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Top 10 Features for your SMS & LMS

February 26, 2021

A good student management system (SMS), integrated with a learning management system (LMS) will have certain features that, once used to their full potential, many training organisations can’t live without. Here are 10 important features for your SMS and LMS.


Compliance is arguably the most important aspect of a student management system, as every facet of an RTO needs to be managed in terms of staying compliant. A good SMS will assist you with your compliance by providing the following functionality:

  • Integrations with compliance-related system such as training.gov.au, USI office, TCSI and eCAF for VSL reporting and NCVER’s AVS portal for AVETMISS validation
  • Reporting on national and state-based AVETMISS data, RAPT data, Quality indicator survey data (Learner Engagement & Employer Satisfaction surveys), CRICOS enrolments and VSL data with the ability to view and fix errors directly within the SMS
  • The ability to manage continuous improvement through an in-built quality register linked to the Standards for RTOs with incorporated task management
  • Managing trainer competencies and evidence of professional development and industry currency should also be possible with the ability to upload, verify and automatically notify trainers of expiries
  • And, it wouldn’t be a student management system without the ability to capture key student documents, such as licenses, passports, VISAs, insurance, and qualifications, to name a few, as well as the ability to upload/manage compliance and training related documents such as policies and training assessment strategies.


Workflow automation may sound daunting, but it can actually make work much easier and more efficient. Many RTOs are turning to automated student engagement, reporting and communication with staff and students saving manual admin time and cost to the business. To further eliminate the need to focus on small and trivial tasks, automation can also:

  • Increase quality management with automated post-course surveys
  • Create schedules for recurring tasks to improve efficiency
  • Run scheduled reports (e.g. once a month) and send to users such as managers, trainers, or compliance staff
  • Run a scheduled AVETMISS validation report once a week, allowing you to receive it in your inbox

Quality Management

To stay compliant, every RTO needs good quality management. With automated surveys to send to learners and trainers, RTOs can obtain valuable information and convert survey feedback to quality improvement tasks. This will help with setting business goals and distributing tasks to key staff members, ensuring the RTO is maintaining high standards of compliance

Trainer Matrix (Competencies and Evidence)

Managing trainer competencies and evidence can be a laborious task, but with a good SMS, competency and evidence statuses can be viewed at a glance. Trainers are able to upload evidence such as professional development, currency and industry qualifications while mapping to a single unit of competency, or an entire qualification. Compliance Managers can then review evidence submissions, request more information from the trainer and validate the evidence. A great SMS can also trigger automatic notifications to trainers and key compliance staff prior to evidence expiring.

Online assessments + assessment mapping

Taking your learning and assessments online is integral to an engaging student experience. An effective online assessment feature should enable you to create a range of assessment modes, such as observation checklists (practical assessments), online quizzes including short answer (theory assessments), written assessments or RPL evidence. Assessors should also be able to conduct and mark assessments, provide feedback and a result as well as applying their electronic signature to authenticate the assessment. For more practical assessment work in the form of an observation checklist, capturing photo and video evidence which directly uploads against specific assessment criteria is also highly effective.

Maintaining effective assessment mapping is an integral part of the assessment process for RTOs. It’s important to to ensure that your SMS or LMS is able to provide the following functionality:

  • Download qualification training components directly from training.gov.au including units, elements, performance criteria, foundation skills, performance evidence, knowledge evidence and assessment conditions
  • Map your assessment questions and items to related training components, or vice versa, to create mapping relationships
  • Get direct visual feedback about mapping relationships including the number of components mapped to each assessment criterion/question
  • Fully export your Assessment mapping data at both the Unit and Qualification levels

Lessons and content creation

Another important LMS feature is the creation of lessons, which can be a combination of content, media and automarked quiz questions. Through a Learner Portal app or on the web, learners have the ability to progress through lessons until they’re completed.

A virtual classroom feature can support live online lessons by allowing for setting online meeting links from an external system, such as Google Meets or Zoom, that can be sent to students to allow them to join directly from their SMS learner portal.  

Learning Plans

With Learning Plans, trainers and assessors are able to create beautiful online classes and assessments while controlling the flow of the student experience. Students will no longer have to deal with confusion when presented with course content, with lessons ordered and scheduled by Trainers alongside clear rules and dependencies for learning and assessment. A combination of self-driven learning and schedule-based progression, and keeping learning and assessments in sync with key unit and course dates, ensures that your students will be guided to competency through a seamless step-by-step process.

Online enrolments

Being able to show all qualifications and courses on your website, and managing them easily in your SMS, is essential. Students need to be able to browse courses on your website, enrol, or make enquiries with ease, and a good SMS will facilitate this.


When a new learner is enrolling, your SMS should support this process. Finance is a key aspect of the enrolment process, and should allow your RTO to complete tasks such as:

  • Charging students for their tuition and other fees
  • Auto-sending invoices when payments are due
  • Tracking and reconciling payments
  • Generating VET Student Loan (VSL) reports
  • Generating business performance reports and sales commission reports for your finance team
  • Exporting financial data to Xero, MYOB, or Quickbooks
  • Creating payment plans for students

Work-based learning (WBL)

Making paper-based work placement log books a thing of the past is the best way forward for schools and RTOs. Having quick and easy access to a WBL tool, accessible both on the web and on a mobile app, is a highly effective tool for improving the student experience. WBL is particularly appealing for learners, as they can gain industry knowledge and skills that can’t be learned in the classroom.


checklist top 10 features for your sms lms

Do you want to accelerate business growth for your RTO this year? aXcelerate can help. Learn more about our SMS here and our LMS here, or request a demo now.

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