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The e-Learning industry is booming and is entering a massive growth phase, riding on the back of the numerous advancements in e-Learning software in the past decade. e-Learning has branched out from educational institutions to various applications in the corporate setting, where e-Learning can be leveraged to improve the efficiency and quality of the training that employees receive.
E-Learning is an essential part of the Knowledge Economy of today. In such an economy, importance is given to the intellectual assets as compared to all other assets of an organization. The more knowledge and skills an organization’s employees possess with respect to their field, the more chances of the organization maintaining a lead over the competition.
Why does your company need e-learning?
The biggest fears of any business or organization are unsatisfied customers, negative reviews, high employee attrition, and a red budget sheet. If these are recurring occurrences in your company, then you’re probably not paying attention to the fact that you may have untrained and disgruntled employees, which is affecting your overall productivity. Data suggests that companies that keep investing in training and learning are also usually the top performers in their respective domains.
Employees are the biggest asset of an organization and to invest more time and resources in their growth is the only way to retain them. Only through dedicated employee training and retention initiatives, will the employees be motivated to devote more time and efforts to increase the productivity and profitability of the organization.
Organizations must empower their employees and ensure that they understand all the elements that make the business work. After all, knowledge is power, and they must be up to date with the skills that are currently in demand in the market. Business owners and managers must ensure a workspace that encourages curiosity and constant learning, this will reap rich dividends in terms of company profits and employee engagement.
Most companies today are turning to eLearning solutions as a panacea for their employee training and engagement woes. This is because it helps companies train large workforces efficiently and effectively with a minimal training staff and minimal impact on the bottom line. It also gives learners the choice to pick between learning paths and self pace their learning rather than impose a set curriculum on everyone.
To develop the intellectual capabilities and competitive edge of the organization, the C suite are now increasingly open to experiment with technology-aided education, looking for new ways of enhancing the traditional ways of teaching and learning. The need for flexible tools able to support well-planned learning scenarios is on the rise.
Adopting an LMS is one of the easy and effective ways to introduce e-Learning and training within your organization. The simple and user-friendly interface is one of the main reasons why organizations adopt an LMS. An LMS supports organizational goals along with the learner’s development and helps management measure the impact of their training efforts.
Ahead of implementing an e-Learning program in an organization, the following components are to be defined beforehand:
- Educational goals
- Instructional design
- Steps and activities
- Mechanisms to support the learning system
- Technologies to be used
- Evaluation system
- Formal academic procedures
- The functioning of the system as a whole
- E-learning Learning Systems are made up of a number of components that must operate in an integrated manner. It is about the formalization of an operational structure involving the development of the course design, the production of materials or information and the channels through which it is distributed.
An LMS is a structured environment that is specifically designed to help organizations implement better processes and practices as they create e-learning courses for their stakeholders. An LMS makes creating content more efficient, help users avoid redundancy, and help organizations manage the people – professional developers, subject matter experts, or novices – who are creating the content. If you’ve decided that an LMS is what your organization needs, you should be applauded for understanding the power and flexibility that an LMS can provide.
Benefits of adopting a Learning Management system for Organizations
Reduced Training Costs
E-Learning cuts down the costs of several other expenses such as travelling, physically available content, and more. The return on investment of e-Learning is higher than the traditional style of learning. Every person who enrols and completes a course promises a higher ROI which is beneficial for the company in the long run
Data oriented approach
To ensure effective results, it is important to track and measure the courses and progress of the learners. Constant reports and statistics on the performance is a great way to better the courses based on authentic requirements of the learners as well as educators. This will also ensure that the efforts put in by the organization do not go in vain.
Especially for Multinational corporations and other companies spread across the world, standardization is vital. A reliable set of process and protocol is to be followed by the employees irrespective of the region and an LMS helps facilitate it. The LMS can provide easy and quick access to documentation and guidelines to new recruits the world over so that they can get up to speed quickly.
An LMS increases training productivity as it does not have any time or geographical constraints. Training and Development sessions can be held even during downtimes which prevents training sessions eating into productive work hours.
Decreased Resource Costs
On an LMS system, a training and development environment is created online that cuts down a hefty cost on creating a similar physical environment. Learning Management Systems ensure that the created learning material is made available at once to a larger group of people and the material can also be repurposed time and again.
Social learning strategies
eLearning solutions have made it quite easy for companies to integrate social media as part of their online learning strategies. This is because the LMS system can be configured so that learners and trainers can promote Facebook/social media links, resources, online forums etc promoting peer to peer collaboration on the LMS communication platform.
LMS systems will help management with effective monitoring and tracking the employees’ progress through various training sessions. This is done to ensure that all learning initiatives bear fruit in the long run. When employee training is measured and quantified in the form of reporting and data, it becomes easier to craft better L&D programs and figure out existing gaps in the training. It will also help trainers measure ROI on their programs and secure C suite and employee buy in for their initiatives.
Pointed feedback loops
Trainer feedback should be specific and constructive, and it should involve actionable information that will help the employee perform better in the future, the LMS provides trainers with the option to do just that at scale. Feedback can be written, recorded voice clips, or chat. This personalized feedback will help them address their failings faster and prioritize better.
Benefits of adopting a Learning Management system for Learners
Provides a clear learning path/direction
eLearning solutions include setting an employee on a viable learning path, usually one that offers flexibility to master new concepts. A learning path is sequentially built, and it allows the learner to master a subject in a step by step manner without overwhelming them with all the content in one go. This helps improve learning outcomes and ensures that the learner feels a sense of gratification at all times.
As suggested by the VARK Model (Visual, Auditory, Reading/Writing, and Kinesthetics), learning style and preference of each person can be different. For some, it can be visual or auditory while for another set it can be a combination of both learning styles. LMS promises personalized content based on the learner’s preferences.
Based on a study done by Forbes, retention rates from e-Learning can differ from 25 to 60 per cent which is comparatively higher than face-to-face retention rates of 8 to 10 percentage. By combining resource material that suits one’s learning style, retention rates can be improved in employees.
LMS systems can help create an environment that encourages employees to collaborate, interact, and be accountable for their training sessions and what they learn from it. A good Learning Management System also provides a chance for learners to create user generated content such as videos, documentations, infographics and the likes to aid in the capture and sharing of organizational knowledge.
Studying or attending sessions at your convenience is one of the key features of an LMS. One can choose to learn more regardless of their location as long as they have a stable internet connection.
Learning at own pace
eLearning solutions support self-paced learning, which means that the learners can begin completing their targets at any time they want. They can also arrange a learning schedule with the flexibility that will allow them to meet their needs.
Organized content repository
One of the significant benefits of having an LMS system is that everything is stored in one place rather than in disparate drives and hard disks. When it comes to training, especially in larger corporations, it can save on hours of time spent in collating or finding any piece of content. Employees can just log in to the LMS and find the content through a simple search as the content is neatly tagged and organized.
Helps in self-evaluation
LMS systems help employees identify their own skill gaps and have a closer look at their own performance levels as well. This can help them work towards improving their competency and avoid escalations by acting proactively.
Learning on the go
One of the best features of opting for a Learning Management System for your business includes learning on the go. This means that the learner does not have to be in the same room as the trainer. They can download a training session and watch it later while in transit or from home.
Key features to look for in a Learning Management system
Some of the key features to look out for in an e-Learning service are course management, course material, role management, learner management, leaderboard, announcements, security, query management, assignments, forums, e-commerce, customization, reporting, tracking, analytics, and exams and certifications. Let’s explore each of these in detail.
A Learning Management System provides the provision to create multi-subject courses. One can choose to train with the help of different types and formats of content. A Learning Management System allows you to create different types of courses. Once can choose to train with the help of various types and formats of content. In an organization set up In a corporate enterprise, an LMS system allows to target one particular department or designation and also, create chapters modules to better divide the course. A good course management system means learners can also make suggestions concerning how the course is created.
Interactive learning is vital in a cloud-based learning management system and to achieve the same, different types and formats of content should be made available within the e Learning software. Course material in the form of images, presentations, videos and much more should be explored to ensure that the provided content is effective.
Within an LMS system, there are different roles assigned including that of administrator, moderator, trainer and trainee. Based on your use case, each role can be allowed and restricted to use certain features.
With leaderboards, healthy competition is endorsed within an organization. Trainees can earn more points and also get ranked based on the courses they take. With such leaderboards, trainees are also encouraged to take up more courses and add to their skill set.
It is normal for trainees to have queries about the courses that they’re taking. An efficient LMS allows trainees to create queries that will be shared with the trainer and later resolved with the appropriate resolution.
An e-learning software should allow conducting assignments that can easily be evaluated. Apart from having assignments, the trainers should also be able to display the results and reports of such tests to the trainees.
Course content can seem tricky to people and discussion forums can be helpful to understand the content better. Through course forums, trainees can check on questions posted already and also post their own queries and have further discussions if needed. By receiving responses from fellow trainees and trainers, more information can be gathered on a particular topic of confusion.
For an organization, their branding is extremely important and an LMS that allows customization based on company theme and branding properties is highly preferred to an off-brand solution. An LMS must be similar to a White Label solution that can be customized according to an organization’s brand guidelines.
Reporting, tracking, analytics
A good LMS will allow you to access reports and track the progress, course completions, enrollments, queries, and more.
Excellent User Experiences
Your Learning Management System tools may be the best, but it’s no use if your users don’t know how to use it. Excellent user experience includes having a smooth user interface with sufficient onboarding tools, tips and tutorials so that users are familiar with the system.
Support & Community
Before you take on LMS, ensure that it offers free call/mail support, and that they respond quickly to support requests. Shoddy support can waylay all the benefits you reap from implementing an LMS system.
A learning path makes the knowledge transfer process simpler and more organized for trainees, but it’s not always easy for course designers to create these paths for their students. This is where an LMS comes into play. An LMS helps implement learning in a structured, sequenced manner with the option to branch into any field or career path that the trainee wants to pursue. Each career path will have a different focus in terms of content, questionnaires, tutorials and training. This means that the trainees can visualize their own career progression, leading to higher employee satisfaction and retention.
Making a choice: Cloud v/s On-premise LMS implementation
On-Premise is when the implementation of the LMS is done on your company servers. This option often incurs a heavy up front payment, and then the system updates and maintenance is done on a periodic basis. On-Premise LMS is highly customizable and it offers great control over LMS data and the implementation process. On-premise LMS systems are usually opted for by large MNCs that have highly complex training content and require specific security protocols. It’s also implemented by companies that have more than enough storage capacity and are willing to implement the LMS solution along with other software programs in house.
Cloud LMS is set up and implemented from a private cloud by the LMS provided and is provided as a SaaS product. Since this system is hosted on an external cloud, it is quite affordable and is a great choice if you’re on a budget. This system is great for small to medium scale companies. Cloud LMS allows trainers and instructional designers to simply log into the platform and upload course content, create new courses, and communicate with learners remotely. Since the maintenance and updates are done at the vendor end there’s no need to invest in a dedicated team for software updates, maintenance, and server upkeep.