With information readily available online, employees are learning from many sources, including Google searches, YouTube, and blogs. This learning is happening; none of it is being tracked—and that’s OK. So why, when it comes to learning inside the organization, do we need to track it?
Learning management systems (LMSs) are becoming bloated with thousands of courses, many of which are accessed by only a handful of people or are outdated. This can cost businesses hundreds of thousands of dollars in the event they need to evaluate the entire catalog for something like an LMS system change or to remove flash from all their files. So why do we do it?
Don’t We Always Track?
There’s a general agreement that if there’s a course, it needs to go into the LMS. If it doesn’t, how can it be tracked? I’ll challenge this: Why does it need to be tracked? In some cases, like for regulatory or safety courses, there is a definite reason to track. For example, it’s important that a company knows who is qualified to run the equipment or who has taken training on the new policy. However, for training that isn’t such high stakes, the reason to track isn’t as critical. The only reason to track, for example, may be because a leader wants all their staff’s training in a report. While this might be a helpful statistic to have, is anything happening to that information once it’s in the report? Is the training loaded into the LMS because that’s the best delivery for the learner, or is it there because it’s better for reporting?
What If We Didn’t Track?
Perhaps it’s time to consider that some training may be better delivered in a way other than an LMS, and that may mean it isn’t tracked. For training about how to complete procedures in a piece of software, it could be that it’s not ideal to package that into a course and deliver it on the LMS. Instead, providing that content in a microlearning format, where the employee can access it in the flow of their work, is a much better idea. Building out the topics in a software such as MadCap Flare and delivering these procedures to the employee in an online help format will enable them to access the exact procedure they need, when they need it, every time they need it. They won’t have to search through a long course in the LMS to find the specific workflow. It won’t be tracked to that employee, that’s true, but it will be more accessible to the employee and better positioned for its purpose: to train. Likewise, training on content that’s frequently changing, such as an Agile project, may be better delivered in a format that’s easy to update and republish. The administration around loading content into an LMS makes constant changes hard to manage and expensive.
How to Know When to Track
When deciding where to host your courses and deliver them to your employees, consider these questions:
● Is this information safety or regulatory related?
● Do we need to track who took this training, and if so, for what purpose?
● Is this content better provided as just-in-time microlearning?
● Will this content change often?
After you answer those questions, you may discover that your training is better delivered outside the LMS, in a format that’s easier for your employees to access, and that might be more important than tracking. Even though data will not be tracked with the LMS, data can still be gathered so that the training content can be continuously improved and optimized. If you are using the MadCap Software technology stack, you could use output analytics with MadCap Central to better understand how learners are searching content, what they are searching for that is missing in the content, and more.
About the Author
Victoria Clarke has more than 23 years of experience managing, mentoring, and instructing others in the fields of technical writing and instructional design and is considered a thought-leader in her industry.