When talking about learning management systems, the topic of external programs and training courses often arises, as well. There is a time and place for internal training and upskilling, but in the same regard, there is also a time and place to send employees out into the world to seek higher training and education in their field. How do you know which it is, or how can you tell so that you can set up a custom training and development plan for each employee?

LMS vs. External Online Courses and Degrees: How to Choose the Right Learning Journey for Each Employee

Who Pays for Training and Education?

This is a big point of contention for many small businesses and companies with fewer means than the larger corporations. However, if you can foot the bill, your employees will reward you for your investment in their future. Perhaps you’ll do it through reimbursement instead of direct payment. However you do it, you need to make sure that you’re taking care of your people and that includes giving them the education and training that they deserve.

Yes, your LMS needs to deliver the training and resources that your staff needs. However, you also need to embrace other learning opportunities that can help them excel in their roles for your organization. If someone comes to you with a higher education or a desire to seek one, you should discuss their long-term goals and how your organization works into that.

Here’s perhaps the most important part of this whole discussion: if people’s plans include eventually leaving your organization, they need to be allowed, and even encouraged, to do so. Yes, you want people to stay, but forcing them into it isn’t the way. When you encourage people to educate and upskill themselves for their professional benefit, it means more than if you pay for training specifically beneficial to your organization.

It’s a Collaboration, Not a Battle

When it comes to the discussion of whether you should use an LMS or outsource to online training classes and degree programs, it is rarely going to be an either/or decision. Instead, companies are looking at ways that they can incorporate traditional online courses and training programs along with their organizational LMS to provide people with the best training, learning, and upskilling resources available today. By simply doing that, you’re gaining the loyalty of all kinds of potential employees, and the ones that matter will stick around because of it.

Take the time to create a custom LMS solution that delivers the specific training and onboarding that your team needs and then look elsewhere for other opportunities that they can use to grow and thrive in their roles, or even as they move into other roles in the organization. The idea here, of course, is that companies that invest money in training and upskilling their employees see better retention, among several other benefits.

Discussing Career Paths and More

Part of your onboarding process needs to include a sit-down with new hires that discusses their goals and what they have in mind for a career trajectory with your organization. Doing this on day one, or even before day one, will ensure that people know the organization is a growth company and that they aren’t looking to hire people for a bunch of stagnant roles. It will also give you a chance to get to know your people quickly and see what they have in mind for their career future.

In doing this, you are building an immeasurable bond with your team by showing them that you’re in it for them from the start. And you should be, considering that without employees, your business wouldn’t be able to function. Make it a part of the onboarding strategy and the overall employee development plan to discuss goals, career training and upskilling, and how they can grow within the organization and as a professional.

What about Hosted eLearning Platforms?

For those who aren’t quite ready to create a white-label LMS that is customized to the organization, there is another option. Online eLearning resources offer a hosted solution so that your team can learn and grow, as needed, both in their roles and for future development or opportunities. These platforms are more affordable than custom solutions, but they offer all the same benefits of online learning and you can even find some platforms that will let you tweak content as you need it, rather than going fully custom with your LMS integration.

Technically, any educational resource that is available online could be qualified as an eLearning resource. This includes actual platforms, training programs, online schools and colleges, and so forth. The names can get mixed up and it can be difficult to keep track, but the bottom line is that these platforms help people grow and upskill themselves professionally and in other ways.

What about Vested Interest?

Many employers don’t want to invest in paid training or education for employees until or unless they’ve reached a certain point in their careers. Others are willing to assist from day one. You’ll have to decide what works best for you, but know that the more you give without asking for anything in return, the more people will appreciate what you have to offer.

If you want to make sure that your money is going to be reinvested in your company, you can offer learning and development resources beyond their current role on a contingency. For example, if you help someone pay for their MBA, you might have them promise you four years in a leadership role in exchange.

Ultimately, though, learning is learning and the more of it that you can offer your people, the better your organization will be for it. No matter what you call it, taking advantage of all the digital resources for employee development will ensure that you get more educated, better-trained people who are willing to go the extra mile for you because you did for them.

Whether it’s your own LMS or external degree and training programs, investing in your employees’ education and training is a critical step in retaining the best talent. If you don’t have one, check eLeaP out. Currently, there’s a 30-day free trial available and an option for a live demo. You have everything to gain and nothing to lose!