What to Know About UX and Learning Management Systems

Two terms that are used in conjunction with one another are user experience or UX and learning management systems also called an LMS. If you’re not familiar with these terms, or you have some level of familiarity, but you’re not sure of best practices when it comes to incorporating UX into your employee training delivered through a learning management system, there’s plenty to know. The following provides an overview of what user experience or UX refers to, what a learning management system is, and how the two come together in the world of corporate training and employee training.  

learning management systemWhat Is User Experience (UX)?

User experience refers to how someone interacts with software. This is a broad term, but also extremely important when it comes to learning and development and the use of a learning management system. User experience can include the dashboard design of an LMS, navigation, accessibility of information, and how content is designed and structured. When a learning management system and instructional design deliver a strong UX, it means that employees are interacting with something that’s easy to use, relevant, flexible, and intuitive.

What Is a Learning Management System (LMS)?

A learning management system also referred to as an LMS, is a way a business can deliver training, education and professional development to employees. An LMS has not only the course delivery element, but it’s also a repository of information and intellectual capital in many cases. This is where employers can go not just to deliver training to employees, but also to assign and evaluate the effectiveness of these courses. The use of a learning management system offers a cost and time-efficient way to onboard employees, train them on their essential job roles, and continue to develop their skills and knowledge during their time with the company. A learning management system can be used with other training methods, such as traditional classroom training, which is a blended learning approach. An LMS can also be used on its own, as the standalone way for training to be delivered to employees.

Key User Experience Terms and Concepts

When employees are investing in training their employees, they’re doing so because they know the value it can bring in terms of innovation, compliance, productivity, efficiency, and employee satisfaction. Well-trained employees can also mean lower turnover rates. It’s a win-win for businesses to invest properly in the training of employees. When this training is delivered through a learning management system, it needs to be done with a focus on the UX. The UX can help make the information seem more contextually relevant and accessible to employees, improving its effectiveness and boosting employee retention. Some of the terms to know related to the intersection of UX and an LMS and instructional design include:

  • User Interface: The user interface is one of the most pivotal terms to know related to UX, instructional design and a learning management system. The user interface is something that is part of the actual learning management system. Yes, you can dictate things such as how employees access certain information, and the support environment offered in the learning management system, but a lot of the details of the user interface are based on choosing the right LMS provider.
  • Responsive Design: Any LMS used to train employees should have a responsive design, meaning it can be accessed from any device and any browser. The system should be equipped to show the best version of the content.
  • Accessibility: Your employees and the people accessing content through the learning management system should find that it’s readily available to them, regardless of their experience or knowledge level.
  • User Journey: When creating training to be delivered through a learning management system, the user journey is something to consider. The user journey is a way to look at every interaction employees will have with the learning management system. It’s important for employers or instructional designers to map out the user journey to see where there could be potential frustrations or obstacles, as well as seeing what the strengths are. This can help prevent problems with the use of a learning management system, such as a lack of engagement or the inability of employees to access materials and content when they need them.
  • User Personas: During the instructional design phase of using a learning management system, the team responsible for creating the content should develop specific personas. These personas represent the people who will be accessing training and content through the learning management system. Personas should reflect the specific characteristics and behaviors of the people who will be using the LMS, as well as their objectives.

Why Is UX Important?

UX in relation to a learning management system and employee training is important in so many ways. Some of these ways include:

  • A learning management system’s primary benefits are to rapidly deploy knowledge, information and training content to employees. If good UX design isn’t incorporated, none of these objectives can be met. If UX isn’t taken into consideration with instructional design, it’s going to be difficult for employees to get to what they need, and they may also find it difficult to retain the information. If UX is taken into consideration during the instructional design process, basically employees shouldn’t even be thinking about how they’re interacting with the learning management system. It should be natural and intuitive so that all they’re thinking about is the training being delivered.
  • If UX isn’t a priority in instructional design, it can cause employees to feel frustrated or unnecessarily stressed by training. Not only does this ruin things like retention, but it can also make employees resistant to any kind of training and development.
  • The use of a learning management system paired with best practices for UX can improve revenue. Thorough, effective employee L&D can help employees be as productive and focused as possible, which can boost earnings without sapping resources.

When a business is using a learning management system to train employees, they want a positive ROI, and they want to see real objectives being met as a result of the training. Without an eye toward UX, these things aren’t going to happen, however. Businesses that want the most effective L&D should research UX and best practices related to the user experience before they start designing and implementing employee training courses.

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