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Does Investment in an LMS Make Sense for You?

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

A learning management system (LMS) can help manage and track training course completion, including the all-important compliance training. Course reports can be sent to regulatory bodies to provide adherence to compliance requirements, and to managers, who can help drive completion.

For employees, too, an LMS has advantages. For starters, an LMS may allow employees to pull their own completion reports. And, depending on the resources available within the system, “employees can map out a pathway for their own professional development and, during performance review time, show proof of that initiative and those accomplishments,” writes Konstance Allen in “Lay the Groundwork for LMS Success.”

Despite these benefits, an LMS is a costly endeavor, with a contract length often of three years, and the total dollar amount calculated on the number of employees accessing the system.

So, how can a TD practitioner determine if an LMS is worth their organization’s investment? You can start by answering these questions:

  • Do you have regulatory training that requires monitoring of completion?
  • Do your company goals require tracking and reporting on individual course completion for promotions or return-on-investment calculation?
  • Is your organization looking to cut travel expenses by creating more e-learning opportunities or hosting more webinars?
  • Does your online learning strategy include self-paced learning?

If you have decided, based on answers to the questions above, that an LMS makes sense for your organization, you next need to develop an online strategy and assemble the LMS selection team. What are your short- and long-term goals for your online learning program? What does success of your online learning program look like? What do you envision as the LMS’s overall purpose?

When formulating your strategy, remember that your goals for the program should be SMART ones. For example, your goals might look like this:

  • Specific: We will use our LMS to house the record of completion for new hires’ compliance training.
  • Measurable: Compliance training will open October 1 and close January 31 annually.
  • Achievable: All new hires will receive login credentials during orientation.
  • Relevant: XYZ compliance training is now required and will be reviewed during all HR audits.
  • Time-bound: The LMS administrator will provide completion reports on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis during the compliance training window.

When selecting the LMS team—the members of your organization who will determine what the organization needs in an LMS and the appropriate supplier—remember to include members of the talent development team, the LMS administrator, an HR representative, someone from IT, and a variety of end users.

From the end user’s perspective, how will they consume learning? Do they need to pull their own reports? If the courses and the user interface aren’t beneficial and user-friendly, employees aren’t going to access the LMS except for the minimal requirements. And the LMS is too great of an investment to allow that to happen.

To learn more, check out “Lay the Groundwork for LMS Success.”

About the Author

Patty Gaul is a senior writer/editor for the Association for Talent Development (ATD).

1 Comment
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Deciding to invest in learning management software
can be quite the task! I also think it’s important to consider the different people that will be accessing the LMS and their responsibilities within the system. For example, will there be more than one content creator, do they need different permissions from other users? Some LMS options may not offer such customization. The decision requires planning, but it's worth it!
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