Author: Maxine Gregory

What to Look for in a Learning Management System (LMS) for Manufacturing Training

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.

The Best Learning Management Systems (2020 Update)

The LMS market is expected to be worth over $15.72 billion in 2021 [1]. The highest proportion of revenue contribution is expected to be generated in North America [2]. 41.7% of global Fortune 500 companies now use some form of educational technology to instruct employees during formal learning hours [3]. Roughly half of all college classes will be eLearning-based [4]. It is more than obvious that eLearning has revolutionized and changed the way we look at knowledge and skill acquisition. Thereby, there is an increasing demand for Learning Management Systems to systematically implement and manage eLearning. With 1000+ LMS vendors and too many LMS features to choose from, we can definitely say that Learning Management Systems are here to stay!

In this article, we will help you find, choose, and compare the Top LMS Software in the eLearning Industry. But first, let’s take a look at the fundamental criteria you need to keep into account when you are looking for an LMS!

Top Things To Consider When Choosing An LMS

The time has come when you need to find out what kind of LMS would be the best option for your business and make a decision. That’s a hard one. We’ve all been there, so it is totally understandable. Is your budget enough to get your own LMS? Should you opt for a cloud-based LMS solution? What if, money-wise, your limit is low and you need to consider trying an open source LMS solution? No worries, here are the top things you need to consider when choosing an LMS for your business.

What Is The Reason You Need An LMS?

First things first, this is the basic clue that will determine what kind of LMS can help you achieve your goals. There are several ways an LMS can help a business grow. For example, you might need an LMS for employee onboarding. Actually, this is one of the most common use cases. Several companies decide to use an LMS to support their new employees through their onboarding process. It can help newcomers learn more about your business culture, understand standard business procedures, become informed about your products and services, and acquire certain skills so that they are able to deliver when they actually get their first projects.

Another common LMS use case is to increase employee development and retention. An LMS can support your training and development goals immensely. Υou can design online courses that will ensure your employees’ skill enhancement, offer them a chance to get informed about new product features, or simply keep them up to date with new trends, etc. Another reason you might want to use an LMS is to provide training to your customers, especially, if your product is software. Also, if you have a company in the tech industry, you might need to assist clients in how they can effectively use your product. Of course, you may also take advantage of an LMS to focus on your employees’ compliance training, boost your sales enablement to gain more revenue, expand your partner training if you own a worldwide corporation, or even offer exclusive member training.

What Are The Key LMS Features That Fit Your Online Training Needs?

When searching for the ideal LMS for your company, there are several things you have to consider. You need to identify the factors that will make or break the deal for you when choosing the right Learning Management System. Focus on your unique online training requirements. The way you evaluate those parameters is what will help you reach a decision with a good ROI. Pay attention to your online training needs and goals in order to pick the right LMS solution without regrets.

Data-Driven Results

Many companies love data-driven results. If you belong to this category, then obviously you’ll need your LMS to have tracking and reporting features. The reports will help you get the right results to assess and understand the ROI of your LMS. They will also help you evaluate and assess your online training efforts. You’ll have the chance to learn how long the lessons took, if your employees had to revisit certain topics, or if they need more information about a subject. Reporting will reveal everything you need in order to make your online training courses more engaging and effective.

Tools For Testing And Assessment

Another great feature is the assessment and testing tools that your LMS needs to have. Such a feature is vital for your Learning and Development team, mostly because it helps your trainers learn how the employees have performed. By using such tools, they’ll know if the employees managed to retain the information after their training. In other words, it will help evaluate the success of your online training program.

Responsive Learning/Mobile Application

Learning on multiple devices has become a trend in the last few years, so it might be one more feature to consider. In this case, compatibility and multiple-device support should be of top priority to you. Especially, if you expect your employees to do this work on the go. Also, have in mind that LMSs with such features are the most user-friendly.

Customization Options

A big corporation might also consider choosing an LMS that offers customization and branding. Customization options will definitely make your eLearning project more appealing to your learners. Do you want your company logo on the LMS? This is the way to go. Other options could be gamification elements, online training certificates, multiple languages, welcome/enrollment screens, role assignments, content delivery options, dashboards, etc.

SCORM OrxAPI Compliance

You might be in an industry that clings to content that uses these sets of technical standards. These eLearning standards give you the ability to track and trace the results of your learners in your LMS. SCORM compliance is a great feature to have because you can create your online courses in any authoring environment and then run it in your SCORM-compliant LMS. xAPI compliance is an ideal tool if you need to share learning between multiple applications and systems. xAPI is an integral part of eLearning, especially if you’re interested in informal learning and mobile learning. It helps track your learners’ progress and, since eLearning nowadays is all about data and personalized learning paths, it will be really useful to you.

Course Catalog Feature

Some companies opt for a catalog feature when they implement their employee training. You will find endless possibilities, depending on the LMS that you choose. You can create your own directory of online courses, search within the catalog by using keywords, location, lecturers, dates, categories, or even explore custom taxonomies. With this feature, you can showcase how many lessons you are planning to offer in your Learning Management System. You will also be able to choose which user will get to see certain courses and who will not.

LMS Comparison: Cloud-Based Vs. Open Source LMS

Most business owners wonder which LMS would be the best option for their needs. If you are in such a dilemma, especially between choosing an open source or a cloud-based LMS, we hope that this article will clear the air. These LMS options both have a long history. Through the years, things have evolved and features have been added, eventually leading to the following differences.

The Main Benefits Of Using A Cloud-Based LMS

If you opt for a cloud-based LMS solution, one of the pros you get is that no installation is required. This means that you have faster deployment. When it comes to budget, costs are based on each client’s needs, making it more efficient and affordable in certain cases. In fact, a cloud-based LMS has considerably low startup costs. A cloud-based LMS is hosted on the provider’s server, offering data security and maintenance by the provider. You get advanced versions, which may include many more functionalities. Such an LMS is considered user-friendly and also helps you avoid IT hustle.

In addition, software updates are automatic, giving you extra features on a cost-free basis. It is also mobile-friendly since it is optimized for responsive design. A cloud-based LMS would be a better option for those looking to deliver online training to multiple locations. What’s more, client support, offered by the provider’s experts, is available 24/7, so you don’t have to worry about maintenance and data security. Finally, it offers subscription plan scalability, making it cost-effective. The greatest thing about it is that most cloud-based LMS providers offer a free trial, so you can try and see if it covers your business needs in a decent amount of time.

The Main Benefits Of Using An Open Source LMS

On the other hand, an open source LMS requires installation and setup. One of the main advantages of an open source LMS is that it is budget-friendly since you can find low-cost, but also free solutions as well. Most LMS tools come with a set pricing model, which might exceed one’s budget. An open source LMS is a great choice for small businesses and institutions that are looking for a budget LMS. This type of LMS is installed on the company’s server, as a result, the user has to take care of maintenance and data. In case the client needs additional functionalities, they can do so à la carte.

However, if you opt for this type of LMS, you’ll need to handle updates manually. Also, keep in mind that support can be found through forums and user communities. As any free thing on this planet, using a free LMS usually gives you limited features and courses. Also, you might not be able to have a large number of users. However, you’ll still have a good overview of the software, making it a good, basic stand-alone solution. Since it is an open source tool, there are options for modification and enhancements for its users.

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