Modern organizations are now making investments in corporate training and implementing learning management systems (LMSs) to automate training as well as reap other benefits of technology-aided learning. A recent survey by LMS consulting website Software Advice aimed at finding the top benefits and features that LMS users utilize. The results have been overall positive, like preceding years.
Since they are the final word on every new system or technology implemented across the organization, it is important to first take into consideration what stakeholders are saying. For them the main aim is to make sure that the new system is aligned to the training objectives of the organization and is able to help employees perform better. An overwhelming ninety-six percent of stakeholders say their LMS has had a “very” or “somewhat’’ positive effect on both their ability to track learner progress and the organization of their training content. A large majority also say their system has positively impacted employee engagement, retention and job performance.
Another decision that many stakeholders ponder about when implementing a LMS is the deployment model most suitable for the organization: cloud-based or on-premise. Both have pros and cons, and research shows that the choice is nearly split. Fifty-five percent of users say they use a cloud-based LMS, while the remaining 45 percent use an on-premise system.
The biggest benefit of a cloud-based LMS is that users can access the software through any compatible device that has an Internet connection. This provides flexibility of learning where employee can choose to learn anytime and anywhere – at work, at home, while travelling or even at remote job locations – especially when they need it the most. Another benefit is that the hassle of hosting and maintaining software can be avoided as the LMS vendor takes care of updating as well as maintaining it. The organization need not have their own servers or IT team to moniter the LMS.
However, on the hind side, many organizations – especially the ones who have large number of learners and available IT resources, do not want their sensitive data residing on external servers. With their extended IT resources, they choose to invest in an on-premise LMS. In addition to having more control and security of the platform, an on-premise learning management system also gives more room for customization – which is again a big benefit for larger organizations with specific learner needs.
Another LMS trend is the training methodology adopted by the organization that reflects on how the learning management system is being utilized. Some prefer self-paced training mode, while some want only instructor-led training done at a specific time. But most users (68 percent) say they take a blended approach which combines the benefits of both self-paced and instructor-led training. Benefits of instructor-led training are – trainees get individual attention, and the instructor can answer questions and ensure all students understand the material. With student-led online courses, trainees can learn when it is most convenient for them and at their desired pace. Blended learning simply combines the best of both worlds. LMS can provide support for blended learning with the help of features that align well to instructor-led classroom training as well as self-paced learning. For instructor-led training, built-in calendar feature ensures both trainers and trainees know when courses will take place. Additionally, virtual classroom functionality allows employees from around the world to Web-conference in for an instructor-led training session. In-class assessments can also be recorded, tracked and reported. For learners who are learning through self-paced e-courses, LMS administrators can create online courses, control trainee access and set deadlines. Learners can start and complete courses at their own pace within the deadlines. Online assessments can be recorded, tracked and reported.
What do the learners say?
While the popularity of mobile learning is on the rise, when asked which devices do the learners choose to access the LMS, research revealed that eighty-five percent use a desktop computer, 70 percent use a laptop and just 9 percent use a smartphone. This points to the persistent need to create learning content which is aligned to mobile devices. Many developers simply make e-courses mobile enabled to create the value of mobile learning– but that does not always encourage learners to access courses on hand-held devices. If the content is not viewed well on smartphones or tablets, learners will always prefer to take up the course on a desktop. To counter this problem, suitable fonts and image sizes can be chosen to create mobile learning content. In addition, latest technology like responsive web design can also be adopted to make sure that learning content aligns well to the viewing device.
When talking about challenges of technology-aided learning, most learners share that complexity of the learning system is the biggest challenge they face. In addition, technical issues or glitches are also a problem but most learners find it easy to overcome these with available support through online help desks manned by organization personnel or the LMS vendor.
In conclusion, it is evident that benefits of LMS implementation are clear to both stakeholders as well as the end-users. With appropriate strategies like creating a learning strategy before implementing the LMS, reviewing learning management system well and conducting user demos with target audience, organizational LMS can be extremely successful in training employees well and gaining business advantage.
Source and suggested further read:
a) Learning Management System User Report – 2016
b) Learning Management System Trends: What Do The Stakeholders And Users Say?