Let us go by the standard definition, an eLearning platform is an integrated set of interactive online services that provide trainers, learners, and others involved in education with information, tools, and resources to support and enhance education delivery and management.
They are commonly known as Learning Management System or LMS. A LMS can be used to manage the learning and development programs not just for professionals but for students as well.
So what does an LMS really do?
Digital learning is most effective when you have your own LMS. On one hand learners want to enjoy the learning process they also want their time to be valued. Businesses want effective learning programs that will help the employees perform better and HR or Talent Development teams want to offer a great learner experience while still making it efficient and effective.
A lot of expectations at different levels so, how do we evaluate the effectiveness of a learning program, initiative or an intervention especially if it is done digitally.
That is where LMS comes into the picture.
While different LMS comes with different functionalities usually most standard LMSs provide some common features like
- Learning hours
- Completion ratio
- Learner assessment score
- Learner drop off etc
These metrices can be broadly divided into two categories
- Business Performance Metrices
Business Performance metrices refers to performance indicators that helps you see the business impact of the various employee skill development programs. How are the programs assigned enabling employees in the overall goal achievement?
- Course Quality Metrices
These are indicators which brings out aspects of learner engagement and learner experience. The outcome of these indicators will help you improve the quality of learning content and the experience for the learner.
In short, the first metric is more business focused while the second metric is more user focused.
LMS with more advanced features are also available.
However, the features of the LMS depend on a lot of factors like:
- The maturity if the learners
- The complexity of the topics you are looking at covering
- Most importantly the purpose of eLearning in your organization – is it orientation to digital learning, simulation and gamification, self-paced learning or blended learning
All these factors decide the nature of the course, it’s level and also the kind of insight you want to have about the learners and the effectiveness of the course.
If you are starting with an eLearning management system for the first time in your organization, we would recommend to go for an LMS which provides the basic features.
Apart from basic and advanced features, LMS partners also provide other value-added services like off the shelf content and customized content solutions.
Some off the shelf content comes complementary too.
Honestly, it is not a bad idea to go for the complementary course or even buy some courses from your LMS partner because you might get a competitive rate.
However, do maintain your fair judgement in terms of the quality of the content and the outcome you are looking to drive from an eLearning program.
Being cost effective should not compromise on the quality of learning you offer.
Off the shelf content is great from a sensitization perspective but if you are looking at addressing a need that is specific to your organization do not hesitate to explore an eLearning development company who specializes in creating content.
Some eLearning development companies also provide LMS services and you can consult with them too with your learning needs.
To conclude what we have learnt from our experience is that you must consider the following 7 things:
- Know why you want to drive eLearning
- Identify the outcomes you want to drive
- Explore a LMS which provides with easy navigation
- Look for concrete and not complex insights
- Check their credibility in the market
- Involve stakeholders for testing the learner experience
- Focus on long term association as LMS partner required considerable investment