Using Learning Management Systems for Employee Training
Have you ever had to do some training on your first day of a new job? I remember a high school job at a big box store having to sit in a tiny closet for several hours watching informational CD ROM videos about how to respect other employees and properly lift heavy items.
Good employee training is important in the workplace. Some websites report that “employee retention rate [can] grow by 30–50% at companies with a potent training program.” There can be many needs for training such as new hire training, changes in policies or procedures, and even technology changes that employees need to understand in order to perform their jobs well. Some training is motivated by compliance to certain laws or regulations, some of it is to get employees on board with the companies vision and mission, and sometimes training is about specific tasks or software needed to perform their job well.
Of course, certain types of training must happen in person, which makes sense for very specific job functions or hands on tasks. But training that has to happen over and over again, or to large groups, that it can make sense to automate it so that it can be repeated quickly and easily whenever it is needed.
What is a learning management system?
A learning management system (sometimes called an LMS) is a tool that can help distribute training materials. Typically they are websites that can allow you to upload or author training content and then assign it to employees. Some LMS’s may even come with a few basic templates for generic training courses that businesses may find useful. Courses may contain modules like videos, quizzes, downloads, and articles. An employee can be assigned a course and participate by going through the training materials online with their computer or their mobile device.
The LMS would ensure that employees complete the required materials and track any scores for interactive elements like quizzes or assignments so that the training manager is able to see who has completed their assignments and who still needs to. The training manager is usually able to view or download reports across an entire organization to see their completion rates and improve their training materials.
What can an LMS do for our workforce?
A learning management system helps you to make your training virtual, consistent, and repeatable.
Virtual training has many time saving advantages over in person training. Instead of having to schedule meetings, track who was in attendance, and handle rescheduling for those that couldn’t make it, this simplifies the whole process by allowing you to send out an invitation to the training in an email, and allow each employee complete the training at a time that is most convenient to them. Some LMS’s will even help remind delinquent employees if they haven’t completed their coursework by the required date. This can save hours of your time following up with people and asking them to please complete their work.
Consistent training is helpful because you know all employees heard exactly the same thing and there should be no variation or mixed messages heard from different trainers or managers who attended different meetings. You can spend more time preparing and reviewing video content or coursework and make it exactly what you want and be sure that each time it is replayed the same quality of presentation can be guaranteed.
Repeatable training is helpful because your organization is probably growing, and new employees will join over the next months or years that need to learn these same things. You can send them the exact same training that everyone else got without having to wait for enough of a group of newcomers to make it worth hosting another training session. It also means that employees can re-watch it if they have forgotten something and need a quick reminder without having to sit through another entire session.
How do I choose a learning management system?
There are a lot of learning management systems out there, so it can be hard to choose the right one. Remember that different software may be created to serve different audiences. For example, there is a whole category of learning management software that is created for schools and colleges, we won’t be covering those here. For our purposes in this article we’re going to talk about LMS software that is primarily created for employee training within businesses or organizations.
What kind of features do you need?
Some software has too many bells and whistles, and some doesn’t have enough. Be sure to research and try out some of the options out there to get a feel for what you need the most. Do you need extensive analytics, or just the basics? Do you need extensive branding capability? Do you need gamification and leaderboards? Do you need ecommerce or certain integrations?
How will you create your training materials?
Some people use outside instructional strategists where they have created special SCORM packages that need to be able to upload into the learning management software. Others just have a few self-created videos and documents that need to be seen by everyone. These are both totally ok, but different learning management systems will handle these in different ways. Some will only allow you to upload SCORM packages and won’t have a course editor at all, others are more dependent on their own course editor.
How many people do you need to train? How much are you willing to pay?
One of the first questions when researching LMS’s is to ask how many people are you looking to train. Almost all of them are based on that metric in one way or another. If you are a small company looking to train 50 people or fewer, it can be harder to find an affordable LMS for a smaller group. If you are training thousands of employees, expect to be paying a lot of money for this service as they don’t always come cheap.
What learning management systems would you recommend?
Like we said above, it can really depend on your organization’s needs and the type of training you are doing, but we will try to provide a few recommendations for you. We’ve grouped together a few different types of training and what LMS we would recommend for each of them.
Best LMS for Simple Training with Employees or Volunteers
Groundwork1, Starts at $30/month — If you don’t already have an LMS and are looking to take the first steps into employee training, then this is a great option for you. This assumes you have some video content, documents, or graphics that you have created (or will create) and want to pass it out to a group of people, making sure to track who has finished the course content that is assigned to them. Unlike other LMS’s it sends out the training content directly in an email, which can remove some of the issues employees have with finding and taking the correct course content. It then will follow up with employees to remind them to complete their content if they miss their deadline. It’s an easy to use and capable LMS for those with smaller budgets.
Best LMS for Collaborative Courses with Employees
Eduflow, Starts at $49/month — Eduflow is a flexible system that allows you to have normal course content, but add in collaborative elements like peer review, discussions, group work, and instructor reviews. This allows your courses to be completed with a cohort of peers and foster a sense of community between the learners. This can make the learning process more engaging and make something that they will remember. It is a user friendly system that works well for small and large companies alike.
Best LMS for Large Corporations with Many Employees
Absorb LMS, Pricing Unknown — This learning management system is more suited for large scale enterprises and works well for staff training and . It offers advanced reporting and analytics capabilities in addition to many training modules so that you may track the progress of your training. Artificial intelligence can even be used to automatically recommend new courses to students based on their preferences. Unfortunately, with all of these advanced features you should be prepared to pay a lot more than some of the other software mentioned here.
Hopefully this article gives you a good starting point for how using a learning management system within your organization could help to streamline internal training processes and remove repetitious work for your HR team. It can be an investment both in purchasing the software required, but also in the time to create the initial training materials, but it often pays off in the end once you have a set of quality repeatable training programs that can be used for years to come.