A well-designed LMS can take your training and employee onboarding to the next level.
There’s training. And then there’s training through a thoughtful learning management system (LMS). The difference means better retention and engaging technology that can be adjusted or reused over time.
In the last decade, learning institutions have embraced LMS with open arms. Providers like D2L, Blackboard, and Canvas have grown more common on campuses, with teachers using them as extensions of the physical classroom thanks to chatroom-style forums, messaging and email functionality, and multimedia integration. Welcome to the era of the always-on learning environment.
But schools aren’t the only ones invited to the LMS party.
For years, big brands and enterprise-level companies have upgraded the way they onboard new talent and share information across large-scale teams working together around the globe. If you’re a leader in an organization with curriculum-based programs, you may be looking to enhance the learning experiences of your sales force and employees.
Here are some key factors to consider when building a learning management system with enhanced capabilities.
Curriculum with quality design in mind
When building curriculum for your learning management system, quality content and design are two important considerations.
For budget-conscious organizations, the natural tendency might be to look for a low-cost approach, starting with the cheapest possible content. Quality content is worth the time and effort, however. As with any multichannel content strategy, taking the time to craft a curriculum that meets desired outcomes and objectives is essential. Think of the long-term investment in quality design and digital assets that can be reused, repurposed, and (if necessary) rewritten to ensure goals are met.
Also, the planning stage is the best time to think creatively. Consider how the curriculum will be presented — how it will look, sound, and feel — and how you can make it memorable.
Get comfortable with Experience API (xAPI)
Clearly, it’s important to build learning experiences that matter. Experience API (xAPI) is a new learning technology that makes a wide range of experiences available both online and offline. xAPI records activities and delivers data that can be easily measured, shared, and tracked.
xAPI lets people learn from interactions with other people and content. Their actions can happen anywhere and are recorded by the xAPI. It’s a simple, flexible technology that collects data and enhances many aspects of an LMS. Mobile learning, simulations and virtual reality, gamified learning, experiential learning, collaborative learning, and more can be brought to life and refined along the way using collected data — as you would with most other content-driven campaigns.
Score with gamified learning
Gamifying learning can help people gain deeper understanding. The mechanics of playing a game can improve the learning process, helping you understand the business or operational principles behind the things you learn in the classroom or on the job. Many Millennials and Gen Xers are quite familiar with gamification concepts, from traditional tabletop gaming to mobile and console gaming. For many, it’s their preferred way to learn.
Incorporating a gamified approach into online curriculum can change the way we learn and improve attitudes substantially, converting experiences from “have-to-dos” to “want-to-dos.” Reward systems and learning points can be a simple yet powerful application of gamification theory. Learners tackle a set of carefully designed challenges that can be tracked along a customized learning path. Levels of learning can be incorporated to escalate challenges, where learners can unlock aspects of a lesson or training. If implemented well, this can transform boring curriculum into an exciting learning experience.
For instance, we transformed an early sales training program for an HP partner into something fun. Granted creative liberty, we developed a pun-filled racing theme complete with a protagonist named “Rosie Rhodes,” challenging participants to race up the leaderboard for points and a chance to win prizes by completing levels and quizzes. Based on feedback gathered afterward, sales partners loved the concept and couldn’t wait to see what came next. Mission accomplished, right?
Incentivization never hurts, but the key to successful gamification will always depend on creating a world or scenario that participants can buy into, and establishing clear, useful objectives.
Mobility and flexibility on the go
LMS deployments frequently include mobile and wireless technologies to support students, staff, and educators. The rapid advance of wireless mobile devices has become part of everyday life, leading to the emergence of mobile learning. Mobility and interactivity are important aspects to consider when trying to reach high engagement levels with any LMS, particularly in cases when learning is ongoing rather than confined to a predetermined time frame.
Our friends at Sysco are a perfect example. When they needed a scalable platform to keep internal teams apprised of their ever-expanding product line, we created the Sysco Test Kitchen, an LMS designed for new and continuing education using multimedia content, where the progress of each marketing associate could be tracked and recorded for compliance.
Beyond the need for an organized and centralized curriculum, the project also helped solve another problem: How do we provide robust training when in-person instruction is not always available? By making the content accessible from any Wi-Fi-connected device, we implemented a flexible learning model that associates could integrate into their work-life balance at any time.
Extending your reality
E-learning is often secluded in a company’s LMS, where employees refresh their minds by finding some specific bit of information using their desktop. As we move into the future, we find new ways to manage and deliver digital content that take learning to new heights while remaining grounded in proven LMS and e-learning architecture. Immersive learning puts a learner in the center of the learning experience.
Augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) simulations are great ways to re-create dangerous or stressful environments in a controlled, safe setting. These immersive technologies are proven to help people learn faster, remember longer, and make more informed decisions.
Much like gamification, immersion can elevate even the blandest curriculums, delivering critical information and training without force-feeding the content. In other words, immersion can be a metaphorical “spoonful of sugar” that helps the medicine go down.
The moral of the lesson
Forget the DVDs and training manuals from the good old days of employee onboarding. The newest — and best, in our opinion — way to provide memorable learning experiences is with a carefully planned and creatively designed LMS.