What is a learning management system? It’s a powerful tool that enables your organization to achieve critical milestones and compete on even footing. However, not all learning management systems are the same. You’ll need to understand several key factors and features to make an informed decision. In this guide, we’ll explore what you need to know.
What Is a Learning Management System, Anyway?
We’ll start with the basics – defining a learning management system. It’s right there in the name. This is a system designed to help you manage learning. But what learning, though?
It’s all about your employees. A learning management system (LMS) is a framework that allows you to create and deliver training content. However, it goes much deeper than this. On the backend, it also allows you to track employee progress, drill down into performance, measure information retention, and so much more.
Why does it matter, though? To really understand that, we need to dig into what employee training can help you achieve. There’s more to it than just ticking compliance boxes.
What Does Employee Training Achieve?
For too many organizations, employee training is seen as something required by rules and regulations. It’s a hurdle to overcome – a cost that must be borne. They fail to see the actual benefits offered by training. The truth is that there’s a lot of value here.
- Mandatory Corporate Training: This type of training can offer a lot of benefits. It helps create a safer workplace with less personal friction and that is more comfortable for everyone. It also helps your employees understand important things like the benefits available to them, and more.
- Professional CE: Professional continuing education, or CE, is important for maintaining critical skills and knowledge in certain professions. Yes, it’s required by law to maintain certification or licensure, but that’s the wrong way to look at it. Instead, think of it as the key to ensuring that these professionals always have the latest knowledge and capabilities.
- Professional Development: This is one of the most overlooked types of training, yet one that delivers the most value. Professional development allows your workers to upskill and challenge themselves to grow. It helps your team grow professionally and personally, leading to greater employee retention and loyalty. Imagine an employee starting with your organization in an entry-level position, and then upskilling themselves through available professional development content, eventually reaching the executive level.
How Does a Learning Management System Help?
So, what is it that a learning management system brings to the table? It’s really just the ability to manage the types of learning we talked about above. It does this in several important ways.
- Deliver Learning Content: A learning management system’s primary function is to deliver content and to make information accessible to learners throughout your organization. You can deliver slideshows, audio content, videos, games, text-based learning, and so much more. You should mix up the media, too.
- You have many learning needs in your organization, and each one retains information better when presented in a specific way. For instance, audio learners retain information better when they hear it. Visual learners retain information better when they see it presented to them. Kinesthetic learners retain information better when they’re engaged in a hands-on experience, such as interactive content or games.
- Branding Your Content: Employees must understand that your organization cares about their training. Using premade, generic content doesn’t send that message. Instead, make sure that the LMS you choose gives you the ability to brand your content. This should go deeper than just putting your logo on the login screen, though. It should allow you to brand all aspects of the learning experience so that it’s consistent with your company culture.
- Create Dynamic, Custom Content: While most of the learning management systems out there give you access to at least some pre-made content, you may not be satisfied with that. In this case, you need an LMS that is purpose-built to allow the easy creation of custom content. With custom-created content, you’re able to deliver the learning experience your employees deserve while tying everything together with your culture, code of ethics, and more. It’s about more than creating a cohesive environment. It’s about delivering a learning experience in line with your corporate objectives and goals for employees.
- Tracking: You cannot ignore where your learners are on their journey. In some cases, you need to track completion for regulatory compliance reasons. In others, you need to track it to ensure that your learners are actually making the progress necessary and to discover if some employees are struggling with specific topics. Make sure that your LMS offers the ability to track learner progress at all steps along their path.
- Creating Paths: Speaking of paths, your learning management system should let you create specific education paths. For instance, you might need to create a CE path for licensed professionals. You might need to create a path for new employees looking to move forward in specific departments. These paths connect the dots, allowing learners to progress from one module to the next, and achieve a predetermined goal, whether that’s recertification or advancing their career.
What Is a Learning Management System? A Tool for Success!
Ultimately, your learning management system is just another tool, but one that’s critical for achieving success and reaching mission-critical objectives. It allows you to create and deliver training content, and then track, measure, and monitor employee progress through that content. The ultimate goal here is to help you create an educated, trained workforce that values learning and improvement.
However, not all learning management systems are the same. You must be prepared to do your due diligence. Vetting vendors, comparing systems, investigating features – these are just a few of the things you’ll need to do to make an informed decision.
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