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Learning Management System (LMS) FAQs

These are the learning management software questions we hear a lot and you'll find the answers below. But if you have others, please don't hesitate to contact us – we're here to help.

What is a Learning Management System (LMS)?

An LMS or, Learning Management System, manages training activities in an organisation. It ensures that the proper training courses are delivered to target people (employees first and foremost, but also contractors, resellers etc) and will track the course completion accordingly.

Traditional learning management systems were solid, established systems that were originally implemented to manage mandatory compliance trainings. However, these days there is more of a focus on the learning experience and knowledge sharing. Those solutions are sometimes called Learning Experience Platforms, Next Generation Learning Platforms or Knowledge Sharing software.

A learning management system allows organisations to have a centralised database of course materials, assessments and online communications. A could-based LMS allows employees to access any materials at anytime of the day or night and content can be accessed from anywhere across the globe.

Today’s challenge is to engage learners and make them want to learn for themselves as well as complete any mandatory training; this is called holistic Learning. Holistic learning includes three phases:

Top-down training — compliance, product or service training, and learning soft skills such as leadership and time management

Bottom-up training — users come and look for training themselves, either in the platform or on the web

Horizontal learning — user-generated content, knowledge sharing, social learning and collaborative learning

From a technical point of view, an LMS needs to be accessible to everyone in the organisation. Being able to access learning content from a mobile, tablet, PC or laptop enables employees to complete their training on any device, improving the adoption rate of courses and increases training completion rates.

Also, being able to report effectively using advanced analytics is particularly important because the costs of training are often very high. This makes it essential that your organisation is able to measure the impact of training, and the return of investment (ROI) of training.

With the development of technology, companies now expect AI-driven learning recommendations in their LMS to increase the culture of curiosity from their employees. Having a Netflix-style recommendation process allows your employees to learn using content that is tailored to their interests and needs. Similarly, being able to access tailored content at any time, from anywhere means your employees can continuously learn and develop their skills.

To summarise, the benefits of an LMS are:

  • Saves time and money
  • Tailored learning content
  • Automation
  • Global accessibility
  • Wealth of content
  • Advanced analytics
  • Centralised learning
  • Simplified learning process

Finally, is important to note that training isn’t an isolated process in HR, but is a significant part of an efficient and effective talent management strategy. Therefore, when you train your employees, you need to ensure that their performance is improving accordingly. The reverse is also true: if you manage your employees’ performance with regular reviews, you should be able to suggest more targeted training.

As new technologies develop, so do business strategies. LMS technology is becoming increasingly intelligent and if businesses want to stay ahead in a competitive market, they can no longer rely on aging learning management systems to encourage workplace learning. By implementing an LMS and measuring its success with advanced analytics, organisations can determine if their learning and development strategy is contributing to business success.

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Who uses an LMS?

Every company that wants to develop the skills of their employees and avoid competency gaps uses an LMS. It is said that half of someone’s competencies expire after three years, which is why organisations need to encourage a continuous learning environment and have the capabilities to offer digital learning experiences to their employees. All members of the organisation should have access to an LMS, not only does the ease and accessibility encourage learning, but the ability to collaborate and feedback to colleagues across the globe contributes to business success.

In practical terms there are five different categories of users:

Employees:

To conduct their job effectively, employees need an LMS to access required learning content. The technology of an LMS allows for cross-company collaboration, knowledge sharing, feedback, targeted recommendations and encourages a continuous learning approach. If employees are able to learn and train in their own language, from anywhere, at any time, they will likely be more motivated to drive their own development.

Managers:

Managers need to have complete visibility over their team’s skills. Via a manager portal, the LMS allows managers to assign training to their employees, develop people based on their performance and conduct reports using advanced analytics. Managers can also use a learning management system to track promotions and assess their employees’ progression. As the system is automated, it also saves managers having to remind their employees to complete any training and it leaves them free to get on with more important tasks.

HR:

HR needs total visibility over learning and development in the company. Having a comprehensive view of skills and competencies across the entire organisation is essential if HR wants to run an efficient LMS. HR is able to manage training, anticipate skills gaps and offer interesting off-the-shelf content. Similarly, offering an intelligent approach to learning will not only strengthen the organisation, but it will contribute to the retention of talent and ensure that the organisation’s learning, and development strategy is conducive to the overall business goals.

The C-suite:

The C-suite wants to mitigate compliance risk. Having access to an LMS allows senior management the visibility they need to ensure their teams are fully trained and compliant. Furthermore, by having access to an LMS, senior management can determine where skills gaps may be, and which topics need to be addressed. By having access to advanced analytics and data reports, they can accurately see where the problems are and implement strategies to fix them.

External partners/resellers/clients:

With an LMS, organisations can allow external partners access to targeted information. Via an online portal, people from outside the organisation can communicate with those internally, creating an engaging learning experience. They are also able to give feedback and receive training from anywhere, at any time, ensuring that the entire organisation is involved in workplace learning. This also includes suppliers, as they have an impact in terms of product, quality, reputation and compliance.

An LMS can be accessed by a variety of users and allows for global collaboration. The technology is customisable — helping to break down language barriers and improve consistency throughout the organisation.

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How to implement an LMS?

A successful LMS implementation comes down to preparation. Once you’ve decided to embark on the project, you must ensure that you do your research and prepare accordingly.

Choose a vendor that complements your organisation and one that can accommodate the needs of your HR department. Ensure that you set the budget and expectations prior to implementing your system and make sure that your chosen implementation partner matches your own company culture. This is particularly important as you will be working side by side with your chosen vendor while the testing and planning process takes place.

After doing your research and narrowing down your vendor list, it is important to meet with your top vendors and review their software. Discuss all your priorities with the LMS vendor and ensure they can accommodate your requests. Feel free to ask them for whitepapers or case studies, proving their expertise in the industry and ensuring that they understand the areas which are critical to your business.

To decide on your top vendor, it’s good to begin a benchmarking exercise. Compare your top vendors by price, technology, security and any other features that are critical to your system. To ensure you’re focussing on the right features, involve your employees and ask them what they want from a learning platform. Getting this employee buy-in early helps in the implementation process later on.

You can also research who your competitors have chosen as their LMS provider and look at their experience with them; this insight can be particularly valuable.

When implementing an LMS, organisations should be prepared to invest both their money and their time in the process. Building a system can take a considerable amount of time and you want to make sure that your supplier gets it right. It’s crucial that you stay in contact with your supplier during the development and testing phase, and feed any changes made to the system back to your team — allowing them to have complete visibility over the project will help with training in the future.

To summarise; when considering an LMS implementation partner you must:

Do your research — Thoroughly research potential partners, look at competitor reviews and read their case studies and whitepapers to make sure that your chosen vendor has the capability to support your LMS project.

Conduct a benchmarking exercise — Choose your top three or top five vendors and compare them. Think about the features that are a priority to your business such as the technology, security, price, data protection and any others that you deem to be important and find a vendor that aligns with them.Don’t forget to check their financial stability! Ask for financial reports as you want a partner for the long term.

Be prepared — Implementation will not happen overnight, and your organisation needs to be prepared for this. Planning and testing will take an investment in your time and money. You need to ensure that your project is fully functional by the time you set it live, so thorough testing and planning is key.

Manage internally — Don’t let your vendor control the implementation, make sure that you’re the one in the driving seat. Be proactive and stay in contact with your vendor while they develop and test the system. Jump on the opportunities to test the system as soon as it’s ready and make sure you give good feedback. After all, this is your project and it will benefit your business.

An LMS is suitable for all sizes of organisation and offers the ability to manage learning in an efficient and organised fashion. In order to succeed, companies must focus on their most important asset – their people. Moving away from the traditional learning management system and implementing a new learning initiative will have a positive impact on your employees and contribute to the overall success of the organisation.

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What is an LMS?

An LMS is short for Learning Management System. It is a software that allows you to automate, manage, and capture the learning, or training, with your organisation.

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What are the benefits of an LMS?

Learning Management System (LMS) advantages include the ability to capture compliance training, reduce the amount of time and effort to managing organisational-wide learning, reduce skills gaps with to a better way to distribute and encourage a learning culture, and increase visibility to learning effectiveness to optimise programs.

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What are some key learning management system features you should look for?

  • A robust, configurable LMS will save time when it comes to dynamically assigning training – and will be able scale as your business grows, so that you are always in compliance.
  • A modern LMS will offer mobile capability, gamification, a modern user experience, and a Learning Experience Platform (LXP) that encourages users to develop their own personalised learning paths.
  • Since eLearning content is a core part of a Learning management system, an LMS that provides eLearning content out-of-the-box will minimise the time to implementation, as well as provide modern content to upskill and reskill employees.
  • Customisable reporting and analytics is important to look for, since it allows you to provide compliance reporting without dependency on other departments, as well as make data-driven talent decisions that tie to the broader HR organisation.
  • Machine Learning or AI is important to consider in a modern LMS, as a smart LMS will provide recommendations based on users to reduce manual administration efforts.

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What is an LXP?

  • Personalised Learning Paths: Employees can curate, share, and be recommended content, employees can equip themselves or be assigned personalised learning paths to develop the skills they need and stay engaged
  • Option to Curate External Content: Since many employees now learn from sources outside of the organisation, add additionalknowledge capture and sharing by giving employees the ability to curate external content. However, it’s important to leverage a LXP that ensures admin control with enterprise-grade permissions and optional approvals for externally curated content
  • Machine-Learning Recommended Content: Instead of manually curating content for every employee or group, LXPs can provide machine-learning recommended content based on employee profile attributes, interests, skills, and historical training

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Why is collaborative learning so important?

Employees often learn from each other, and a majority of learning in an organisation is informal learning – or learning in the flow of work. It’s important to encourage and capture organisation-wide collaboration for increased productivity, social learning, and cross-team communication. A modern learning software should encourage collaborative learning – the ability to follow and share colleague updates, join communities, discuss projects and learning, and share appreciation and knowledge across multiple teams. As employee expectation and required skills shift, it’s important to capture informal learning, and drive increased adoption of a common learning system with modern capabilities.

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What are the advantages and disadvantages of mobile learning?

We are living in a technology shift, which means that work is no longer just in the office. Further, many employees are often on the road, and learning in the flow of work is a necessity, not a nice-to-have. This means that your LMS should provide mobile learning capabilities, including the ability to administer courses, take courses, and capture courses on-the-go. Although, mobile learning is important for a number of use cases and departments, for some employees, learning on a desktop computer is most effective. Find a LMS provider that has done the research to understand what types of learning are most effective in what environment – so that you can leverage the right mobile learning capabilities.

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