A learning management system, or LMS, is web-based software application organizations can use to manage and administer their employee training programs–that includes training that occurs online, naturally, but also training that occurs face-to-face, such as instructor-led training, field-based training, and so on.
There are many different LMSs on the market. In many cases, they provide similar features and functionality, but of course, they’re all unique as well. Some are bigger and more powerful. Some and smaller with fewer features. Some are really part of even larger software management programs geared around an organization’s hire-to-fire, talent-management efforts. Others are specially designed to help organizations in specific industries or even departments in specific organizations.
There’s no one learning management system that’s the best fit for all organizations. In fact, two organizations that are similar in many ways may STILL find their best suited to different learning management systems.
In this article, we’re going to give you some features to consider if you’re a manufacturer and you’re looking for a learning management system for your workplace. Read this article, and if you find it interesting, you may also want to check out our articles on Selecting Online Manufacturing Training and Things to Look for in Online Manufacturing Training Courses.
You might also want to check out our free, recorded webinar titled Online Manufacturing Training that Works–How to Select Online Manufacturing Training for Your Organization.
The First Step: How Does Your LMS Fit Within Your Organizational Learning Strategy?
If you don’t know what you’re looking for, there’s a good chance you won’t find it.
That’s true in all walks of life, and it’s true when it comes to an LMS search as well. Before you begin your LMS search, you’ve got to stop and ask yourself what you want this future LMS to do and how it fits into your organization’s overall learning goals and strategies.
Side note here: we’re going to be using the word “your” a lot in this article, but you really shouldn’t be conducting your LMS search all alone. Build an internal team that represents all the stakeholders at your organization and do the search together. You won’t have to work so hard, you will get a lot more good ideas, you’ll get more buy-in come adoption and implementation time, you’ll no doubt make a better and more informed decisions, and you’re less likely to get resistance down the road as well.
So before you get started on your LMS search, be sure you understand your organization’s learning goals and what the strategy is for reaching them.
Here are some of things to think about in regards to your LMS:
What is your organization’s business goals, and how does your learning & development program help your organization reach those goals?
What skills must your employees have if your organization is going to meet those goals?
What are the learning needs, preferences, strengths, and limitations of the employees at your organization?
What are the best ways to deliver training/learning activities to employees, given their learning needs and preferences, to help your organization achieve its goals?
How will you determine if your learning efforts, or parts of your learning efforts, are effective?
What is your plan for continually improving the learning and development program at your work?
Additional General Thoughts About Your Potential LMS
In addition to your organization’s learning strategy, as discussed above, you should also be asking an additional set of questions that will help you find the LMS that works best for your organization.
For example, who are you training? Just employees? Or employees plus the “extended enterprise,” possibly including contractors, vendors, visitors, suppliers, and even customers.
And what are you trying to provide training for? New employee onboarding? Compliance with regulations and internal rules? To teach workers to perform their job tasks, their job roles, and their future job roles? Is it your aim to create a learning organization that’s flexible, agile, adaptable, and innovative? One that empowers workers to generate and share knowledge that creates change?
And how will you be using the online components of your training solution? Remember, there are two primary things to think about relating to this: your learning management system (LMS) and any online learning courses you use in addition. We’ll leave you to consider how you’ll use online learning courses along with other training activities to create a blended learning solution another day (but this IS an important discussion, so DO do it some thought).
Learning management system use cases
Learning management system use casesOnline learning management systems have multiple purposes. Let’s list the most common ones:
Employee training. Employees are the backbone of an organization. If you support them in educating and developing themselves, you will reap the benefits. An LMS helps employees expand their skill set structurally throughout their careers. Read more about employee training.
Onboarding. With an LMS, you get new hires prepared for their new roles seamlessly and quickly. In no time, they will learn more about your organization’s values, policies, and procedures. You will find that your employees will be productive faster.
Also, you can use an LMS to onboard your new customers. An LMS can give them a kick-start, so they get the most out of your product or service. Read more about onboarding.
Customer training. Suppliers of online software products often use this type of training. Customer training with an LMS guarantees that your clients are up-to-date about new features. It also helps them get the most out of the product, which eventually leads to happier clients. Read more about customer training.
Extended enterprise training. With an LMS, you can strengthen your brand and achieve consistency among partners, resellers, and customers. Read more about extended enterprise training.
Compliance, accreditation, and certification training. Implementing compliance training in your organization can be cumbersome. But not if you use an LMS. It reduces the workload and makes mandatory courses less dull 😉. LMSs offer extensive certification options. Read more about compliance, accreditation, and certification training.
Franchise training. An LMS is ideal for keeping processes and products uniform throughout the units. You can reach multiple franchises at once, in just one click. Read more about franchise training.