Many of the traditional methods of training require scheduling a group training, setting up a classroom, getting a qualified instructor, and administering a test. And then, after training is completed, manually managing the recordkeeping can also be time consuming. This can be cumbersome to a company that wants to minimize disruptions to productivity.
As an alternative to traditional training, many companies have adapted to a Learning Management System (LMS), or computer-based training software, as an incredibly effective way to improve employee engagement and learning retention and increase employee skill levels.
One of the main advantages of an LMS is that much of the time-consuming issues and lost productivity due to group training is mitigated by having employees trained individually at a time appropriate for them.
Furthermore, rather than having to manually manage and track all of the workflows involved with ensuring employees have access to training and complete the learning program, an LMS helps automate the entire process. This includes managing training sessions, providing all employees complete access to training material, sending employees automatic reminders, tracking training progress, and maintaining individual employee training records.
Many LMS platforms include video conferencing functionality, enabling instructors to lead live remote classes and trainings through the platform. With a mobile LMS, learners can access and complete courses on a phone or tablet.
An LMS gives users the ability to author their own learning material and deliver courses to the specific group to be trained. Another feature allows course ratings, course sharing and commenting, and course discussions or individual learner blogs, all of which promote collaborative learning by allowing learners to interact with one another in the LMS.
LMSs have been active since the 1990s. However, the suspension of in-school learning caused by the COVID-19 pandemic along with companies implementing work from home (WFH) strategies caused a dramatic shift in the way teachers and students and employers and employees interact with each other. In many countries, online education through the use of Learning Management Systems became the focal point of teaching and learning.
The transition to LMS usage faced several challenges such as technological infrastructure limitations and negative attitudes toward technology among users.
Over the years, as technology improved, the cost of building and using an LMS has dropped dramatically. Negative attitudes toward online training have dissipated as users become more familiar with these systems. With these changes, educational companies have created learning programs to fit the LMS model. This has been particularly true in workplace safety programs, OSHA compliance, and human resources training. Some LMS vendors have partnered with course content creators to provide a premade library of training courses for workplace safety training needs, such OSHA- and DOT-required training along with HR sexual harassment policies.
Some of the common features of Learning Management Systems include setting up, tracking, and managing certification and compliance training for industries that require employee certification or compliance to perform specific job duties.
One example is OSHA forklift driver training. Powered industrial vehicle drivers require recertification every three years. Using an LMS allows employers to administer tests to gauge employee knowledge and skill. Then using the analytics data gathered from these systems helps employers determine proficiency and identify learning gaps. With LMS tracking, you can target areas where forklift driver skills need improvement which in turn provides a safer workplace.
To summarize, an LMS can provide training at multiple locations, to multiple users, covering multiple training materials, and allowing access at any time. One could say that an LMS is Everywhere, Everything, All the Time.