Challenging the Status Quo of a Learning Management System (LMS)
Over the past four to five years I’ve asked a number of L&D professionals at every forum; what they like or don’t like about their LMS. It’s not very scientific but I’ve received some fairly unvarnished feedback about the current state of thinking among people tasked with driving knowledge in the enterprise.
Put simply, branded LMS’s don’t seem to be delivering the learning experience today’s employees demand, or the business results executives demand. Despite that, a few years ago the general consensus was that financial investments in LMSs prohibited them from more spending on something new.
Eventually it all boils down to simplicity to implement and use. In my experience, some 90% of the features are never used or not turned on, or organizations simply weren't aware of how to use them. Most unfortunate is the employee compliance that goes from a double digit of 70-80% at start to a mere 6-8% in less than 90-days of implementation.
Successful L&D organisations on the other hand are embracing new platforms that are mobile-first, cloud based, drive voluntary learner engagement and incorporate advancements in cognitive science that map knowledge to how learners best acquire it.
In this article, I want to look at 3 fundamental principles of how we can help learning and development professionals challenge this mighty goliath, passive and restrained and spur them to take responsibility for empowering their organizations to adopt a culture of continuous, pervasive and engaged learning.
1) Why you are implementing an LMS?
If the LMS is simply to track compliance courses - great, then how are we going to engage the learner? Often organizations try to solve too many problems with an LMS. Be clear that it is not the best document repository or the new intranet. In fact, the opposite is mostly true; most LMS's obstruct the way people really learn. The business benefit of an LMS might be better administration at the back end, not better engagement at the front end.
2) Governance and Management
Who will do what, by when and for whom? What is a designated process of user management, loading content and constantly managing and tracking engagement? If remote access is in place and there is a problem late night, who is responsible? All these simple issues are around governance and management. It’s like buying a car, you will need an expert to tell you which model suits you the best, how to use it and then service it regularly for you.
3) Technology vs. Experience
Engaging learners is the key. Providing features and course-ware that the learners want to partake in is fundamental to learning success. When you are training the fastest growing portion of the workforce, ‘millennials’, you have to have ‘simple-to-use’ technology that is agile coupled with ‘best-in-class’ experience that communicates to them using methods that allow for optimum participation and understanding.
The Bottom Line
Learning Management Systems are a significant investment of time, resources and change management. Be sure to assess your current learning eco system and look out for two primary things before you buy the next learning platform or renew your current one:-
a)What kind of technology will support your learning organisation? - Your functional requirements. It’s important to save money here. Paying for just one system which will manage everything from curating content to learner management and social collaboration – both web and mobile based should work out cheaper than using lots of individual systems.
b)Does your training process support an year-long platform compliance: As well as getting clear on the detail, you need to be clear on the ‘concept’ of a learning platform and what it will do for your organisation. Work with a specialist to identify your current and desired learning management processes and assess your employee’s motivation to stay committed.
At Learngage, we are helping clients with our next generation agile learning engagement platform with its simple-to-use web and mobile application to manage and curate learning content across trainers, employees and offices, engaging learners on the go and facilitating social collaboration so that their L&D team is in complete control of their business ecosystem 24/7 rather than running daily errands.
Feel free to reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org I am interested to hear about your success or challenges in this space.