How much does LMS affect training? The simple answer would be: A lot! If you are familiar with the concept of e-learning, you know that its potential benefits are numerous. The possibilities for gathering learner analytics, organizing, and standardizing content are tremendous. Furthermore, an LMS enables unprecedented opportunities in terms of scalability and cost reduction. Training efficiency, learner engagement, employee performance, and retention are all greatly improved by introducing an LMS to your training practices.
Today, every aspect of teaching and training can be addressed and improved by an LMS. In order to give a full account of how an LMS impacts training, one would have to analyze every single detail of the instruction process; so we are going to focus on the most frequent advantages.
Software Advice is a company that provides extensive research on various software applications, LMSs included. In one of their reports for 2016, they surveyed almost 200 L&D professionals about how they used their LMS and what benefits and challenges they encountered along the way. The main findings of the report were that the majority of LMS users employed a blended learning approach, i.e. combining instructor-led and self-administered courses; that cloud-based systems were slightly favored over on-premise systems; and that a PC is still the primary device of choice for accessing eLearning courses.
But the most important finding was that the staggering 96% of users said that their LMS positively impacted their training, mostly through learner analytics and content organization. And these are just the most prevalent ones; the entire report includes a long list of additional benefits and a few challenges. This article will address only the most widespread advantages, but we also suggest reading the report if you are interested in the technical details.
The ability to gather and process large amounts of data is definitely one of the biggest advantages of using an LMS. The ability to store learner responses within a course allows us to generate reports and determine one’s level of retention, i.e. how well one performed on a course. But this is nothing new, and not something exclusive to LMS. What is new is the possibility to monitor how much time learners spend on each page and activity, which external links they follow, and how many times they refer a course. This gives a more comprehensive picture of one person’s entire learning experience, not just one’s performance. L&D professionals can use this information to identify learning patterns and isolate activities that are most efficient. They can then develop learning paths that align with these patterns and steer their learners towards success. Simultaneously, they are able to identify content that is not up to par and does not have the desired effect; activities which take learners too long to complete, or sections they just skim over or skip entirely. Once it becomes clear what works, and what doesn’t, measures can be taken to rectify any existing faults in real-time, without having to wait for the formal assessment.
Organization of content
The other most cited advantage of using an LMS was the ability to keep courses and training materials organized. Every teaching course involves a large number of units and a huge amount of materials (text documents, images, videos, presentations, etc.) which should all be classified according to level, learning goal, and so on. An LMS helps keep huge amounts of content clearly structured and easy to navigate through, which would otherwise be overwhelming for any user. The added benefit is that all content can be easily updated and quickly made available.
Second biggest advantage of using an LMS is the ability to train more people. The trouble with traditional styles of training is that an increasing number of trainees unavoidably requires an increasing number of trainers and all other materials for that matter. An LMS is a great way to circumnavigate this problem. Due to its structure and format, an LMS requires minimal resources to serve a growing audience. A training program administered through an LMS doesn’t have to be drastically changed simply because the number of trainees has changed; it can work the same, regardless of the number of users.
Consequently, this has a considerable impact on training costs. Although an LMS can be a significant investment, it can reduce training costs in the long run. Also, virtual training can be easily administered to a geographically dispersed audience. This way companies with trainees in different cities can avoid paying for trainer accommodation, training facilities, printed materials, and all host of additional expenses.
LMS puts the focus on the learner. It makes it easier for instructors to respond to different learning styles while making sure that everyone receives the same quality of training, and that everything adheres to company standards. It also allows employees to choose when and where they learn. Learners are more engaged and show better results when they can go through materials at their own pace, and fit training into their busy schedules. Multimedia content, options for social learning, gamification, and simulation further improve employee engagement. Finally, all learning materials are available on an LMS at any given time. This allows employees to access them when they need them, and apply the information immediately; thus performing better at their job.
In the fast-changing corporate world, one must always be a step ahead of the competition. And we believe that having a well-trained and well-informed staff is the best way to do that. Implementing and fully adopting new training software comes with some challenges, but the benefits far outweigh the disadvantages. YouTestMe offers e-learning solutions for professionals who look to improve the company’s training strategies.