Training is essential but is an LMS?
If, like a lot of companies, you’ve let staff development dwindle away for a couple of years and are now starting to consider the benefits again, there’s a lot of ways to spend your money – do you invest in classroom training or online learning? Some kind of blended learning approach? On-site or off? These are just some of the ways you might consider developing new skills and information for your staff, and an lms might not immediately seem like the most direct thing to consider. Here’s a few reasons why a learning management system might be a sensible first step when investing in staff training and development.
1st- It’ll save you money!
Once your training materials (Powerpoints, SCORM content, etc) are saved to your LMS, you can reuse them again and again. They’re always there, accessible. You’re also not relying on outside contractors to supply materials or run training, so you’re not paying transport or any of the other costs associated with outsourcing your staff development. This has the added advantage of placing the training more completely within your hands – all the decisions are yours. Cloud-based systems have an added bonus – before cloud computing systems like this would have come with software and hardware installation costs and headaches. If your LMS is in the cloud, it’s simply a matter of logging in and reaping the benefits.
2nd- It’ll save you time!
Administration of training takes time. Depending on your staff numbers, it may take a lot of time. With an LMS, much of that administration is automated. You’ll see at a glance what training took place, what staff attended, the learning statistics for groups or individuals. Also, organising the training sessions takes time in itself. In a centralised Learning Management System you can schedule sessions, notify staff and populate the content all from one system, all while sitting in your office chair. You’re not waiting on others to respond or relying on them to help you deliver the training.
3rd- Greater Insight.
Any LMS will display the results of your staff training. A good one will allow you any number of ways to filter the information, so you can see individual progress, departmental or regional variations (depending on the size of your organisation). A few clicks of your mouse will give a level of detail that previously would have required long hours of study and discussion. The truth is, business moves so fast and things tend to get swept up in a flurry of competing priorities, so in the case of most companies it will represent a level of detail and insight that probably hasn’t been practically achievable before.
4th- Mobile Learning.
This is one of the real advantages an LMS gives you over more traditional ways of managing and delivering training. Getting all your staff together in one room to either listen to a trainer or access an existing system can be a task in itself. A modern learning management system allows you to deliver your training through tablets or smartphones from anywhere at any time. Set the parameters of when training should be completed, notify the staff that require it, and that’s it! They can access it from anywhere at any time. It’s a very effective solution to what had been a perennial problem.
5th- Greater Engagement.
That, of course, has an added benefit – you’re empowering your staff, encouraging greater responsibility. A good LMS is not only a virtual cupboard where you can store your electronic training materials between uses, but ideally should be an active, exciting online environment where your staff can view and take stock of their own situations, communicate to you and each other about training opportunities, request or suggest training or development. They’ll choose the most appropriate time to accomplish their training, but more than that – they’re taking responsibility for their own development within your organisation, and you’re providing them with the tools to do so.
6th- Greater Control
At the end of the day, this is what it comes down to. A learner management system is a simple, cost-effective way for you to shape your staff’s development and encourage their enthusiastic engagement with their roles. Some of the benefits I’ve listed here are specific to online learning, but the truth is an LMS will just as easily manage a blended programme of online and classroom training. It’s that simple, really – training has to engage staff, so when you’re investing your training bucks, it’s tempting to spend a lot of money on staff-facing training days and flashy content. All that stuff’s great, and deserves your consideration, but whatever choices you make about these coal-face decisions, behind it all you must have the administrative backbone. Not only to get the job done in as efficient a way as possible, but also to maximise the benefits you’ll reap from it.
An LMS is simply a way of refining that administration, of getting the most bang for your buck and engagement from your staff. Used properly, it should be the solid foundation on which you’ll build all the rest of your training.