A Learning Management System (LMS) is a software application that automates the administration, tracking, and reporting of training events and performs the following functions:
It should also be able to integrate with HR or accounting enterprise application solutions that will allow measurement of impact, effectiveness and cost of training initiatives. (Ellis, 2009)
To explain this further, an LMS is a software system that lets you plan, assign, and deliver both traditional classroom courses as well as e-learning courses. You can catalogue courses and assign them to learners based on their learning need. Users login to the LMS and find out the courses they are supposed to take and follow the online instructions. Managers or administrators can track how many users have taken the courses, how many have completed, and how they have fared. This becomes a boon for evaluating their performance and also to assess if the training has accomplished its desired goals.
Broadly speaking, an LMS helps you to perform three vital functions of training:
Here is a presentation that explains vividly how having an LMS will support training management in your organization.
Previously, proprietary LMSs were the only option available to organizations. As a result, only large and well-funded organizations could afford to install an LMS. However, with open source Learning Management Systems (LMSs), even small and mid-sized business entities are able to benefit from LMSs. One of the most popular open source LMS is the - Modular Object Oriented Dynamic Learning Environment, commonly known as MOODLE(Hicks, 2016).
The best part of MOODLE is that it is open source, and guided by the General Public License (GPL) policy. It means there is no per user fee or license fee. If you don’t have in-house experts who are proficient in installing MOODLE, you might have to solicit the help of experts. This cost is usually nominal and quite affordable, even for mid-size or small organizations on a tight budget.
So, if you don’t have an LMS, now is a good time to consider getting one. In the next segment, I will share how LMSs can support the different training needs of your organization.
With rapid changes in the market and business environment, you need to train employees on a continual basis. Managing training, particularly in the context of a dispersed workforce and diverse training needs is no easy task. Learning Management Systems are therefore the best option for training management. You can integrate the LMS with your existing CRM or choose to operate independently based on the policies and regulations of your organization. You can have an LMS exclusively for your own department such as a marketing/sales department or compliance department. For example, if you don’t want your dealers or channel partners to have access to your company’s secured servers you can have an LMSs just for them to host their training courses.
LMS for Compliance and HR Training
Compliance training is often met with moans and groans and is not limited to employees but even the managers who have to coordinate and organize the training programs. More so, if employee number is large and spread across multiple locations. Often, updates in the rules also have to be shared with employees and refresher trainings conducted.
However, with an LMS, compliance training can be a fairly smooth process. Having compliance training deployed via an LMS ensures that:
LMS for Sales Training
If you are a sales manager, you know how hard it is to get your sales people together at a single place. Added to that, if you would like to include your dealers, distributors, or customers, the problem is only compounded. However, if your entire training content is hosted on an LMS, it becomes easier to assign relevant courses to your sales team, dealers, distributors, or even customers.
Hosting your sales courses on the LMS provides the following benefits:
The best part of coordinating training via an LMS is that you can track, monitor, and evaluate training at every stage. This allows you to take corrective actions or measures to ensure that there are more registrations and completions of courses. It is also easy to get feedback on the training which will help in improving future programs.
HR, Compliance, and Sales Training are just some examples, but an LMS is beneficial for all types of training. The latest LMSs are empowered with sophisticated features that make is easy to deliver training in multiple languages, across multiple devices. They also have features that allow peer to peer interactions which are always an essential part of learning and growing for individuals. The bottom line is that the LMS has to be designed keeping in mind the learning needs and training objectives of the organization. Martin Dougiamas, Computer Scientist and Educator aptly said that ‘Roots of a good LMS lay in understanding the learning needs well, rather than concentrating merely on technology’.