It is not always straightforward to implement a robust training program across a business. The learning content and nature of the challenge being addressed is only half of the equation. The rest is down to where the learning is hosted and the ability to manage, assign, deliver and grade your e-Learning courses. In this article we’re going to cover what an LMS is, how it can benefit the roll out of your L&D strategy to your workforce and help keep the lines of communication open between managers and employees.
What is an LMS?
In short, an LMS is the engine that powers your e-learning. It is an application or piece of software, often browser-based, that aims to be a comprehensive portal for all things related to learning content and online training. So that covers the ‘L’ in LMS. The ‘M’ refers to management of the course content and the ability to manage and assign the courses to the students/employees doing the learning. The ‘S’ refers to the software that stores the content, results of who has taken the course and auditing features that are fundamental when taking compliance courses. It also includes the interface through which learners interact and easily access and manage their learning.
Can I use my own LMS?
Some organisations create their own LMS – branded and integral to the learning culture already embedded within an organisation. This tends to be with organisations such as the NHS or large corporate organisations. In this case, Virtual College course content can be shared to the organisation’s existing LMS. There are also some organisations who use Virtual College’s LMS with their own, custom branding.
What about Smaller organisations?
Smaller organisations may not have such a learning culture or a budget large enough to build their own LMS. Their staff requirements for e-learning may be more sporadic so the hosting of e-learning content by a provider such as Virtual College through our online courses via vc-enable.co.uk would be likely more appropriate.
Do I have to use my own content in an LMS?
A true learner focused LMS is designed to work with hundreds of different courses and providers to allow the learner and the organisations the flexibility to choose the right content for the right purpose. Businesses can purchase whichever courses they need, or even create their own courses to work within the LMS.
Are there more benefits?
An LMS will store all of the information entered into it, which means that managers can clearly see the stages that their employees are at, as well as the results that they are achieving. This is beneficial both on an individual and organisation-wide level. Managers can fully track how their direct reports are performing, but they can also spot general weaknesses. Is a large proportion of the team struggling with a particular course or element of a course? This could be useful information for further learning and development.
Reminders are another useful element, particularly if you’ve got compliance to think about. Workplace training is sometimes mandatory, for instance where the local authority requires health and safety training, and an LMS can help you keep track to ensure that everyone is compliant. A quick check will allow you to see who needs what training and when.
Learning is often a collaborative activity, and good LMS applications will also allow learners to group together for discussion and mutual learning. Collaboration can really improve success rates, and without an LMS it’s not always easy to organise. Some platforms will also act almost like a social platform, allowing learners to connect with one another, as well as learners connecting with their course tutors. Video is possible with some applications, allowing trainers to actually run classes too.
Ultimately, an LMS will cut down on general administration. Trying to juggle large amounts of data pertaining to training can be a full time job for one or more people in larger organisations, but generally an LMS is easy to use, which means that managers can often deal with training themselves rather than having HR oversee it.
For further detail on Virtual College’s course catalogue to host in your LMS, or about your own proprietary LMS, Enable please contact Mandeep Kullar on Mandeep.Kullar@virtual-college.co.uk or sign up to our monthly L&D newsletter by clicking here to hear more about how Virtual College is helping our customers.