What Does LMS Mean and How Can it Help your Business?
What is LMS?
LMS, short for learning management system, is a powerful tool which allows businesses to seamlessly manage learning, track compliance and organise training. Dubbed ‘the smarter way to learn’, more and more businesses are realising the benefits of more affordable, scalable and easy-to-use systems.
What Are the Core Functions of an LMS System?
Businesses of all sizes can reap significant benefits from even the most basic LMS software. These benefits are obtainable thanks to the LMS’s core functions:
- Allocate learning requirements to the people in your business (training, CPD etc)
- Track what learning has been undertaken, by whom and when;
- Record memberships and other certification to support tendering, audits etc
- Automate the administration of learning in your business (reminders, invites etc)
How Could an LMS Help your Business?
Gone are the days of ‘old school’ management methods, confusing spreadsheets and overflowing filing cabinets. Now, thousands of businesses are turning to online learning management systems for help. So, how do LMS platforms help?
The businesses that adopt a learning management system find that it reduces the cost of training their people while improving the accuracy of information held about staff learning. An LMS also usually increases staff engagement through improved communication and enhances the overall quality of learning throughout the organisation.
An effective LMS will reduce the amount of time required for learning administration while improving the quality of information you hold about your people to help make more informed decisions around budgets, training requirements and performance. And the benefits don’t stop there, learning management systems have several other key advantages:
24/7 access to training (‘Mobile and multi-device learning’)
The best LMS systems allow you to host online content and provide your staff with around-the-clock access from anywhere with an internet connection. This allows your people to learn at their own pace, at a time that suits them, reducing the need to get a group of people together for training. This flexible, 24/7 access to educational materials has been proven to improve learning outcomes, reducing the cost of training while boosting productivity.
For industry-leading companies, this has been taken a step further through a focus on ‘micro-learning’, where bite-sized content is hosted centrally which staff can access on demand. This reduces the risk of employees forgetting content in the interim, allowing them to learn on a ‘just-in-time’ basis which in turn increases productivity.
Off-the-shelf training content (‘Online course library’)
LMS users can access ready-made courses ranging from soft-skill training to formal, accredited professional qualifications. Including a library of content as part of what you pay for gives your people more choice around how they progress their professional development. It can also give you a much more cost-effective way to provide essential training.
To make the most out of your LMS, it is important to target the courses that you offer. It is far better to offer a smaller range of relevant courses which can be added to over time than a large range of unfocused courses; less can definitely be more when it comes to your online course library so make sure you strike a balance between breadth and quality.
Generating your own training materials (‘Authoring’)
An alternative to buying courses online is to create your own courses. A good LMS will allow you to host courses that have been created elsewhere but the best LMS platforms will also allow you to quickly and easily create relevant content to share with your people. This feature can help you to create consistent, high-quality induction programmes for new starters or ensure that everyone in the business understands a key policy; the options are endless.
With authoring tools there is again a balance to be had; the more the system can do the more you will need to learn to be able to get the most out of it with built in tools rarely able to do as much as dedicated e-learning software. Simpler tools give you an easy route into publishing learning resources in your company and learn for yourself what functionality is required as your needs grow.
More effective communication with staff (‘Messaging and broadcasting’)
For most organisations an LMS is a relatively static library of content and information. It is a tool that staff access when they need it but is fairly passive and secondary to the ‘day job’. The very best systems provide organisations with the means to manage informal learning and communication in an active way; giving leaders and managers a platform to share updates and source ideas, enabling them to actively learn from one another. These tools are embedded into the way people work, ensuring that learning is an active and continuous process. For larger organisations, broadcast tools also give leaders a more engaging way to communicate with their people (that has more impact than an email or memo) and provides them with the means to determine whether these messages are getting to their people.
While these capabilities aren’t right for every business, more and more organisations are finding that more frequent, higher quality engagement with staff improves retention and motivation. When coupled with tools that promote ongoing, active learning this can have a measurable and positive impact on staff productivity.
Managing offline and online learning (‘Event management’)
The vast majority of organisations need to be able to deliver and track face-to-face and classroom training alongside any online materials. From lunchtime seminars to formal classroom training, there is a need to manage invites, communicate with attendees and track attendance.
A powerful LMS allows your staff to input offline learning activities and gives you the means to manage them. It allows you to create learning events, send out invitations, advertise events, allow staff to register themselves, record attendance and even issue certificates via the system. This significantly reduces the amount of offline admin while helping to keep all things learning in one place.
Incentives to encourage staff engagement (‘Gamification’)
Some organisations struggle to reap the benefits of a LMS without first changing the culture of their business. To overcome this challenge, learning management systems have taken a cue from social media applications and sites like TripAdvisor to ‘gamify’ the learning experience. By offering learning badges (awarded for activities or contributions), ranking employees based on what they’ve done and offering rewards to the ‘top learners’. Gamified LMS platforms nudge staff into a new learning pattern; helping you to realise the benefits of your investment.
When done effectively, gamification offers a low cost way to get your people to complete mandatory training, contribute to their own learning resources and engage with co-workers in the learning process.
Figuring out what will work best in your organisation can be difficult. To help you find out whether a LMS is for you, Cloudtrainer allows you to ‘try before you buy’. Getting it right can have a huge motivational impact on your people, improve your bottom line and make it easier for your people to learn and be more productive. With all the potential benefits to be had, why not give a LMS a try? Simply register today for your free trial.