Is Your Learning Management System (LMS) All That It Can Be?

Learning Management System (LMS) spelled out on post-it notes
Learning Management System (LMS) spelled out on post-it notes

Julie Ann Walker

Julie Ann Walker is an Associate at Educe. Prior to joining Educe, she worked for a Saba client and…

Organizations are always looking for new ways to engage their employees and provide development opportunities.

Having a well-functioning Learning Management System (LMS) is a key component in any strategic learning and development plan, and finding ways to drive employees to better utilize the LMS as an ongoing hub for development is always a top priority within that plan. In addition, LMS platforms like Cornerstone Learning and Cornerstone Saba Learning are always expanding available functionality to meet additional requirements requested by customers. Taking advantage of these new enhancements will ensure you get the greatest return on investment for your platform.

In this post, we’ll explore 5 ideas for enhancing your Learning Management System to ensure it is doing all that it can for your organization.

1. Evaluate your LMS homepage

The homepage is the most visible place within your LMS to engage employees and help them understand the role learning plays in improving their job performance and developing new skills. When evaluating your homepage, consider the following:

  • Is it attractive and easy to use? When learners login, they should have access to key information about their learning activities. The next steps for accessing and completing assigned learning items should be obvious.
  • Does it help learners locate relevant, optional training? The homepage is a great place to highlight featured learning items. These could be based on skill development or even personal interests.
  • How can the home page be used to convey important messages? Adding custom messages to the site provides learners with a single source of key information related to training and development. These can range from highlighting new offerings to providing alerts for upcoming deadlines.

2. Automate manual processes

Consider the pain points and manual processes within your learning system that are cumbersome and create room for errors. These are prime opportunities to automate manual processes. Some common automation opportunities include:

  • Bundling training items to reduce the number of assignments that must be processed
  • Setting up rules to automate the assignment of training based on learner profile information including job title, location, organization, and skills
  • Using system notifications to remind users of outstanding tasks or due dates for assigned training
  • Enabling an integration with a VLE provider to automate the recording of attendance for virtual sessions
  • Reviewing manual data entry processes and creating integrations to save time and reduce potential errors

3. Review vendor enhancements

Vendors continuously provide improvements with system releases. Some items may be configurable and let you choose if you’d like to implement the change. Other features are considered out of the box and will be added automatically. Below are some tips for managing new features.

  • With each release, identify items that are configurable and will be enabled either by choice or as the default setting. Determine how these can be helpful in improving the user experience.
  • There will likely be configurable items that won’t be accepted as part of the release as they may not add value to your current processes or may cause a disruption. As a best practice, maintain a list of these and periodically re-evaluate them. Changes to operations or processes may now make these valuable or there may be time and resources available in the coming weeks to capitalize on the features.
  • For the out of the box features, determine if they impact your current processes and update user materials accordingly. These changes are often updates to the user interface making it easier for learners, managers, and administrators to use the system.

Click here to learn how to plan for ongoing platform updates.

4. Use connected modules

If you are only using the learning module for your learning management system, your system vendor may offer complimentary modules to help you develop an integrated approach to performance or talent development. There are potential benefits to having everything in one application, including:

  • A one-stop shop for learners makes it easier for them to connect the dots between learning, performance, and career development
  • Consolidating information into one application could eliminate duplicate information in other systems resulting in cost savings
  • Streamlining systems may reduce administrative burdens and eliminate potential errors

5. Consider microapps

A microapp is a modern approach for tailoring a software solution. Microapps leverage libraries of APIs or web services to access and modify data providing customized processing that’s not available as part of the application. Below are some examples of ways that microapps can be beneficial.

  • Provide a customized view and messages on the homepage based on the audience and the current company initiatives
  • Consolidate data from multiple external applications so that it can be processed by the LMS
  • Transform data from the LMS, other systems or both for integration with learner profiles, training records, and assignments to automate manual processes

Click here to learn more about the 50+ microapp solutions we have built for organizations.

What’s Next?

If this list of options seems a little overwhelming, here are some steps to get started.

  • Consider surveying learners, managers, and administrators to see what they like about the existing learning management system and what they find difficult.
  • Conduct a focus group with key administrators. If a survey is conducted with a broader audience, the results may be used as a starting point for the discussion.
  • Develop a list of improvement ideas based on the information that has been gathered.
  • From the list of possibilities, identify any items that are easy to implement with big results, i.e., low hanging fruit.
  • For options that require more significant effort, begin by calculating the costs to implement compared to projected dollar savings. Next, consider the non-tangible benefits such as an improved learner experience, better trained employees, and fewer errors reducing time and expense for corrections.

If you need help exploring and evaluating options to ensure that your LMS is used to its fullest capabilities, contact us.

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