By Megan Hudson, Better Buys
An LMS (Learning Management System) is fast becoming an essential tool for all kinds of businesses. LMS helps you with managing things like courses, students and enrollments, thus aiding in your goals to upskill, train and certify employees. A good LMS, however, should do more than just let you offer courses to your employees. It should, for starters, provide insights into their learning habits and give you the tools to track how each person enrolled is doing in their coursework. Just to name one of the many checks and balances LMS can bring, to help you ensure that you’re offering the right options to your employees, and that they are making the most of what you are providing.
Despite what you might think, an LMS is not a one-off solution that you purchase once and be done with it. The available solutions are often a trade-off between involvement and customization, and long term results. It’s a system that should always be working for you and give your company exactly what it needs. If your organization is new to the LMS, define clear goals for it before the procurement process starts. If you’ve already deployed an LMS, keep an eye on the solutions available in the market, as well as new features and available integrations.
You should not be afraid to update your LMS the moment it is no longer serving your needs. Here are some elements to look out for when assessing your LMS:
1. It hasn’t stayed up to date with technology advancements
Many people get so used to a system that they struggle to spot when it is time to change, while the rest of the world moves on with faster, friendlier and likely more secure solutions. If your LMS is not providing regular updates to ensure that it is compatible with the latest operating software systems and devices —let alone the essential security fixes every software needs— then it isn’t going to continue to work for you in the long run. It may not even be working for you properly right now.
Integration into other systems is also a key element for a good LMS in business. If the program can’t work with third-party tools like video conferencing or learning analytics, then it is highly likely that employees will grow frustrated with the system.
2. Courses have moved on but your LMS hasn’t
Whatever the reason you bought your LMS for in your company – upskilling employees, staying up to date on compliance concerns, ensuring employees are fully trained for their specific job requirements – it’s important that the courses the software can manage are still relevant. This is especially true when it comes to compliance with regulations, both general as well as in your specific industry. Privacy regulations are the perfect example of fast evolving rules to which your systems need to adapt. Your business needs to be on top of any law changes, and that becomes impossible if your LMS remains stagnant and doesn’t advance with the times.
3. It hasn’t successfully grown with your company
The LMS you picked a few years ago may have been perfect for the task of keeping your employees properly trained and skilled. It may still be perfect for the job if your company had stayed where it was in terms of size and goals. However, most businesses evolve over time. It’s only natural to do so as the market changes, the business grows or new revenue streams are added.
It’s always a good idea to check all of your programs, systems and business processes each year to ensure that they are still meeting your needs and supporting your company goals. Even if you love your LMS, it might be time to move onto something with more features or is more cost-effective for the current size of your company.
4. Your team and the software aren’t ‘gelling‘
There could be a myriad reasons as to why your employees don’t like the software or aren’t able to use it properly. These could range from a lack of customizable features, to poor training and onboarding, a bad user experience, or simply not having the right options for what your team really needs. Some of these issues can be worked through by talking with your employees, or by purchasing some support or added extras from the LMS vendor or third parties. However, it’s not always possible to fix the problem, in which case looking into new systems is your best choice.
In order to work out what the actual problem is and how to solve it, take the time and sit down with the people who will be using the LMS. Figure out exactly what their concerns are. From there, you can speak to your provider about what options they have to solve the problems. Alternatively, you can start shopping around for a new solution to deploy. If the fix you come up with is being used to its full extent, it is because you have addressed the specific concerns and needs of the users.
5. You can’t get the reports you actually need
One of the main functions of an LMS is to pull reports and manage the data captured by the system. It’s also important that you are able to view analytics about the courses on the system and the people using it to learn new skills. Without this information, your company is largely missing out on the full LMS experience.
Some of the usual areas of reporting include course completions, regular assessments of course work, how often an employee is logging in, how long it is taking them to complete the work, and so on. Some LMS already provide predictive analytics, which attempt to tell if a student is at risk of failing on achieving their expected outcomes, before it happens. This information will help you to assess if the courses on offer are actually providing anything useful for your employees. You will also be able to see who is staying up to date with coursework, and identify anyone who may be struggling. From here, you can find out why people aren’t working to the level you expected, and perhaps adjust the coursework if necessary.
Summary: Making the most of a valuable tool
The value that these kinds of insights about your corporate learning add to your company are significant. It’s essential that your LMS provides you with an enjoyable, informed, and ultimately useful experience. Take some time to research what kind of information you should be gaining from your system and compare it to what is available. You may not be getting all that you could, and it might be time to upgrade.