Certain learning management systems (LMS) can look simple from the outset, but once you dive in, you realize that there is more to it than meets the eye, especially when building and managing online training courses.

Having training content organized in a way that’s both thoughtful and easy to understand can be quite helpful when you’re putting together an online training program. We recommend the following best practices.

Organize/Chunk Your Content

  • For large courses, use folders to organize your content. Each folder can consist of multiple modules and a quiz.
  • Use prerequisites to restrict access to certain modules. For example, you can set your prerequisites sequentially so each module is a prerequisite of the next. Alternatively, you can require your learners to take a pre-test before accessing the course, the results of which can be analyzed against a post-test to gauge learning improvement.
  • Break up content into easily digestible chunks/modules to make it easier to build and manage online training courses. Another benefit of chunking is that it enables you to easily create and update smaller modules as opposed to longer ones. You can also mix and match modules to create custom courses for clients if needed.

Design Courses with Intention

  • Add course and module descriptions to provide direction to learners. Use all your communication modes to ease learner frustration.
  • ​​Determine if all items or modules will be mandatory for course completion. For example, you can add additional readings or resources to your course that can be helpful to the learner but are not necessarily required to complete the course.
  • Add documents/guides into modules that learners can download or access whenever they need. However, you should only do this for documents that won’t need to be updated often or at all.
  • Determine how many attempts a learner has at launching a course (limited vs. unlimited).
    • Pro Tip: When determining to limit someone’s course attempts, make sure to also consider what happens next:
      • What happens when a learner has multiple false starts vs multiple failures?
      • Who is responsible for granting more attempts? What does the process to get more attempts look like?
    • These are all questions that need to be considered prior to limiting attempts. Ensure that the attempt limit is well-communicated to learners, and provide any relevant details on what their options are if they fail each attempt. Also, test, test, and test again to determine what the LMS is classifying as an attempt.

Use Assessments

Having intentional plans for quizzing is another part of building and managing online training courses. A few things to think about include:

  • Decide whether you want internal LMS quizzing vs SCORM-compliant authoring tool quizzing. Some LMS are equipped with built-in quiz tools, which can make the building and assigning of quizzes easier or harder. Make sure to understand how these tools work and the limitations that you may face when using them.
  • Ensure that your LMS provides the data/reports needed for the specific type of assessment that you’ve designed.
    • Pro Tip: This is a critical part of the plan because your LMS may provide more reports based on the type of assessment designed. Take the time to understand the types of assessment reporting options.

Create Client Sites

If you are a seller of training content, using an LMS that enables multi-tenant usage can make content management easier for yourself and your clients.

When you get a new client, all you must do is create a site for them and grant access to the course content. This will enable you to grant access to either a standard course or a course library or to load a customized/proprietary module directly to that client site.

When it comes to updating content, a multi-tenant LMS makes this easy. A single update for one module will update it for all courses that that module is in for all clients.


The best practices for building and managing online training courses include using folders to organize your training content, chunking content, and being intentional in your course design and assessment planning. Also, if you are a seller of training content, having an LMS that enables multi-tenant usage is a big win. Creating multiple client sites is great for various selling scenarios and helps with keeping content updated across multiple clients.

Another big takeaway is making sure that you understand all the features that your LMS has to offer and how those features can be used best for your training program and your learners. Key features that you should understand include communication tools, such as emails, and reporting functionality. As a seller of training content, you should be able to provide your clients with recommendations and best practices for how to use their own LMS once your training content has been provided.

Likewise, having your own LMS that you can market to your clients is a great selling point when it comes to building and managing online training content.

Here at Firmwater, we don’t just sell an LMS for training providers. We partner with our clients, giving them the tools and insights they need to implement the best practices in e-learning course development, growth, and delivery. We care too much about our customers’ businesses to have them wade through forums and chatbots for help.

Ready to use an LMS that’s designed for the way YOU work, with a team dedicated to YOUR needs? Book a no-obligation consultation directly with our team today!