Learning Management System may be defined as an eLearning software through which educational institutes and corporates deliver educational content (called online courses). Through the LMS the teachers/ instructors/trainers can administer the content, have a live face-to-face interaction with learners over the internet, keep track of attendance, give assignments, hold discussion forums and sell their online courses.
Benefits of LMS for Organizations
The internet has been a blessing for allowing knowledge to reach the remotest corner of the world. The SaaS LMS has enabled organizations to gain multiple benefits which save cost, effort and time for the organization in the following ways
- Connecting with remotely located employees
- Saving costs on arranging for training in a physical location (travel costs, lodging costs, learning material cost).
- Saving time as through the LMS, one can reach the other in minutes for a learning session.
- Limiting efforts in creating, updating and sharing learning modules.
- Customizing of learning modules is easy on the LMS.
- The end-to-end functionality of the LMS makes it easy to administer modules, monitor and track progress of individuals.
However, at the end of the spectrum are issues that organizations face because of LMSs that are not wholly suitable for them, leading them to repurpose or find ways and means to redesign their LMS.
Issues Faced by Organizations
Most organizations have their own LMS or have bought an LMS from a vendor. These Learning Management Sytems are one-size-fits-all models which lead to dissatisfaction and poor learning outcomes among employees. There are multiple issues highlighted by users:
- Dependency on Technology: Learning management systems are based on technologies that are changing rapidly. Internet, servers, hardware, browser compatibility, updating of hardware-based LMS, and not being compatible with MacBooks are all real issues that may limit usage, reach and communication between technologies of the courseware and LMS. Sometimes LMSs may also be incompatible with existing Human Resource Information Systems which may mean that managers end up using two interfaces for similar tasks leading to double work. Software updates to the LMS may be between too few or too many which again may cause glitches or would require troubleshooting. Organizations need to pay attention to the technical details – which they often miss, causing discontentment.
- Old User-Interface: LMSs may not be updated with the latest UI designs such as Google Material design making them un-intuitive to use and difficult to navigate. The design may not include displaying course content (header, description among other things) as the organization wants for better visibility. LMS should be updated with regards to their look and feel which can ensure user engagement.
- Not Mobile Ready: Remotely located employees benefit with a mobile-ready learning delivery platform as information is easily accessible on the go. However, most of the LMSs do not have a mobile-ready platform, which does not solve this issue.
- Lack of Organizational Fit: Some issues faced at the organizational level is that LMS cannot include existing workflows, proving to be a hurdle in dispensing content. Features wise, the LMS may have incomplete Tests, and Assessments / Reports and Analytics features that are needed by the organization but which may not be available – or difficult to customize.
- Tracking Employee Behaviour post-training: This is another issue with learning management systems that they are unable to monitor or reinforce changes in behavior post-training.
- Cost of the LMS: Cost of the platform may not include the cost to customize the platform. Which would mean that each time there is customization, the organization may be charged- making the LMS cost ineffective.
- Customer Support: Sometimes LMS customer support fails to solve queries on time leading to misuse or incorrect use of a particular feature.
After investing time, money and effort in an LMS that suits the organizations needs approximately, organizations need to keep repurposing their LMS so that employees are actively engaged and can learn effectively.
Repurposing Your LMS – How?
Through APIs and Plugins: Organizations already using an LMS can incorporate different apps and software into the existing LMS through APIs and plugins. Each organization can customize LMS platform with different functionalities (some can help with tests and assessments, others with reports and analytics, adding apps that may integrate game-based modules or gamification, among many others). Many LMSs lack live classes features through which they can interact face-to-face with employees online. Such features may also be incorporated via APIs and Plugins.
Implementing Methods of Learning: As online learning progresses, trainers are looking for ways and means to ensure that learning sticks to the employee. It is essential to incorporate such methods into training as the effectiveness of training cannot be compromised by cost. It has been seen that instructor-led live online training are more effective in retention of learning material and helping to increase course completion rates. Also, creating modules to reinforce learning after training are a part of using these methods of learning. Learning techniques such as blended Learning method flipped learning methods, and personalized learning methods are being during training to help employees learn better.
Creating training modules in course formats for easy learning: Good LMSs have course structures which help to build a seamless and organized course. This structure may be used to create training modules which too will take on an organized flow. The instructors may utilize the functionality of the LMS for uploading any file to the course to create dynamic, engaging content for the employees.
How are Corporates repurposing LMS in various areas?
- Employee Training & Onboarding: LMSs have been successfully used to onboard and train employees of the organization. Organizations have used LMSs successfully for employee training and onboarding. For example, successful training of sales staff who are on the move via LMS mobile application, and online training of staff managing a salon outlet through an LMS have been done.
- Customer Training & Onboarding: The customer experience is paramount and helping the customer understand more about a product and use it for their benefit – it is essential for organizations to implement programs that hold the customer’s hand and give them a walkthrough of the product. Modules made through an LMS can be customized for each product and questions may be answered through a live class or a course at the end of which there is a multiple choice question assessment.
- Partner Training & Onboarding: Partners may be referred to as retailers, distributors, suppliers, manufacturers, and others in a similar capacity are helping the organization carry out its business. The organization may need to train these partners to align them with quality and other business standards. Also, training partners give an opportunity to both the parties to understand each other’s processes and methods of operating.
- Webinars: Corporates may use the live classroom feature of the LMS to host webinars within or outside the organization.
Repurposing your LMS to suit your organization’s need can be done quickly. Apart from using APIs and Plugins, the LMS vendor may be more than happy to update specific features to accommodate your requirements.
A great LMS would have end-to-end features such a virtual classroom, course builder, test and assessments, reports and analytics, mLearning and an eCommerce setup in it is backend.