The other day an Apple commercial caught my eye. The camera followed a young girl as she biked around a city with her iPad Pro. She used her device to write, draw, send messages, read comics, etc. And when asked, “Whatcha doin’ on your computer?”, she answered, “What’s a computer?”
I don’t normally pay attention to commercials, so it’s a miracle that this made it onto my radar. It resonated with me because that’s often the response I get when I mention Learning Management Systems (LMS). In mid-to-large organizations, they’re ubiquitous and even frequent users will ask, “What’s an LMS”?
When it comes to electronic instructional design and development, LMSs are important. The software helps with the management, tracking and delivery of e-learning programs. Many also embed social elements of learning, allowing participants to get questions answered, rate courses and even generate learning content. If you work in an information-intensive organization, there’s a good chance you’ve used one.
Here are just a few of the reasons to implement a Learning Management System for training:
- Track Progress and Performance – Do you want to know how far a participant is in a course or how quickly they are moving along? An LMS measures progress and allows trainers to address any difficulties that surface (answer questions, provide additional options/resources, etc.). Learning analytics tracked in LMSs are valuable tools for employees and managers, and also ensure that organizations stay compliant with appropriate laws and regulations.
- Centralize Access to Learning Materials – If convenience is a need, then anytime/anywhere learning should be a strong consideration for your company. With an e-learning delivery model, learners access courses on demand…at all hours and without having to coordinate with others.
- Integrate xAPI – Many LMS platforms are preparing to use The Experience API (xAPI). This e-learning software specification allows for the collection of data on a wide range of learning experiences (online or offline). With xAPI, tracking learning is no longer limited to e-learning courses within a single platform. It can capture mobile learning, simulations, virtual worlds and real-world activities to give a more holistic view of learning outcomes.
- Expedite Maintenance and Distribution– In modern organizations, change happens quickly. That is especially true when it comes to regulations for new industries. If compliance training is important, then having a central system with content that’s easy to create/update is a necessity.
- Bundle Content – LMSs give the ability to bundle courses and content in meaningful ways to develop skills. You can build out material that will sequence the delivery of content toward achievement of a certain skill, and add pacing so that it comes at the right time for the learner.
As humans, we feel the need to make sense of the world by categorizing. It used to be that learning happened in straightforward ways; via experience, self-study or classroom teachings. Now, learning can take place through virtual rooms, via tablets or phones, on computers, or by playing VR games. Whether you call it micro-learning, personalized learning, m-learning – or the many other flavors of classification we use to differentiate learning techniques and to facilitate conversations – learning is learning. The point is to gain knowledge and increase skills. In many corporate settings, LMSs have replaced traditional training centers to become the modern classroom.