. 

Information Set 1 – Basic information for registration:

  • First name and last name
  • Email ID and Profile picture

Information Set 2 – Common information required by learning management system:

  • Education background
  • Skills and certifications
  • The following table provides information on fields that are essential for the registration process.
 Field Name Description
firstName The first name provided by the user.
lastName Last name provided by the user.
profilePicture Meta information on the profile image of a LinkedIn member.
id Unique identifying value for a LinkedIn member.

Table 1 – Information Set 1 – Basic information for registration

 Field Name Description
fieldOfStudyName Field of study or major.
Name Name of a skill.
fieldsOfStudy Name of the education degree earned.
companyName To fetch the company name entered by the LinkedIn member.

Table 2 – Information Set 2 – Common information required by
learning management system

Using the LinkedIn API, the above fields can be accessed using OAuth authentication. Each of the above-mentioned fields has a unique significance that might turn out to be useful at a later stage. Here are a few additional examples to elaborate the role of the above-mentioned field.

fieldOfStudyName – Information from this field can be used by course recommendation algorithms to analyse what the user already knows and present him with an advanced course in the same line of work.

Name – This is another field name that can contribute towards providing better and more relevant course recommendations based on existing skills of the user.

fieldsOfStudy – An important field name to make sense of the career track a user is pursuing. Based on this data, a package of relevant courses can be suggested that can enable the user to advance in a specific area and fulfill his professional goals.

Custom Report Generation Feature

There is a difference between standard reports and custom reports in the way they add value. Standard reports are straightforward with pre-defined fields whereas, customized reports enable one to select different fields manually, time frame to be considered, and much more.

When developing the custom report generation feature, one has to consider different factors and possibilities. Consider an example where the size of the report data exceeds what a web server can handle. In such a case, the web server may crash.

The custom report generation feature in the learning management system includes other features like the option to download reports in PDF or XLS format, report scheduling to receive the same via email after regular intervals, and internal checks to ensure the robustness of the feature.

To understand this feature in more detail, refer to the image below which shares information on essential components.

custom report generation feature.

Data Visualization in Custom Reports

Data visualization plays an important role in the life of a manager or decision-maker. The statistical information enables one to make well-informed decisions. However, charts with statistical information often require more attention and time for analysis. While the information itself is helpful, time can be saved through data visualization.

Creating simple charts takes less development time when compared to creating functionality that leverages graphics. Hence, when data visualization requirements are shared by a client, the overall cost of the project often goes up by multiple folds. At the same time, the importance of data visualization has to be emphasized as it improves the user experience (UX).

There are multiple challenges associated with data visualization. One such challenge includes the creation of visually appealing reports in PDF format. To develop the same, one has few options out of which, two most popular methods are – using CSS and manipulating SVG. A brief overview of both methods is shared below:

Creation of Static Design Using HTML/CSS

In this method, the web designer creates the layout of the custom report using HTML and CSS. After this stage, the developer connects the backend with the design.

Programmatic Manipulation of SVG using PHP

The developer can directly program the SVG format to display the custom report in a visually appealing way. In this method, there is little or no requirement of a web designer. However, as this method involves programmatic manipulation of SVG using PHP or any other scripting language, chances are certain formats may not work well with a web server that is not run by Linux operating system.

Third-party integrations are available to reduce the development time of custom report generation feature. Data visualization capability can be added in the LMS by leveraging JavaScript charting or interactive charts and data tools by Google

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Custom Report Scheduling

The most common use case associated with this feature is emailing the custom report after a regular time interval. To create this feature, one has to understand the two critical components associated with scheduling – administrative management and automatic scheduling functionality. Here are more insights on both components:

Administrative Management by LMS Admin

The admin should be provided different options to manage the scheduling of reports. While there can be many use cases, one important example can be where the opt-out option fails to function as expected. Explanation – When a scheduled report is shared via email, the user may want to click on opt-out. While the LMS may remove the subscriber automatically, the admin should have an option to manually remove the subscriber.

Core Functionality Behind the Scheduling Feature

The scheduling mechanism can be developed using a job scheduler tool. The two most popular job schedulers used widely are – Cron and Celery. The purpose of using a job scheduler is not limited to the creation of report scheduling. Consider an example where a user forgets the password while logging into the learning management system.

When the user enters the email address, the system generates a unique URL which can be used to reset the password. Here, the job scheduler is responsible to render the URL as invalid after a predefined time limit has passed. Doing so adds an additional layer of security. Needless to say, job schedulers are a critical part to develop this functionality.

Conclusion

A learning management system is a complex system that can be created from scratch. In this blog post, we looked at two essential features of the learning management system – single sign-on or social login and custom report generation and scheduling. Keep visiting this blog post as we periodically add more features.

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