LMS and eLearning are two interlinked terms – one refers to the system that contains the learning, administers and records it, and the other to the digital delivery of learning. However, as new generations of Learning Management Systems enter the market, and as new types of eLearning are becoming common, both need to adapt to advancements in learning theory.
Hence, you may need to rethink your approach and LMS eLearning strategy, choosing the best practices to apply and devising a robust and future-proof eLearning strategy. For continuous on-the-job learning you may want to add gamification into the mix – with the unique benefit of boosting both performance and the successful completion of learning elements with the corresponding behavioral changes.
What is an LMS?
A Learning Management Systems (LMS) is typically a software application used by corporate training departments to handle all aspects of delivering and managing the organizational learning process. This includes both instructional content and training programs, such as storing and building computerized learning materials (lectures, tutorials, quizzes, etc.), administering courses and reporting and assessing individual learning performance. Modern LMSs employ competency-based learning to discover learning gaps and guide training material selection, and some even include on-boarding and reward functionalities as well as cloud based capabilities and mobile friendly learning.
The most important evolution in LMS eLearning is that the model underlying the LMS is changing. Whereas in the past learning management systems were used as a system of record – to “record” learning elements, courses and employee statuses, today they are understood as systems of engagement. Why is that? Because L&D professionals understood that these systems aren’t about serving their needs only, answering the question of who completed which course. They are about engaging the user with eLearning. Without engaging the user with eLearning, these systems don’t deliver on the “real” end goal – which is that employees complete learning, retain the knowledge and change their behavior as a result. For this to happen, we need systems of engagement.
Recent changes in learning practices
The past few years have seen immense changes in learning theory and more specifically in the way it applies to LMSs and eLearning. eLearning refers to the entire practice and theory of digital learning, including computer-based training, online learning, and mobile learning. While traditional formal learning relied heavily on long classroom sessions followed by tests, the inability to always pull employees into formal class-based learning and the fact that it isn’t that effective (think about the 70:20:10 model) are pushing learning into a digital model. Since attention spans are short and the importance of repetition is more evident, as well as the need to bring training into the workday (preferably on a daily basis), it is now recognized that short nuggets of distributed microlearning sessions are much more effective for developing and retaining knowledge. Furthermore, retrieval practice (e.g. quizzes and scenario based training), repetitive spacing are being recognized as extremely potent ways of driving knowledge retention and behavioral change. Additional changes in learning theory stress the importance of just-on-time training, meaning the lessons and retrieval sessions are best if done in the actual work setting and while dealing with the actual tasks one is training for. Last, gamification of learning, i.e. using game like motivations and themes in learning generates much higher rates of engagement from employees and garners higher completion rates for courses. It can also serve as a great tool for scheduling retrieval practice and repetition.
Continuous Adaptive Learning
Recognizing that new learning will be mobile, digital, micro-learning based and social, and that it will have to happen on the job, a new breed of advanced, next generation LMS eLearning systems has evolved. These are much nimbler, modular systems, designed to integrate easily, adapt and make learning more engaging and impactful. Employees can access learning on the go, using mobile – and be served with daily micro-chunks of content.
For instance, GamEffective’s gLearn system — an eLearning engagement platform, allows organizations to employ Continuous Adaptive Learning. It is designed to either fully replace or supplement existing eLearning LMSs, enabling HR learning managers to add previously unavailable capabilities to their LMS such as feedback, gamification and more.
These type of systems will add a plethora of capabilities to stale, outdated systems and supercharge learning by giving users the freedom to: create, author and link learning materials; push daily learning tasks to employees; apply personalized learning based on individual performance; find out whether information repetition or re-enforcement is needed; provide access to new knowledge when required (time-sensitive communications, such as for a new campaign or product feature); as well as to analyze and check results (retention/certification).
What to Expect for your LMS eLearning strategy
Employing these new practices in your LMS eLearning strategy will provide easily discernable benefits to your organization. Higher lesson completion rates will ensure employees have a much better understanding of their work; on-going training and development will boost productivity, on-boarding new team members will go down faster and smoother while higher levels of employee engagement will ensure faster deployment of new processes and more collaboration between teams. Employees will reach competence sooner and become productive faster.
A case in point of gamification used for training in financial services is Credit Union. The member-owned financial cooperative adopted GamEffective’s platform to successfully fulfill its requirements for: user-friendly course content development and tracking success. The ROI on the project was immediately apparent with 85% of frontline employees completing all learning tasks and constantly engaging with their training materials and content.
In order to start placing your organization on the road to the effective implementation the new standards in learning it is first needed to refresh your companies LMS eLearning strategy. To learn more, GamEffective offers in-depth free resources, blogs, case studies, webinars, and more). You can also request a demo to get a first-hand look at how GamEffective puts the new methodologies into practice.