How to Build LMS System: Type and Contractor Selection and Development Steps

Updated 07 Nov 2022

14 Min



Elearning is on the rise now, and according to the latest projections, the value of the eLearning market will reach $400B by 2026. These astonishing numbers and overall industry profits generate many questions from those who want to join in with their own digital solution (namely, create learning management system for business needs or a healthcare learning management system).

LMS creation

All sectors of e-learning industry is on the rise now. (Source: Statista)

The most frequently asked question amid the industry’s success is how to build your own learning management system. In this article, we will answer this question and analyze such points as the types of LMS systems, vital features, and list all the stages of creating a learning management system step-by-step. Without further ado, let’s get started.

What Is a Learning Management System?

Before we start discovering how to create your own learning management system, it is worth delving into the basics and understanding what exactly LMS is.

LMS or learning management system is software that allows educators to create, share and manage various training courses and programs. To provide this functionality, LMS includes various tools that simplify the creation of educational content such as scripts, presentations, audio, and video materials, as well as establish the entire learning process through thorough pacing, various assessments, grading systems, and much more. Usually, LMS systems consist of two parts:

  • CMS & Administration. Through this interface, educators conduct all interactions with the learning management system. This interaction includes managing existing courses, creating new courses, adding students, analyzing progress, communicating with students, and much more.
  • User interface. This interface may look different depending on which device it is launched on, but all platforms have one thing in common. Through this interface, students enroll in the course and interact with the educator’s content.

Types of Learning Management Systems

When your business requires a unique LMS solution, you must choose one of several types. Each of them has its own distinctive features and satisfies the different needs of the customers.

  • Learning Sites. These platforms are similar to an online store in which various suppliers can post their materials. In addition, users have access to various courses that they can access after paying with the integrated payment system. The most famous examples are Udacity, Udemy, Coursera, and edX.
  • Traditional LMS. Such services allow you to create and edit courses, create accounts and keep records for each student. In addition, TLMS can be used for internal training (for example, for universities) and a broad audience. Examples: Abara, LearnPress, Learn Dash.
  • Open-source LMS. Such platforms imply free to use by users and increase their involvement. They allow course creators to post their content and update and edit it later. Examples: Moodle, Sakai.
  • Modern LMS. This type is aimed at users of a specific domain and allows you to determine the target audience accurately. The courses of such an LMS will differ in a narrower specialization. Such platforms enable creators and consumers of learning materials of certain specifications to interact more effectively. Examples: Lessons, People Fluent.
  • Learning Management Ecosystems. Creating such a platform is quite complex, but it provides many opportunities. So, it can be an open-source platform while offering users reporting, verification, e-commerce stores, and other features. Examples: Abara, NeXus.
  • Tailor-Made Learning Platform. This type of LMS is the most profitable. By researching the market, you can choose and combine the most valuable features in a custom-made solution. Particular attention is also paid to UI / UX design, which allows users to interact with LMS in a quality way and increase their satisfaction. Examples: HBX, Moodle.

As you can see, some of the examples fall into two categories simultaneously, as they combine the best features of each. You can also create a custom solution of high quality and rich functionality.

How to create LMS

All types of LMS and well-known examples of each type.

Now, when we’ve dealt with basics, it’s time to proceed to the most interesting part of our article.

How to Build a Learning Management System From Scratch

The process of creating an LMS is a multistep process that you should be prepared for. Without knowing these stages, you are risking to make mistakes along the way and receive unsatisfying end results. We will talk about each step in detail to provide you a complete picture of how to create an LMS system for your business.

Step 1. Analyzing and refining your idea

This is one of the most important steps that serve as the foundation for all subsequent development decisions. At this stage, the future shape of your LMS is outlined.

To determine a project idea, you should ask yourself the following questions:

  • Why do you need to create your own LMS?
  • What problems of the organization do you want to solve with the help of the developed LMS?
  • Who will develop and implement the LMS?
  • What resources are you willing to spend on creating and developing an LMS?

You may have noticed that users often face problems such as complex systems. Therefore, it is worth carefully considering the interaction between the student and the platform so that it is as comfortable as possible. Another problem is that learning can be tedious – so UI-UX and gamification are essential aspects of an eLearning platform to help keep users engaged and satisfied.

Besides that, while drawing the shape of the future LMS, one should not forget about the monetization model. Often, many LMS systems are paid to exclude any advertisements and banners that may distract students from the learning process. However, let's take a closer look at the possible monetization options:

  • Paid software with a trial period. Even though paid LMS systems are widespread, they compete fiercely in the market with free systems. In order to for users to start buying your LMS system, you must provide a high-quality product that will offer users unique solutions that no competitors have.
  • Freemium software. At its core, this software is free. You offer certain functionality for free, but to unlock any other useful things, the user will need to make a purchase. For example, your LMS might have chat functionality for basic communication, but video calling with screen capture might be a premium feature requiring purchase.

To draw up a thorough plan you better use various examples. To make a perfect project plan, take a look at our project canvas example.

Step 2. Coming up With Features

You can’t start creating a learning management system without knowing what features will be in it. So you need to define all functionality beforehand. We can highlight several must-have features that should be implemented, and no LMS can deliver a proper learning experience:

Course management

One of the most important functions of LMS systems, which is the basis of everything. Thanks to it, educators can manage existing courses (change tags, description, hide or add ready-made courses to the list) and create new ones. A convenient editor should be built into the course management to allow educators to create a course of any format and any complexity from scratch. To do this, it is worth implementing tools that allow you to work with text, images, audio, and video files.

User and group management

This feature is vital for building a clockwork learning process. It allows teachers to organize students into groups, assign assignments to entire groups or individual students, send private messages and notifications to students, and much more. Thus, interaction with the platform will become complete and convenient.

Reporting and analytics

Without detailed analytics, it is impossible to find out the results of training and its success. This feature is represented by a student progress journal and teacher report. In addition to providing superficial data such as final grades and credit counts, analytics can provide vital data for course improvement. Keep track of which assignments are taking too long for students, the overall results in specific topics, and much more. Analyze the situation to understand what aspects of the course or teaching material can be improved.


Classic online learning can be boring, especially if you're targeting a younger audience. Gamification solves this problem and makes the learning process more interactive and fun. For example, you can create a simulated transition to the next levels, introduce a system of prizes for the successful completion of tasks, and so on. Thus, user engagement will increase.

Testing and assessment

Assessment is the most important stage of training, as it allows you to find out how the students learned the new educational material. This module should have the tools to create various assessments, ranging from simple tests with one answer to multi-answer quizzes and tasks requiring a detailed answer. Besides, it is worth introducing tools for setting deadlines and time limits for a particular test.

Reminders and announcements

These features are the basic way of communicating with the course students. Through notifications, you can inform students about the new course material that has appeared, the assigned assignment, the nearest deadlines, and the test results that can be checked.

User roles and permissions

Safety comes first. User roles and permissions allow editors to customize access to certain course blocks, information and functionality to ensure data security. This will give you a high degree of user confidence in your platform.

Step 3. Thinking Through Responsive Design

When developing a learning management system, you should have a well-thought-out design of the future system since half of the user experience depends on it. Therefore, in addition to the correctly selected color scheme and block design, the system should look flawless on all existing devices. Responsive design, which implies automatic adaptation to any device, is critical for such solutions.

The ability to use the platform on mobile devices is vital today, as it makes the learning process smooth. Thus, it is crucial to create a responsive web resource or mobile application design. So users can have quick access to educational materials from anywhere. Also, remember that the LMS should be intuitive for all participants, whether teachers, students, or administrators. A professional software provider will consider all these details and help you create the perfect solution.

Step 4. Packing all Information Into Specification

The next step in building a learning management system is a specification. A specification is a document in which all information about the business, business goals, the idea of ​​the LMS system, the requirements for it, its features and technologies, on which future development will be based, is described in detail. This document is compiled by your software vendor under your supervision. After you approve all the details, you can proceed to development stage

Cleveroad provides first-class discovery phase services for businesses of all domains. For more than 10 years of market experience, our skilled Business Analysts made hundreds of detailed specifications starting from small startups to large enterprises.

In this phase, you will communicate with representatives of the company who will organize information-gathering meetings to find out all the details of the project, the goals of your business, and the requirements for the project. Also, this phase includes the creation of wireframes, which are a schematic representation of the future LMS interface. The final stage of the phase is a detailed estimate that will give an accurate answer on the final cost of creating an LMS.

Learn more about the discovery phase and its pipeline in our detailed overview.

Step 5. Development Process

When all preparations are set and done, the project proceeds to the development stage. During this stage, UI/UX designers begin to create screen mockups for the future LMS based on specification and wireframes. Once the design process is finished, designers transfer all layouts to the development team. Developers use their technical expertise to turn attractive layouts into a working product. The development process consists of sprints. During each sprint, which usually lasts two weeks, developers must implement a certain part of the product's functionality.

The above process is the same for whatever path you choose, whether it's development with your in-house team or programming outsourcing. The only difference is that when creating a learning management system with your own team, you manage the entire development process, while an outsourcing company takes on this task for itself.

We’ve made a detailed overview of programming outsourcing, its pros, cons and purpose.

Step 6. Release Sequence and Marketing Campaign

When all the features are developed, and LMS is polished, it’s time for a release stage. However, do not expect that millions of students worldwide will immediately start using your product after the release. Without the most basic advertising, your release will go unnoticed. To avoid such a scenario, you should conduct a marketing company.

For the best effect, the company should be launched about a month before release. You can start by promoting your brand's social networks by creating publications about the upcoming release of your product, in which you advertise your LMS in detail and tell how your solution is better than the competitors. Also, do not forget about buying contextual advertising. It will help make your product visible, and you will be visible to Internet users for a long time. On the day of release and after it, you should not stop your marketing. Announce the release on social media, purchase advertisements where you invite to try your product, and submit posts in prereleases.

All of these methods will help you get your first users. The work with marketing does not end there either, since now the main task is to constantly monitor the campaign results. You should monitor how users behave, whether users go through your business funnel, whether they find your LMS useful, and much more.

Step 7. Feedback-Based Support

Your product has been launched live and is generating income. Now you can start thinking about LMS support and improvements. User reviews will help you with this. Analyze user reviews to understand what you managed to implement at a good level and which aspects of the LMS require certain improvements. This will help you plan for future updates.

In addition, now you can start implementing additional features that will expand the functionality of the platform and make the user experience even more enjoyable. Cleveroad team offers technical support and software updates to keep your product up with all modern technologies. In addition, our experts can help you expand the functionality or develop LMS from scratch.

How to Choose a Reliable LMS Development Contractor?

Before you plan to create learning management system, you must decide how you are going to develop it. Many factors depend on this, from the complexity of the development process to its price. You can choose between three ways, which we will talk about next.

Among all cooperation types including freelancing and in-house team, one of the easiest ways to create an LMS system is to outsource the development to a professional IT company. In this case, you will receive top-level services at a reasonable price. This option does not force you to hire employees, rent an office, or incur other unnecessary expenses. Most IT companies already have the recruitment of professionals needed to get started with any project. Also, suppliers take responsibility for team management and product delivery.

In this case, you can choose from two options:

  • Fully outsource team — Hire a team that will create a complete turnkey project for you. Your outsourcing provider completely controls all stages and provides you with a quality result.
  • Team augmentation — another option where you hire specific professionals who join your team remotely to complete specific project tasks.

Both options have many advantages, and you can choose based on your current capabilities and expertise. So, if you want to outsource project management completely, you should select the first option. On the other hand, team augmentation is a perfect choice if you lack specific technical experts and want to manage the project.

So if you have a limited budget, you can entrust the development of LMS to an experienced foreign company. You can choose any company from the world's most popular outsourcing regions that match your resources and requirements.

For example, Central Europe is considered one of the most famous outsourcing regions due to the high quality of IT professionals and low development rates. Estonia is one of the most popular outsourcing destinations in this region.

Discover the main reasons why Estonia is the most popular outsourcing region in Central Europe and why it is worth outsourcing to Estonia.

Custom eLearning Solutions by Cleveroad

Cleveroad is a leading European software development company with many years of work experience in the education industry. One of our recent projects tied with education is a School App.

How to create LMS

School App interface.

The main idea of this app is to unite students, teachers, and parents and provide all the important information regarding the learning process. Users can find detailed descriptions of school events, class schedules, notifications, helpful links, announcements, and more.

To create this application, we used a variety of technology stacks, for example, Swift for iOS, Java for Android, MySQL and Express for the backend, and Angular and JavaScript for the frontend. In addition to these, other tools were involved:

How to create LMS

Technologies we used to create School App.

Want to build an LMS?

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Frequently Asked Questions

LMS can help establish a seamless e-learning process for businesses of all sizes thanks to powerful features both for educators and learners. Educators can create any kind of courses, assessments, grading systems and so on, while students have an unlimited access to knowledge.

LMS or learning management system is software that allows educators to create, share and manage various training courses and programs. To provide this functionality, LMS includes various tools that simplify the creation of educational content such as scripts, presentations, audio, and video materials, as well as establish the entire learning process through thorough pacing, various assessments, grading systems, and much more.

To create LMS for your business needs you follow this sequential steps: draw up a project plan, come up with features, think through responsive design, pack all information into specification, start development process, launch marketing campaign and release the product.

There are six types of LMS systems: free LMS, commercial LMS, enterprise LMS, individual LMS, SaaS LMS, on-premise LMS.

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10.11.2021 at 09:07

Hi, Thanks for sharing the detailed article on building LMS from the scratch. Could you please share some more details on which software development tools or coding languages are used to support the architecture of an LMS.

Yuliya Melnik
29.11.2021 at 02:06

Thank you for your interest in our articles! We plan to delve deeper into this topic, so stay tuned!

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