As organisations across the world embrace remote working, managers and business leaders are faced with a challenge: how can workers continue to develop? In the absence of in-person training, companies are having to adapt to virtual training and development models. But what separates successful online training from inefficient programs?
It’s not always easy to manage and motivate remote teams, particularly when it comes to continuous development. With online training and learning management systems, employers can up-skill and onboard people in a flexible, cost-effective way that will remain beneficial even when teams return to the office. Here’s what you need to know about learning management systems and the differences between online learning and traditional training.
What is a learning management system?
Learning management systems emerged from elearning, which uses digital resources to deliver education and training. Used to facilitate training and development, learning management systems are software applications that administer, track, report and deliver courses, training programs and ongoing education.
Learning management systems fall under the online training umbrella and provide an alternative to traditional training courses. They can be versatile for use across different disciplines or be industry-specific, such as Canvas LMS, which has been specifically designed for education use in K-5 through to higher education institutions.
The demand for these systems is already significant and expected to boom in the coming years, with research suggesting the global learning management system market will grow at a CAGR of 20.31% from 2020-2024.
What can online training and learning management systems help with?
Online training should be more than just a pandemic stop-gap, and goes beyond simply getting new recruits up to speed quickly. According to a 2018 report prepared for the G20 Employment Working Group, it’s no longer enough to frontload skills through initial training. Instead, organisations need to invest in education and training systems which are flexible and support lifelong learning.
Onboarding: One of the obvious implementations of learning management systems is in the onboarding phase of an employee’s journey. Look for a solution that can work on an individual level and at scale, with options to customise learning paths and create your own content.
Upskilling: A good learning management system will allow employees to enhance their knowledge as they develop in their role - or indeed, take on new responsibilities. Think of it as an essential tool to deliver, monitor and assess courses that build skills and enhance knowledge.
Reskilling and maintaining: A good training program is one that is ongoing. Organisational learning shouldn’t be a one-off - instead, look for solutions that provide long-term learning and development opportunities for your entire organisation.
Gartner recommends embedding learning assets into employees’ daily activities, investing in experiential learning tools and aligning employee skill sets with the future needs of the business. This suggests that organisational learning should go far beyond onboarding and become a fundamental part of any workforce strategy.
What benefits does this style of learning have over in-person training?
In-person training is impactful, however it can be limiting in terms of accessibility, time and user engagement.
Freedom and flexibility: While learning management systems and online training can be implemented in-office, the current remote working landscape showcases one of the benefits of this type of learning. When trainer and trainee don’t need to physically be in the same place at the same time, there is an enormous amount of flexibility over how, when and where people undertake training. Online training and learning management systems offer accessibility and ease of access, especially if sessions are pre-recorded and can be accessed at any time.
Learn at your own pace: As businesses return to the office, learning management systems will continue to be effective. This is because they can provide a tailor-made learning platform that users can access in their own time, to learn at their own pace. In-person training is often delivered in groups and assumes all participants have the same level of knowledge. With a learning management system, organisations can customise learning paths, courses and training programs for each individual, allowing employees to learn what they need, when they need.
Interactive and engaging: Gamification in workforce training isn’t a new trend, and it’s increasingly being used in online training modules and learning management systems. Quizzes, games, leaderboards and live progress updates engage users and ensure they’re interacting with the learning material in the desired way. While in-person training can rely heavily on demonstrating and explaining, learning management systems incorporate more hands-on doing and learning.
Cost effective: In-person training relies on the availability of key people, venues, time and training materials. This can be extremely costly for businesses, especially when you factor in employee turnover and maintaining knowledge. A customisable learning management system that can be rolled out company-wide can save considerable costs in the long run, and provides data-driven insights to further optimise courses and learning pathways. Elearning typically has faster delivery cycles than conventional learning and requires little ongoing upkeep, making it a sensible investment for any organisational learning and development program.
Looking for more insights?
Now that you know more about learning management systems, it might be time to learn about other tools and techniques you can use to become more efficient and effective in the workplace.
Explore our resources designed to help your organisation thrive in an increasingly agile world.