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Corporate Training and Education landscape
Just like other industries, the Corporate Training & Education space has also undergone major changes with new advancements. One of the most disruptive changes has been the emergence of learning management systems (LMSs) that aid in e-learning. An LMS software is a web-based platform for delivering, tracking and managing online training.
In simple words, a learning management software helps plan, deliver, and upload training material and course content online. Users can log in to the cloud-based learning management system and access the content whenever and wherever.
They have the option to select a specific course of their choice and learn at their own pace. They can choose to hit pause and continue again whenever they have time as well as to repeat a course any number of times. It’s also possible for managers or instructors to recommend or assign specific courses to learners, thereby making a two-way interaction possible.
A learning management system software also helps managers and administrators to keep track of course completion and measure the performance of users and learners. Thus, an LMS is an important tool for an organisation in terms of performance evaluation, competency management, and course completion tracking.
Features to consider while choosing an LMS
The main features of a Learning Management System (LMS) include course management, learners enrollment, activity reporting, messaging, conducting assessments, certification etc.
It’s a great aid in planning and implementing the learning process and creating positive learning outcomes for learners. Given the multilingual, diverse workforce that companies in India operate with, an LMS software is a must-have for organisations looking to standardise the learning process.
Here are some of the learning management system features that make them indispensable for the training department:
Content Management: An LMS provides technology for the delivery of e-learning material that can be utilised to share course content, activate technology-based learning tools, facilitate interaction and feedback, and provide a means for delivery of assessment and assignment submission.
Competency Management: LMSs help measure the skills and capabilities of learners within an organisation to meet specific business goals. This also includes carrying out skills gap analyses and recommending specific learning paths to learners. This is a timely and cost-effective strategy to equip your employees with the right skills and knowledge.
Ease of Use: One of the primary factors that people generally look for in LMSs is the ease of use. In fact, as per research, 86% of American companies who use LMSs wanted to change their present systems because of a complicated interface. The best way to find out whether an LMS has a smooth interface or not is by checking if the process of logging in and accessing the content is simple and easy-flowing. The number of clicks to access various options shouldn’t be too many.
Course Calendar: LMS software can give learners a comprehensive look at the available training courses so that they can schedule and plan their courses accordingly.
Tracking and Reporting: LMSs have options for generating a number of different reports that can give you an insight into the learning curves and performances of learners. It also allows learners to view their test scores and their performance evaluation reports.
Administration: One of the most essential LMS features is their ability to organise the training process. It eases the process of conducting enrolments and registrations for courses.
Reporting and Analytics: It is of utmost importance to monitor the online training initiatives to determine if they are on target or not. The same rule also applies to learner performance. Are learners engaging with the online training material? Is it providing learners with all the information they need to achieve their learning objectives? These are questions that can be answered with a robust reporting system built into the LMS. LMSs also feature analytics that allows you to monitor online training on individual and group level.
Mobile Adaptiveness: The present learning environment is dominated by mobile and on-the-go learning. As per stats, around 32% of learners finish courses while on business travel, 24% during their commute, 26% at home, and just 18% at work or elsewhere. So it’s important to choose an LMS which is responsive to all screens and which displays all content formats properly on the screen. The ease-of-access of training materials and resources is also a huge factor that affects the motivation of employees to learn. In this scenario, mobile-responsiveness LMSs can be a life saviour. Since most people use mobile phones nowadays, training sessions which are available on mobile phones can empower employees to learn on-the-go as per their convenient times.
Messaging and Notifications: You want your learners to be updated about everything related to their course. Many LMSs offer a built-in communication feature that allows you to send reminders and notifications to learners on upcoming training events, deadlines, exams, course completions, etc. You can also use the medium to promote other e-learning courses available on your e-learning platform.
Assignments and Exams: At every stage of the course, you would like to assess the Learner and their progress. An LMS allows you to create assignments that are based on multiple-choice question answers. This can help you gauge the level of understanding of the subject. An LMS can also help conduct a time-bound exam which consists of a fixed number of questions randomly selected from a question bank.
Certifications: Online Certification is an essential feature for organisations who provide company policy and compliance-related online training. This is also important for companies that require more advanced certification features, such as the ability to track individual skill and performance gaps. Depending on the LMS, a certificate can be automatically issued based on the criteria set up for the online exam.
Tech Support: Not everyone using LMS platforms are tech-savvy. So there should be ample tech support to help you overcome any technical difficulties. For example, you have designed a program for your learners, but while uploading, you are facing a lot of difficulties. In such a case, you should have a support team to help you out. Thus while figuring out which LMS to choose, make sure you consider tech support as a factor.
Security: Previously, training resources were stored in the hard drive of the computer which increased chances of them being hacked, deleted, or modified.Keeping all training resources in secure cloud-hosted servers provides greater security to corporate training resources. LMSs contain a lot of sensitive data – the training details of learners as well as learning courses which have proprietary or commercial value. So before finalising on an LMS, make sure you test the security of the software – where the sign-in process is secure enough, what are the rules for accessibility and authorisation, and how data integrity is maintained.
Reliability: When a lot of your training options are dependent on an LMS, then it’s imperative that the software should work without any hassles. If the LMS software faces lots of system errors and failures, then it’s going to hamper the productivity of learning and training. To ensure that you don’t have a faulty system on your hands, make sure you try out the demo version once and check out the case studies and reviews by organisations who have already tested the LMS platform.
Advantages of adopting an LMS platform
Now that you’re aware of what an LMS is and the various features which makes it an indispensable aspect of the learning, let’s look at the advantages of adopting it in a corporate setting.
Reduced Burden on Trainers: There is a serious dearth of quality trainers in India. This is correlated to the fact that most trainers are overburdened with a lot of other activities apart from mentoring their teams. A Learning Management System software can reduce the burden by automating several tasks and helping trainers focus on creating a streamlined learning program for their trainees. The LMS helps create a store of content and training material that reduces the need for contact hours with the trainer and helps learners to study at their own pace.
Supplementation of Classroom/Contact Hours:
Traditional training methods such as classroom-based interactions can eat into the productive hours of a trainee workforce. Also, as different learners learn at different paces, the entire trainee batch may lag behind due to a few slow learners. An LMS can help supplement classroom hours with Audio, Visual, Gamified and Interactive content that can help expedite and improve knowledge retention, problem-solving and critical-thinking abilities. In fact, a variety of content such as presentations, quizzes, and videos is going to pique the learner’s interest and motivate them to learn more. Thus, before getting an LMS, you should first check the types of content it supports.
Efficient Course Management:
Creating a course using a different type of course material that is engaging and informative. This is a primary feature of any LMS. Course material can comprise of videos, reading material, presentations, assessments, polls etc. LMSs can offer courses that are managed by the administrators or instructors as well as course catalogues which include courses that are open to self-enrollment by learners. Moreover, they should also help customise specific learning paths for each learner and needs to avoid any waste of time and resources. For example, if a learner has already covered a particular course, there’s no point to create a learning path that includes the course again. Thus, before getting an LMS, you should always check whether there is an option to assign roles to learners or not.
Registering learners to the LMS. Enrolling learners to the relevant courses. Depending on the LMS, registration and enrollment activities can be performed one at a time or in bulk using CSV import features.
Scalability – When big companies with several global branches carry out training processes for employees throughout the length and breadth of their organisation, then it may become a cumbersome process. It may also create learning gaps across departments, countries, and branches. There may be chances of inconsistent training delivery in terms of training materials, assessments, on-the-job training, etc. LMSs can easily resolve this by providing a common platform for conducting training for all employees around the world for a company. This way, everyone will have equal access to all training resources.
Better ROI – Almost all organisations are interested in getting the best ROI out of their training investments. This becomes truer when there are a lot of employees to train to fulfil job requirements. LMSs play a big role here in optimising the training investment to the fullest. Firstly, most of the training resources created can be reused as many times as required ensuring their best use. Moreover, the online presence of the content means they can be accessed as and when it’s convenient for employees, making the learning process more efficient. It can also help meet the investment costs since upgrades and new features costs can be included in the package cost at the time of registration.
Saves Time and Money – One of the obvious benefits of LMSs is definitely the fact that they help save time and costs. In traditional systems, conducting physical training sessions can be extremely expensive. It can include several overheads such as renting training space and paying remuneration to experts. Moreover, it can require huge investments in time too. Experts will need to fly from different places to deliver sessions. Employees from various branches will also have to come together to attend the sessions. LMSs help do away with all these requirements. Employees from different geographical locations can attend common training sessions. Experts too can use video conferencing or pre-record sessions into the LMS platforms. All this can cut down on wastage of time and money.
Productivity – Finally, LMSs help improve the overall productivity of an organisation. This is achieved by reducing the time spent in maintaining the systems and updating the training content multiple times, fewer security constraints, and faster learning cycles. This means more productive hours from the organisation. When the individual productivity levels of each employee in the company are put together, they can together turn out to be huge.
In the 21st century where all operations and processes are going digital, it seems only natural that training will also follow suit. With LMSs rising in popularity, it’s slowly becoming an effective and advantageous means of dispensing learning within an organisation.