Learning and development is an important part of the organizational culture at the modern workplace. If organizations can help employees grow by helping them re-skill or up-skill, the employees would be empowered and motivated to achieve the organization’s business goals.
Traditional classroom training for employees has some limitations and poses challenges for the L&D and HR teams to implement it. Common issues faced are: organizing training for employees working remote, too little time for training, lack of real-life experiences, high cost of training management, boredom due to dry and mundane text content, etc. In such a scenario, the use of digital learning solutions or modern eLearning programs solves most challenges to a great degree.
An eLearning program or online learning course requires a steady Internet connection and a computing device, a laptop, desktop, tablet, or smartphone for the learner to access eLearning. Organizations usually host their training content on a secure website or the office Intranet. A basic website or an Intranet may not offer enough support to configure learner progress, learner behaviour, and proper analytic dashboards for senior management. This is where a Learning Management System or LMS comes into play. In this blog, we will look at the benefits of deploying eLearning via Learning Management Systems (LMS).
Corporate Training Programs
In one of our earlier blogs we have discussed that in a corporate workplace every employee must follow a learning curve for continual growth that is congruent with the company goal from the day of hire. Additionally, to make sure that the clients and business partners understand the advantages of particular products and services, it is sometimes necessary to conduct training for them. Over a period of time, most organizations have adopted online learning or eLearning for corporate training programs. eLearning courses are delivered digitally e.g. over the internet. These are interactive in nature and include features for communication between the learners and educators, unlike the courses sold on CDs.
eLearning Course Categories
There are two broad categories of eLearning courses - asynchronous and synchronous.
For Asynchronous eLearning courses, the learners can access the learning content on any device, at any place, and at their own pace. The learning programs may include pre-recorded lecture content and video, visuals, and/or text, knowledge quizzes, simulations, games, and other interactive elements.
Synchronous e-learning, also referred to as live-online training or virtual classroom training, is instructor-led and is conducted at a specific time for all learners who are geographically dispersed. These courses use features like slide decks, screen sharing, chat, polling, etc.
For corporate training programs, a combination of Asynchronous and Synchronous e-learning is an ideal method. However, how do we manage various activities such as defining a learning path, providing online courses and tracking progress of learners, conducting online assessment etc. involved in a training program? Here comes the use of a Learning Management System (LMS) with readily available functionalities for a robust learning environment. Let us now understand what LMS is and how LMS is useful for delivering online learning programs at the workplace.
What is an LMS?
LMS or Learning Management System is an online platform used for training and learning activities that include hosting eLearning content, delivering online courses, tracking progress, and assessing learners' performance to name a few. Introduced in the late 1990s, LMSs evolved from basic online course modules, assignments, and submission functionalities to the current age LMS with advanced multiple functionalities, making learning more engaging and interactive.
Role of LMS in Deploying eLearning
Let us now look into the key functionalities of LMS that can enhance the deployment of eLearning content. To make it easy to understand these, let us segregate the LMS processes into 2 main categories:
1. Administrative Processes
User Management: The user management process involves the creation, deletion, and updating of user profiles in the system. A user profile includes the details like User name, department or team, joining date, designation, access permissions to specific content, etc. For learners in the same department, user groups can be created to provide access to relevant information and learning paths.
Hosting eLearning Courses: LMS has this functionality to upload courses that include eLearning content in any form (Video, PDF, or PowerPoint decks) into the lessons of a course. This feature makes the eLearning content more engaging.
Course Management: Apart from uploading eLearning content, LMS can also be used for course management activities such as:
i) creating learning paths for user groups
ii) assigning courses to learners with go-live and closure dates
iii) lesson gating (locking/ unlocking lessons as per sequence),
iv) tracking learners' progress for completion of courses, quizzes, assessments, etc.
Data Collection And Metrics: Data analytics is essential in determining the effectiveness of training and enhancing learning experiences. Various dashboards and reports can be generated from LMS such as Course completion status (%), Time spent in learning, Last logged in, Number of enrolments, Quiz scores etc.
2. User-experience processes
Learning Path & Milestones: Learning path is the sequence of courses, lessons and topics created for a group of learners with specific roles and responsibilities. Milestones in LMS are a part of the Learning Path which is triggered when the learner reaches or completes defined points of the path. At this point, the learner can be rewarded with a badge or promoted to a new group with advanced learning content.
Personalized Learner Portal: In LMS, the learners have their own portal or a landing page that is personalized and can be further customized by the learner. On this page, the learners can view their assessment results, certificates and badges, the status of their assigned courses, upcoming lessons, topics, milestones, etc. They can customize the portal by changing the banner image or adding their photos.
Micro-Learning: Micro-learning is a great way to offer a single and relevant piece of content to the learners, in short, and easy-to-learn snippets. In a micro-learning library of an LMS, multiple learning assets such as videos, pdfs, and slide decks are stored. The learner can access any of these engaging learning content as per their choice of media.
Blended Learning: This type of learning is a combination of eLearning and instructor-led learning. An LMS supports blended learning in a virtual classroom session, where the learners can interact with the trainer and other participants. These sessions can be recorded along with the attendance of the learners.
Device Compatibility: Any device, including mobile, tablets, smartphones, computers, etc., can run the learning materials on the LMS. The ability to perform learning activities anywhere, even while traveling, is beneficial to learners.
Easy Communication: On LMS, community forums are formed for similar learner groups with common goals or purposes. Such forums help the learners and educators to communicate in multiple ways such as discussion threads, responses to specific topics, knowledge sharing, moderation, etc.
Top 3 Cloud-Based Learning Management Systems
As per the latest eLearning Industry rankings the top LMSs preferred by corporate organizations are:
Adobe Captivate Prime: to train employees, partners, and customers effectively. Adopted by Domino's, GE Healthcare, Publicis Groupe, Dassault Systems, Adobe, etc.
TalentLMS: Trusted by 70K+ teams, TalentLMS is one of the best all-in-one solutions to build and deliver training programs. TalentLMS allows users to build courses in minutes and go live by the end of the day.
Docebo: This LMS is praised for its ease of use, high configurability, robust learning management, delivery functionalities, and affordable monthly active user pricing model.
Top 3 Free and Open Source LMS Tools
For those on a tight budget and looking for free or open-source LMS tools; the most popular options are listed below:
ATutor: includes features to create learning courses in 30+ languages, share, archive learning material, and access to A Content for content authoring, test authoring, etc.
Forma LMS: exclusively fulfills the online learning needs of corporates. It includes features to train employees via online webinars, live classes, self-paced courses, and instructor-led training sessions.
Moodle: used by corporates as well as by educational institutions. It allows the users to create online courses and learning materials for various employee training programs.
Using an LMS to Foster Workplace Learning
Using an LMS for employee development may be the only option in the corporate workplace in the post-pandemic era when working from home or in a hybrid model is nearly the new norm. When employees begin exhibiting positive responses in the form of enhanced work performance, the actual purpose of offering such training programs will be achieved. An LMS significantly contributes to ensuring this. At S4Carlisle, we specialize in developing customized digital learning solutions that help you meet your learning objectives. We also offer dedicated LMS consulting support helping you choose the right LMS and migrating your training content to it. To build a robust learning environment, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org for further details.