Future State of L&D: 5 Key LMS Strategies to Succeed“The L&D industry is complicated, with varying structures, shifting priorities, disruptive technologies and multiple audiences to appease. It’s a lot to keep tabs on, and it’s becoming increasingly more complex as new skills and new ways of learning emerge.”– LinkedIn 2017 Workplace Learning Report

In this increasingly dynamic L&D landscape, imparting the right training to employees is paramount to the success of an organisation. This calls for enabling an agile learning culture and leveraging good Learning Management Systems (LMSs) to support the learning needs of employees. But a decision like LMS implementation that can have a wide-reaching impact on the entire organisation is best executed when it aligns with certain pre-emptive strategies on part of the organisation.

In my last post, I covered a LinkedIn report on Top 2017 Workplace Learning Trends from an LMS Perspective. This post examines another aspect from the same report, also from the LMS viewpoint. Here’s looking at the 5 key LMS strategies that can boost the success of a learning/ training initiative.

1. Don’t Just Take Orders. Identify Real Training Needs

The report mentions how L&D cannot simply provide training if someone sends a request without understanding what the “real” problem is. Unless the root of the issue is identified, the chances of the training programme turning out to be a success are bleak.

Given that an LMS forms the backbone of L&D activities in most organisations, it is crucial that thorough analysis of the learning/training objectives and core business needs is done as a part of the LMS evaluation and selection process. Talking to leaders, conducting focus groups with stakeholders, checking with the IT department and reviewing operational and financial considerations are good starting points.

Another key consideration point in identifying and addressing the ‘real training needs’ is choosing between creating their own content from scratch or buying it ‘off the shelf’. Creating customised training programs involves higher costs, longer development cycles and delayed go-to-market, while an off-the-shelf or OTS programme is budget-friendly, ready-to-use and deploy with a faster go-to-market. The decision to choose one of the two depends entirely on the L&D team’s discretion but only after considering points like the kind of audience the course caters to, the modules it offers, the content provider who will be providing the course, difficulty levels of the course etc.

2. Deliver Modern Learning Experiences to Meet Expectations from Modern Learners

According to the report, learning approaches have broadened, putting learners in the driver’s seat. This has pushed L&D professionals to create and facilitate modern learning experiences. Today’s modern learning is all about adopting various forms that take learning from merely an activity to an experience, a great one at that.

One of them is Blended Learning which uses both in-person and online training used in a blended approach as per the context of training, learner profiles, training objectives etc. to optimise the learning experience.

Also, an increasingly popular form of modern learning is Mobile Learning where learners are more motivated to browse through mobile devices by virtue of the convenience they provide of anytime, anywhere access.

Similarly, another aspect of modern learning involves a Responsive LMS which means using a platform that’s device agnostic; rendering training seamlessly on any device of choice, without compromising navigability or aesthetic appeal. Leveraging Social Learning within the eLearning context is another new norm that an LMS must assimilate. Social Learning creates the much in-demand informal learning setting where learners can network, share, collaborate, and exchange ideas.

Last, but not the least, aspect of modern learning is the User Experience (UX) that not only defines how easily the Learning Management System can be navigated through, but also greatly affects the level of learner engagement.

3. Develop A Tightly Executed Communication Plan

The report refers to a tightly executed communication plan that will help get the message across in a memorable way. Such a plan will help build credibility and serve as the framework for continual and consistent communication, the report adds.

A good communication plan first calls for rolling out an effective marketing strategy that can go a long way in the success of the LMS. The strategy must focus on targeting different user groups – users, managers or stakeholders, leveraging the available channels of communication and addressing the identified objectives using WIIFM (What’s in it for me) approach.

The next action, after getting the LMS up, is to promote the LMS and the courses to create an excitement for learning.

4. Report Value to the Individual and the Business

According to the report, employees will take part in learning once they understand its benefit. Hence, an important step for L&D is to help them realise the value that the learning adds to their careers (WIIFM in action, again). Similarly, it’s important to prove the value of the programme to the business stakeholders as well.

Nothing does this better than an LMS with a good reporting too. With built-in MIS and Reporting, an LMS can quickly assimilate data and tell (at a business-level) whether the programme has been a success or not through various pre-defined and ah-hoc reports.

From the employee perspective, Certificates used in combination with curriculums (and assessments) not just incentivise learner participation and success but by giving them a tangible reward, it helps in reporting value back to the learners.

Another key way to check if the learning programme is effective is to check the learner’s understanding through summative Assessments.

Likewise, Surveys and Polls give invaluable insight into the minds of employees, which offer the company an opportunity to identify the strengths and weaknesses of the current online training strategy.

5. Build a Culture of Learning, One that Rewards Growth

The report points out that every organisation has a learning culture. In fact those that not only succeed, but flourish, have transformative cultures of learning.

An age-old technique like social learning can create wonders in enhancing the learning culture in an organisation. As mentioned earlier, LMSs with Social Learning & Knowledge Collaboration tools enable learners to share experiences, gain new knowledge and combine the two so as to create new knowledge repositories for peers.

On the same note, an LMS with a feature for managing CPD or Continuing Professional Development ensures that employees establish enough competence over the job; gain knowledge to achieve career progression and enrich their vocational understanding.

Rewarding growth (or learning) is best done by Gamification, which is known to assist learners in grasping the knowledge and skills in a fun and interesting way, with instant rewards (in the form of badges, points, leader-boards), as they play and apply them in real-world situations where they need to make decisions.

The aspects of Responsive LMS and Mobile Learning once again find a mention here considering that creation of a learning culture depends to a great extent on the WWW of learners – Whomever they need to learn from, Whenever they want, and Wherever it is convenient.

In short, L&D is and will continue to remain the core of a company’s success, and there is a need for careful strategising when taking decisions related to the subject. The launch of an LMS is not the end of the journey, in fact, it is just the beginning!

Wondering how you can truly make your L&D in 2017 work for you? Start your 14-day Free Trial of UpsideLMS now.

Author

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Amit has played a key role in bringing an innovative approach to the traditional Learning Management System (LMS) and has been instrumental in putting UpsideLMS on the global map.With over two decades of work
experience across IT and eLearning, Amit has a wealth of knowledge and hands-on experience in start-up management, project management, technology solutions consulting, and technology solutions architecting and development. At UpsideLMS too, Amit continues to wear multiple hats as the key idea generator for UpsideLMS' tech-ops team, a Sales and Marketing orchestrator, a learning technology solutions consultant for his clients and prospects, a sounding board of ideas for his team of experts and a mentor for all the function heads. All product offerings birthed and led by Amit, be it the Learning Management System or the Mobile Learning Apps, have been disruptors in the eLearning industry and ahead of their times.

                                                                                                                                                         

Amit is an active contributor to the company's blog and many eLearning forums. He has been profiled by Learning Solutions, a leading industry publication and the official online publication of the eLearning Guild, for its 'Leaders in the Limelight' series. He distils his expertise and experience into articles, which are regularly published in leading L&D and HR publications across the world.

                                                                                                                                                         

Amit has spoken at various L&D events in the US, has co-hosted webinars alongside leading industry experts and has authored eBooks on Learning Management Systems. He has served as a judge for the Brandon Hall awards in 2002 and 2004. Amit holds a bachelor's degree in Computer Science (NIT–Kurukshetra) and a Masters in Business Administration (IIM – Lucknow).

                                                                                                                                                
Connect with him on LinkedIn.