Are you wondering "what is an LMS"? Even just a decade or so ago, training and education for employees looked quite a bit different. Learning new things involved shadowing other team members, flipping through detailed pamphlets and instructional booklets, and sitting through lengthy lectures and presentations.
But, today? Thanks to advancements in technology, getting up to speed at a new job or developing new skills is a far more self-guided process for employees.
That’s why many organizations—both big and small—are turning to Learning Management Systems (LMS) to educate employees in a way that’s streamlined, convenient, and far more engaging than the traditional classroom approach.
Wait...exactly what is an LMS?
To put it simply, a Learning Management System (LMS) is a way to easily deploy e-learning options (mainly, online courses) to an audience and then track their progress on those courses.
Using an LMS, you can add and even create courses, assign them to specific people or teams, monitor progress and measure performance, and even generate detailed reports to understand and share how those learning initiatives are panning out.
Think of an LMS as a one-stop shop or portal where you can offer all sorts of learning and development opportunities, and your employees can login to access them.
Who needs an LMS?
While the emphasis on learning might lead you to believe that an LMS is meant specifically for educational institutions and students, that’s hardly the case.
Anyone who wants to provide access to convenient education and opportunities for their employees or audiences to expand their skill sets could benefit from implementing an LMS. This includes:
- Businesses of all sizes
- Educational institutions
- Government agencies
- Organizations and clubs
What are the benefits of using an LMS?
Here comes the biggest question of all: Why use an LMS at your own organization? What are the perks associated with implementing this system?
1. An LMS equips your employees with the training they need.
Are you ready for a frightening statistic? Only one in 10 adults in the United States feel that they have the sufficient computer and internet skills necessary to use the digital tools that are required for their daily work.
You might feel like your employees know everything they need to know about Excel or Photoshop—but this statistic proves that they might feel differently.
That’s one of the major benefits of an LMS: You’re giving your employees access to the education and training they need (and obviously want) to do their jobs well.
2. An LMS increases your engagement and retention.
Providing opportunities for employees to learn, grow, and develop matters not only for the success of your business overall, but also for your recruitment and retention efforts.
Need proof? 42% of employees state that learning and development is the most important benefit when deciding where to work. And, when it comes to keeping your best employees around, businesses with a strong learning culture enjoy employee engagement and retention rates around 30-50% higher than businesses that don’t.
An LMS isn’t just an opportunity to provide mandatory training, but also a place where you can offer optional educational tools and resources that your employees can use to advance their own careers.
3. An LMS streamlines your training and education process.
Let’s just say it: Training your employees is time-consuming, and it feels like a process that’s never quite over. Once you get one batch of new employees up to speed, you add some more to your payroll and need to start training all over again.
If your existing process involves a lot of manual effort (i.e. repeatedly sitting those employees down in a classroom for in-person training), you could be investing a ton of unnecessary time and energy.
According to the 2017 Training Industry Report, employees receive an average of 47.6 hours of training each year. That’s a lot to handle personally and manually, right?
This is where an LMS can offer a huge benefit. You can offer self-paced training to all of your employees—investing only some upfront effort to get the course created. After that, it already exists and is ready to be accessed by any employee moving forward.
Perhaps that’s why the same report shows that a LMS was the most commonly used learning technology, with 86% of survey respondents saying they used an LMS.
4. An LMS makes it easy to monitor progress.
There’s likely certain training that you need your employees to complete in order to be successful and safe. But, it can be challenging to determine if and when they’ve actually fulfilled that obligation.
With an LMS, it’s easy to measure progress and confirm when different trainings and courses have been completed—without needing to dig through files or pester your employees with questions.
Most LMS also allow you to assign different courses to certain teams or individuals, so they know when they’re required to complete something new.
What features does an LMS have?
The exact features an LMS offers can vary depending on the specific software you’re using. However, most should offer the basics like the ability to create and organize courses, make assignments, quickly monitor progress through a simple dashboard, and generate reports.
Want to get even more out of implementing an LMS at your organization? Look for the following features:
1. Existing courses
An LMS should allow you to create your own courses. But, what if you don’t want to put in all of the elbow grease yourself?
Look for an LMS that comes stocked with some prepared courses that could benefit your employees. The GoSkills LMS offers access to all of GoSkills courses on a wide variety of topics—from Microsoft Excel to project management.
That means that you and your employees are able to dive into all sorts of learning opportunities right away, even before you create any courses yourself.
2. Social learning
Your employees might want to brag about a course they completed or a certification they received, and your LMS should offer an easy way to do that (after all, that means more promotion for your business and learning-focused culture).
The GoSkills LMS has a social learning feature, which means users can easily share their learning accomplishments on their public profiles.
What if you want to figure out how many courses your team has completed? Or how many certifications they’ve earned? Or how many tests they’ve taken? Or how long on average it takes them to complete a course?
Your LMS should easily display these types of analytics (yep, the GoSkills LMS does!) so that you can use that data to make informed decisions about future learning opportunities.
Nothing inspires motivation like a little friendly competition, right?
Whether your employees want to compete against themselves or each other, the GoSkills LMS incorporates gamification, which means users can unlock different badges when they reach certain milestones in your courses.
This not only keeps your employees focused, but it also makes the entire process a little more fun.
Are you ready to make learning more accessible?
Are you convinced of the benefits of an LMS? Are you ready to implement one for your own employees? We thought so.
The GoSkills LMS is free, and is a great way to train any size team - you’ll get all of the above features, plus a host of optional upgrades like access to the full GoSkills course library, custom branding, SCORM course creation, and even tracking for offline classroom courses.
What do you look for when selecting an LMS? We'd love to hear from you! Send us an email or reply in the comments below.
Infographic: What is an LMS, and why do you need one?
Infographic design by Venngage.