Why do you need a new LMS ..?

Updated: Dec 13, 2019

I'm often asked about why organisations need an LMS, or a better LMS and what my thoughts are around this.

I met with a colleague recently who is the Head of Training in a large healthcare organisation. She came from a profession that was considered 'cutting edge', she believed that what she did made a difference to those she came into contact with, and she was given the tools and resources to do her job. She now believes that in the years leading to her retirement that she works in an organisation that is moving backwards in terms of staff development.

She told me that she was dis-enabled from doing her job properly because she had been lumbered with an LMS that hindered learning. It was mandated by her Board, considered free to use, and meant that her team spends all their time creating work-a-arounds and manipulating data extracts to actually do any creative training.

Another colleague told me something not too different. She is a board level director of another healthcare provider. She told me that the systems that are supposed to manage the basics, including learning management systems, often get lost in the mix because the organisation is so focused on external targets and they don't have clear sight of what is important. They tend to not look at the systems that would reinforce staff development and enable learning, and often use systems that are not suitable for use in large organisations that should have their sights set on higher levels of staff engagement in their staff learning and development.

Most organisations are focused on compliance, tick box training and have few resources to offer good training that is simple and easy to access. They use systems that deflect enthusiasm, put up barriers to learners and are so hard to use they have to be trained to just access the training catalogue. It’s ridiculous!

So what makes a good LMS? Simply put.

First it should be simple to access for your staff. Everything they need to access should be on the homepage. Big clear buttons and instructions so they know what to do. No more than 2 clicks once they are 'in'. They shouldn't need any training to use it.

Secondly the LMS needs to look like and feel like part of the corporate system. Our most successful clients use systems that look like their intranet and utilise single sign on to avoid usernames and passwords. Make it simple for staff.

It should adapt to the user. You need to ensure that some staff see what they need and other staff see what they need. Why show users stuff they don't need to see? Lessen the confusion. Get rid of the un-necessary. Make the learning pathway clear.

Next, would you go out and buy a video recorder to watch the latest blockbuster? Do they even still sell them? So why buy an outdated LMS? We live in a world of downloads We stream content. We use our mobiles. Don't give users barriers that don't exist online. Ensure it is accessible on PCs, Macs, smartphones and tablets. Make it online.

You need to offer content the way your staff want to access it. Give learners the option to select classroom, eLearning, self assessment or combinations of these. Build learning paths that branch and change depending on the previous outcome or job role. Show learners only what they need to see. Make learning relevant.

Learning doesn’t take place in isolation, it should be linked to review and appraisal processes. Get an LMS that is integrated with performance so you can run talent, performance and learning in a single portal. Fully integrated. Make learning proactive.

Reports are a key requirement of any LMS. Don't use a system that is so slow it has to run reports overnight. Don't use a system where you can have a couple of cuppas while a report runs. You need a system that gives real time reports in seconds to all users. Administrators, managers and staff. Make data accessible.

Cost is important. And not just the invoice value. Is your system admin intensive? Do your team spend ages working around a badly configured system. Do you spend all your time on the phone helping users? Do managers spend too long in the system looking for data? It all adds up. Your training team should be out there training, not pressing buttons to make an LMS work. Get a system that is less intensive to administrate. Just because it’s free or low cost doesn’t make it good. Remember the video recorder? They couldn’t give them away these days. Is your LMS one of these? Make your resources effective.

Simply. Put an LMS in place that is easy to use, up to date, that properly blends learning, is easy to access, links to appraisal, can report in real time, and is cost effective.

And that's why I think you need a better LMS.

Learning Management. Solved.

Chambury Learning Solutions is a Totara Platinum Partner specialising in Learning Management systems (LMS) and eLearning content development. Get in touch.