LMS Overview – How to Make the Leap to an LMS
This is a general LMS overview as you decide to make the switch to an LMS. While many workplaces have already taken the leap, many more businesses—especially those which fall into the small or family-run business category—have yet to adopt a learning management system to meet their training needs. The advantages of moving from traditional forms of training (e.g., face-to-face sessions, retreats and/or print-based training manuals) to a learning management system (LMS) are innumerable. With a flexible and easy to use LMS, training can be delivered any time and any place (even at short notice) to respond to the introduction of new technologies, policies and/or procedures, employees can pace themselves and return to training modules as needed, and training can be carefully tracked at all times. Of course, if you have always handled training in face-to-face situations, the move to an LMS can be daunting. Today’s post outlines six key steps involved in moving from a traditional training model to an LMS.
1. Identify Your Training Needs
It’s important to choose the right model for each type of training. You may discover that some of your training needs still require face-to-face sessions. On the other hand, you may discover that workplace scenarios can be easily and effectively simulated online. Likewise, you may discover that you have many older workers who will, in fact, require some in-person technical support to begin engaging with an LMS on their phone, tablet or computer. Whether your organization ends up switching over completing or opting to use an LMS to support traditional face-to-face training sessions, however, it is important to have a clear sense of what your organization’s training needs are and to use this LMS overview to help you select the best model for the task at hand.
2. Carry Out a Tech Audit
In some workplaces, one can assume that all employees are already armed with smartphones, tablets, and laptops loaded with the latest operating systems, but in other workplaces, this is something that cannot be taken for granted. While some workers may be well equipped, others may have nothing but an old flip phone on hand. Find out what types of technologies your workers have access to and whether or not they already own an iPhone, Android or another type of device. It may also be useful to explore other options. For example, if you discover that many of your workers use their personal technologies primarily to play games, you may want to consider game-based learning. Understanding what’s possible and most likely to be effective is essential and something best investigated before you begin investing in an LMS. We have several other LMS overview articles you should check out.
3. Choose the Right Learning Management Platform Your Organization
The most critical decision you’ll make is the selection of an LMS. As discussed in a recent eLeap post, this entails many decisions. For example, should you carefully consider whether to select a proprietary LMS, which is developed and owned by a private company; an open-source LMS, which has been developed by an individual or group for open use; or a cloud-based alternative (e.g., an LMS that uses many already accessible online tools to create something that delivers some but not all of the benefits of an LMS). As discussed in a recent post on this topic, while open-source LMSs and cloud-based LMSs are often preferred due to cost and/or because they rely on social media platforms that are already known (e.g. YouTube, Dropbox and other familiar online applications and social media sites), there is strong evidence to support the fact that proprietary systems are more reliable and can be more easily integrated with other enterprise software systems. Most importantly, proprietary systems, which are often highly affordable, also enable employers to evaluate, track training progress and gain feedback on an ongoing basis.
4. Integrate Your New Learning Management System
Once you’ve selected the right LMS for your organization, it is time to integrate the system. You may want to start with a pilot project. For example, an LMS may be integrated by testing it in relation to a single project (e.g., training on a specific compliance issue). Piloting the LMS will enable workers to learn how to use the program over time and most importantly, enable the organization to track levels of completion. Are employees completing the required training modules? At what pace? How many reminders were sent up to achieve desired levels of compliance? Another suggestion is to carry out a pilot with a test and control group (e.g., deliver the same training using a traditional model and the newly adopted LMS). How much information did employees retain after the training? Was the LMS group more or less likely to fully internalize the training materials? What time frame was required to complete the training?
5. Scale Up at a Pace that Makes Sense for Your Organization
When companies undergo a merger, best practices maintain that the while some tasks are better handled at a high speed (e.g., integrating common enterprise software across the merged company), other tasks are better handled a low speed (e.g., trust building, interpersonal relationships etc.). In a sense, changing one’s approach to training is similar. While it may best to scale up some aspects as quickly as possible, one may want to carry out other aspects of the integration at a slower pace. The key is to keep your employees’ needs and desires in mind. If you’re taking the leap to an LMS and most of your workers are young, already online and likely to embrace online training more readily than traditional methods, inject speed into the process. If your workforce is comprised of workers of many generations, integrating an LMS may take more time as there may be a greater need to attend to employee’s resistance to change.
A critical component of introducing an LMS is the evaluation system. Be sure to check out the eLeaP LMS overview which has tracking is a built-in feature, which means you can easily track whose completing training modules, how quickly and with what level of success. You can also use the LMS to solicit feedback from employees across the organization, including managers and employees, to evaluate what features are working and what features may need to be refined or replaced to better serve your specific demographic. Choosing a flexible LMS with many options from interactive courses to streamed online videos will ensure that your organization can develop company-specific training models that suit the needs of any group of employees.
Pros and Cons of Traditional F2F Training vs. LMS Training
|Feature||Face-to-face & Print-based Training||Learning Management System|
|Content can be easily updated and revised||Traditional face-to-face and print-based training courses are often difficult to update since they rely on printed materials, which can be costly to reproduce.||Most training materials delivered through an LMS can be quickly updated and revised for a fraction of the cost to reflect new organizational policies or procedures.|
|New courses can be launched quickly||Finding time to hold a face-to-face meeting with employees can be difficult (e.g., one must consider scheduling issues, space, and facilitator availability).||With an LMS, training modules can be rolled out at a higher speed and as a result, an LMS is generally a more effective option in the fast-paced 21st-century workplace.|
|Cost-effective||Renting space, printing cost and in some cases, the cost of hiring outside facilitators can be expensive; lost productivity (due to the fact that traditional training usually takes place during work hours) is also a major factor.||Depending on the scale of the training and size of the workforce, an LMS can be adopted for much less money than an organization would typically spend on a traditional training session. With an LMS, training can also take place anytime and anywhere (e.g., while commuting to work, at home or on a break), so is less likely to impact productivity.|
|Encourages collaboration||While face-to-face training can be collaborative, at times it can simply involve employees listening to other speakers.||As LMSs incorporate more social media-inspired elements, they continue to open up new possibilities for collaborative approaches to learning.|
|Content can be consulted after course ends||While training manuals can be consulted after the fact, materials covered in face-to-face workshops are often forgotten soon after a training event.||LMSs enable trainees to easily return to materials over time, and even on the job since training modules can typically be accessed from a mobile device.|
|Compliance (likelihood that course will be completed)||Compliance is typically high in traditional approaches to training since time is allotted for employees to attend training sessions during work hours.||With advanced tracking, training compliance rates are usually as high as they are with traditional approaches to training.|
Don’t Miss These Essential Tools
- LMS Software for the 21st Century: A Guide to eLearning Solutions
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- How does E-Learning Drive Productivity in the Global Business? See for yourself.