In today’s tech-neutral age, knowledge and skills are the key sources of competitive advantage. Smart enterprises institute Learning Management Systems (LMS) to harness and organize the corpus of knowledge available within its ecosystem.
However, the success of such initiatives depends not merely on setting up a Learning Management System. Success rather depends on ensuring that the system is compatible with the enterprise requirements and scalable to match the ever-changing requirements in an extremely fluid business environment.
Learning Management Systems traces its origin in delivering eLearning courses to the workforce through the internet and company intranets, in compliance with the established eLearning standards such as AICC and SCORM standards. However, the nature and scope of LMS have evolved considerably since then. While the exact nature of the LMS may vary, depending on enterprise requirements, successful LMS of today invariably facilitates seamless integration of the physical and virtual classrooms, promotes social learning, and fills in critical gaps in learning. The best LMS are scalable, portable, promotes gamification, and makes managing talent seamless across the enterprise.
Integrated Virtual Classrooms
An effective Learning management System co-opts virtual classrooms, including “live” classrooms, to deliver the power of training and education to anyone, at any time, and any place. Today’s LMS include multimedia-rich virtual classroom content or have ready-to-use APIs, to co-opt the most popular classrooms into its fold, with just a few simple clicks.
Any good LMS offers APIs to connect with the millions of courses and lectures available in popular online portals such as the eDX, and even YouTube.
Promotion of Social Learning
An effective LMS goes beyond formal training and promotes social learning. The conventional method of imparting learning is storing content in a repository and creating access rules around it. Social learning goes a step ahead, to offer users the power to create content, and thereby exchange anecdotes and real-world experiences. The learners collaborate with each other in real time, creating an interactive and participatory learning experience, replicating the feel and experience of a physical classroom. From the enterprise perspective, such an approach furthers the creation of a sustainable pool of knowledge and makes very effective training.
Truly successful Learning Management Systems also tap into gamification, or staring up a friendly competition among learners, to increase engagement. Some of the most common gamification options to make the course more engaging include badges, leaderboards, levels and more. Another option is a small token prize for the learners who do exceptionally well.
Filling in the Gaps
A robust Learning Content Management System automates the task of curriculum management. It scours the training material, syncs with the curriculum, and fills critical gaps in knowledge or information. It also updates the existing content, removing obsolete or outdated information, and updating the content to reflect real-time information, on the basis of latest research, statistics, and other findings. Of course, the caveat is that any LMS is only as effective and relevant as the content and rules fed into it in the first place.
A Flexible Learning Approach
A Learning Management System empowers learners to structure and assemble their own learning. An effective LMS is flexible and modular to allow learners full of the required learning materials and resources to form a curriculum customized to their learning needs and suited to their learning styles.
A key element of flexibility is portability. In today’s extremely fluid business environment, where enterprises have to go where business takes them rather than wait for business o come to their office, a portable cloud-based LMS, accessible through mobile front-end apps is the way forward. For instance, offering training sessions on a tablet with the option to follow us using a desktop computer, with seamless sync between the two, helps the learning progress whenever he is free, such as when commuting to the office.
The best LMS is flexible enough to offer training content at multiple levels, and in multiple formats. Smart LMS also offers the option to support training in multiple languages, a key requirement in today’s hyper-globalized world.
Effective Administration of Training Requirements
Today’s LMS bridges the gap between the classroom and eLearning environment. It offers an effective medium to sync between the two, enabling trainees to extract the best of both worlds. It facilitates easy management of complex and dynamic resources, including training inventory, trainer and external vendors, training rooms and venues. The LMS takes over and automates the vexatious tasks such as coordinating several training programmes, planning and administering training sessions, tracking pre-training and post-training feedback, and compiling training materials. The LMS also makes effective follow up through email and push notifications, logs attendance, and more. By these processes, the platform reduces the administrative drags characteristically associated with such processes.
The best Learning Content Management System platforms are scalable, granular and flexible. A scalable platform enables starting off with a manageable base, fine-tuning the system, and growing it organically.
Starting small has its advantages, in being able to check if the implemented programmes actually benefit or meet the intended outcomes, and if the targeted recipients are indeed receptive to the initiative. Creating pilot programmes to validate the hypothesis and assumption is a fundamental time-tested practice to avoid failure. For instance, once this process is completed it would be ruinous to discover the selected platform crashes under the pressure of 10,000+ learners all over the world.
Starting small, however, should not become a limitation or a stumbling block for future growth. A good LMS platform should be capable of managing a large amount of data easily, accessibility for a large number of users to the system at the same time, and allow them to connect from all over the world without delays.
A sound and robust LMS is a key asset in today’s knowledge organizations. By facilitating the learning and training requirements, it equips the workforce to face the emerging challenges, and focus their energies on their core competence.
Learning is highly evolving in all facets of life and so are the systems that provide learning opportunities. The definite way to address the changing and growing requirements of employees in the organization is to provide them a responsive Learning Management System that will offer the right flexibility and accessibility of the learning material on multiple devices without loss of information or tracking. The continuous learning keeps them involved, motivated and helps to retain the employees in the organization. However, before your organization jumps into implementing a responsive LMS, it is important to put some crucial forethought for selecting the right one that suits the preference of your employees.
You will need to understand and evaluate the various devices that are available and will be used most frequently as a learning source for your employees.There are numerous devices available today with various screen sizes. Pre-identifying these target devices helps in understanding the compatibility of the software and achieving better productivity. Lock the primary ones that you need to address and check if the responsive LMS works well, and adapts from landscape to portrait mode and back. Also, the user information should be tracked effortlessly so that the data isn’t lost when they switch between devices.
A responsive LMS should utilize the features that each device offers, such as touch, swipe, and scroll in smartphones. A highly intuitive UI with user-friendly approach will definitely make the learning experience more fun and enjoyable. Along with switching of the device resolution and screens, the content should also be formatted to mold into any device dimensions and screen resolutions.
Data packs that connect to the internet vary largely on devices and hence you need to consider your content likewise. Choose an LMS system that utilizes HTML5 that helps learners to download and access the learning material offline. Also, keep the bandwidth that each lesson will need in mind and use a cloud-based system that customizes the resolution and bandwidth as per usage.
Safe and Secure
No matter how good a responsive LMS system is, if it doesn’t offer security to user’s information, it simply won’t work. Select an LMS system that can protect and safeguard the personal data of learners. This may include securing email IDs, passwords, phone numbers, and even course content. This can be identified by checking what level of encrypted coding is used by the system and how secure is its server or cloud data storage.
Responsive LMS system that allows the user to not just access material, but also lets them upload content in the form of pictures, videos, and more will definitely work well. It should have the ability to convert the content into a compatible format that will be streamlined and functional for all device types. Another feature that can enhance a responsive LMS is the addition of social elements. It is a great strategy to make the learners in the organization interact with each other with the help of discussion forums, chat plugins, ratings, and content sharing. It will not only help learners explore more but also help promote the material via their word of mouth.
A more engaging and responsive LMS would always require monitoring and support over a static system. Check if you get the right support from the vendor and figure out their turnaround time. If your organization is huge, check if they can offer a dedicated support team on a contract.
A responsive LMS is a sure-shot way to go ahead if all these factors are kept in mind. If you are reading this to seek a vendor, contact us to learn more about the latest trends and practices in developing learning management systems and how these benefit learners and organizations today.
Mobile technology is being used and applied in every business sector and the use of mobile devices is on an all-time rise. It has become necessary for the organizations to ensure that the applications and systems are compatible with the mobile devices. There are several techniques followed for this purpose and mobile-first is one such approach. Mobile first is a design approach in which the website or an application is designed for the mobile platforms first. It may then be scaled up for desktop and other larger devices.
Learning Management System (LMS) is defined as a software application used to plan, implement, track, report, assess and deliver a particular learning process. There are several learning management systems that are available in the market. The business units need to enhance and provide the mobile-based learning for their employees and stakeholders. These learning systems are also high on demand in the educational institutions. A “mobile first” design approach should be followed for such LMSs and there are a set of key considerations to be incorporated.
Mobile devices do not refer to the Smartphones only. There are numerous other mobile devices, such as tablets, Personal Digital Assistants (PDAs) etc. that must be considered while designing the Learning Management Solutions using mobile-first approach.
The design of the learning management system needs to be responsive to attain maximum user satisfaction. It will allow the system to have excellent performance on a wide range of devices and make the activities associated with maintenance and development easier.
Performance v/s Content
There is a limited screen space on the mobile devices that take away the freedom to put additional content on the screen, unlike desktop applications. The designers must ensure that only the salient information is present on the screens of the LMS. The designer must keep a balance between the content and the performance of the system layout, navigation, scrolling, and usability.
Acceptance & Change Management
The demand of the market and customers is to access the websites and applications on the mobile platforms. The business units must accept this change and make sure that they fulfill the user demands and expectations accordingly. A majority of the users prefer m-learning instead of desktop-based learning systems. It is essential to understand the difference in the design principles and methodologies between the two platforms.
There may be scenarios wherein the users may switch between the mobile devices while accessing the same LMS. These devices may vary in terms of screen size and resolution. The LMSs’ backend must be capable of adapting to such transitions without any adverse impact on the performance and network connectivity. For instance, an employee may access a particular LMS on an Android-based tablet provided by the organization. The same employee may choose to access the system on the personal iPhone after office hours.
Integration with Latest Technologies
Learning Management Systems need to use data in unified and cohesive manner. There are Big Data applications developed for better organization and management of the data sets. LMS developed with mobile-first approach should have the ability to be integrated with external tools and applications, such as Big Data and Business Intelligence tools. Security is also one of the prime areas of concern for the mobile-based applications. There are security tools, such as anti-malware tools, intrusion detection tools, and anti-denial tools etc. developed for enhancement of security. LMS needs to be capable of being integrated with such tools and applications.
Mobile applications and websites have succeeded in gaining a lot of popularity among the users. The learning management systems developed by the business units and educational institutes must also consider and abide by the shift in the user expectations. There are many differences between the desktop based applications and the ones designed for mobile platforms. These considerations in terms of screen size, layout, design principles, set of priorities, integration, compatibility (with other tools) and security features must reflect in the final design. There are certain system qualities provided with a higher priority in LMSs designed with a mobile-first approach. These qualities include application performance, usability, security, availability, and reliability.