Learning Management Systems have hopefully kept your employees engaged with training to some degree over the last difficult year, but as we head into spring 2021, now’s the time to take a look at how you can deliver strong L&D programs to your workforce using online learning software, or an LMS.
There are currently some trends emerging within the e-learning sector so let’s take a closer look at what these are and how they could be of use to your future training plans.
More & Better Assessment Tools
Due to the pandemic, many of your employees are likely working remotely, which means they’re going to be learning remotely too. In fact, e-learning is one way to keep people engaged with their jobs and their colleagues when they may be feeling a bit isolated. This year, we expect to see a trend within Learning Management Systems to develop and roll-out more and better assessment tools.
1. Learner Analytics
You may find your employees are generally getting stuck into their e-learning, but does your LMS allow you to truly drill down into the data to see what’s working and what’s not? Remote learning is a great thing to be able to do, but if it’s going off the rails, you’ll need a strong LMS that will allow you to pick up on this and course-correct quickly. A Learning Management System that offers insight into learner behaviour (and ultimately, course effectiveness for your company) is a must-have for 2021. Consider Tin Can API and SCORM or AI to leverage the best results.
2. Making Progress With Microlearning
Online learners might need to check in a little more often these days or receive more frequent encouragement to keep them on their learning journeys. Microlearning is a brilliant way to do this, offering staff regular, bite-size courses they can complete quickly and receive accreditation. Assessing progress regularly can work positively in terms of continued interest in online training and catch individuals who may be beginning to struggle before it becomes a problem.
3. Mobile Learning As Standard
Tablets and phones are easily accessible devices for learners training remotely – especially if they’re now based out of the office. Your LMS must deliver courses and modules on mobile devices and offer feedback and support through them. Elearning, affirmation, and assessment from the comfort of the sofa are just as valid as any skill picked up through online training in the office!
Encouraging Social Learning
Social learning has always been a superb tool to improve the quality of online training, and its importance has moved to the fore now that many of us are working and learning from home. Social interaction is critical to acquiring new skills in a general sense but applied to the LMS world, it’s also a great way to keep engagement up and make Elearning an enjoyable experience. Fostering a culture of continuous learning is healthy for any workplace, so we suggest you check your LMS offers multiple ways to connect learners and make things fun.
1. E-Learning Together
Social learning via LMS can take many forms. You can set up discussion forums where folks can seek and share information, or you can develop activities that link to social media, Zoom, Microsoft Teams, or Adobe Connect, for example. Creating leader boards to appeal to the more competitive learners in your company is a good strategy too. Targeting different topics with multi-media, you can encourage online trainees to participate in group activities or ask an SME (Subject Matter Expert) to support them in their studies. A variety of social interaction will be more important than ever this year, so plan for a more connected way to reach your training goals.
2. Personalised Online Training Content
Recognising that everyone is different when it comes to learning online will go a long way toward improving remote learning experiences. Some might succeed in their training with immersive virtual training techniques, while others prefer to work through reference material at their own pace. Many people enjoy learning via games and point-scoring. Using your LMS to tailor courses to a spectrum of learning styles and career paths and offering results and feedback in different formats is something to consider imminently.
Smarter Ways To Reuse Company Content
Content is the whole reason you have a Learning Management System in the first place, so make sure your software is getting the most out of it.
1. Record eLearning to Maximise Resources
You might have relied on your SME’s to tutor learners one-on-one or give a live lecture, but recording their insights will save the poor souls from repetitive actions! Create video content that can be shared over and over, and if you’ve got a strong LMS, you can roll out tests or quizzes that may already exist in a different format to many groups at a time. Also, you should consider harvesting user-generated content if your LMS has stimulated a great exchange in a discussion forum, for example. By pulling from this kind of resource, you’ll be capitalising on useful stuff you already have.
2. Restructure Courses for Microlearning
We’ve touched on microlearning above, but you should be looking at how you can adapt existing longer courses for microlearning without having to build short modules from scratch. Dividing existing content into shorter online tests or editing instructional videos down to suit beginners is great for creating microlearning opportunities without generating entirely new lessons. Additionally, consider what online assets you already have that can be isolated to build a quick course with one learning objective. In this way, microlearning can lead to a more personalised training arc for your platform’s users too.
3. Convert And Redesign Online Course Content
Consider republishing existing courses you might have in your company archives. If great content is languishing in the doldrums because it was made with obsolete or mobile-incompatible programs, dig it out, convert it with the help of a new authoring tool and offer it up. Plus, never underestimate the power of a visual makeover – dull content can suddenly seem far more appealing to elearners if you refresh or add new graphics, colours and fonts.
Direct Messaging for Supportive Online Training
Support, support support. We can’t emphasise it enough! There are a number of ways you can ensure your employees stay with their online courses, but the ability to directly message their support admin is a key element. In this way, you can overcome a small stumbling block quickly without interrupting the learning flow.
1. Feedback Improves Course Content
One strong argument for direct messaging features is that learners can instantly flag errors in course modules. Confusing, buggy modules or lessons can hinder uptake or the ability to complete a course. With employees now scattered in multiple locations, the option to drop an administrator a quick note directing them to an issue is vital. With a fast channel for feedback, admins can get to work, smoothing out any bumps.
2. LMS Artificial Intelligence
Knowing you can reach out to a real person while learning online goes a long way to keeping motivated as you follow a course. If that isn’t always possible, a live chatbot feature thanks to an LMS with AI technology can plug the gap, directing online trainees to resources, FAQs or mini-courses designed to guide learners toward the answers they seek.
Stronger Automation Tools
Why make work for your administrators when your Learning Management System can do it instead? This year, and looking ahead to the future of online learning management, we’re expecting to see increasing adoption of automation within LMS’s. Here’s a couple of forms this might take.
1. Send Out Reminders Automatically With LMS
Robust automation tools are a must when choosing an LMS and will take on some of the burden usually bourne by administrators overseeing your learning software. Excellent automation tools will also help you reach out to learners more frequently, sending emails, notifications and so on – all handy reminders to beat the ‘forgetting curve’.
2. Automate Online Course Offerings & Results
Consider investing in a NextGen Learning Management System that offers ways to suggest new courses once one set is completed. These platforms can offer e-learning pathways that are personalised and strongly suited to a user’s job or career goals. Pulling from online training data and leveraging the information to present learning options automatically is likely to be a strong trend this year in LMS development. Automatically issuing certificates and badges on completing a course is a smart way to validate remote learner achievements instantly.
3. Automated Reports On Learning Progress
With company-wide engagement in online training, your content creators and learners will be generating plenty of interesting data. A strong Learning Management System should offer you a multitude of ways to pull and view that critical info automatically. Reporting on individual results or as a team can be delivered to management weekly or monthly so learning goals can be set and any issues ironed out.
2020 was a difficult year, and as we move further into 2021, we’re seeing changes in how we’re learning online and what Learning Management Systems can do for us.
Increasing social engagement throughout the learning curve and making the best use of existing content and automation looks like a strong way forward to us.