Supercharge Your Content Delivery with Your LMS
How can an LMS help you take your training to the next level?
The world of eLearning is dynamic place where learner requirements and expectations can change with the wind. Sure, as an eLearning provider, you're up to staying on top of new trends, but is your LMS? What capabilities does your LMS need to be able to meet the demands of learners today and for the foreseeable future?
In this article, we'll explore four vital content delivery capabilities that will supercharge the way your learners access your eLearning content.
1. Mobile Delivery
Social media use is rampant and growing. Statista reports that, globally, internet users' social media usage was 137 minutes per day in 2017. A survey of 2000 smartphone users in the United Kingdom found that, on average, users carried out 221 tasks per day on their phones. So, is it any wonder why LMS compatibility with mobile devices is a highly desired feature?
People spend a lot of time online with their mobile devices, so why shouldn't their eLearning be accessible via smartphone or tablet? Learners want their eLearning to be available anytime, anyplace so they can learn when and where they have the time to do so. They can also refer to their learning when they need to simply by checking their phone.
I describes mobile learning and its use in the article Everything You Need to Know About Mobile Learning. Your LMS needs to be able to deliver your content to a mobile audience to make sure you're reaching and teaching them.
Gamification has become one of the biggest buzzwords in eLearning. Can the course be gamified? Is there a gamification approach that can be taken for the review exercises? Gamification is big and it's here to stay. Is your LMS up to delivering gamified content?
Some of you might be wondering, "What's the big deal about gamification?". The workforce learning audience is one that grew up in the digital age and video games and game technology are part of their world. Gamification taps into that and provides them with an engaging learning experience that promotes repeated learning and better knowledge retention. When Kurt Cobain sang, "Here we are now, entertain us", he wasn't talking about eLearning, but learners between 20 and 40 years old tend to expect an entertainment factor in their eLearning experience. In Designing a Gamified Learning Experience, Shauna Carson explains what is gamification and its importance. The question that remains is, can your LMS handle it?
On Capterra's LMS Software page, 491 learning management systems are listed. This list can be filtered by features and, when filtered by gamification, the list is narrowed to 174 LMSs. This means that only 34% of the systems reviewed are gamification-capable. Is your LMS one of the 66% that can't deliver gamified content? If so, you're missing out!
Video is a powerful teaching tool when it is properly incorporated in eLearning. It offers learners an opportunity to absorb the content in a different way than simply reading or listening to it. Watching a video can make things easier to understand. It's one thing to describe how to whip egg whites for a meringue in text and photos, but using video to show how it's done is the next best thing to putting a whisk in the learner's hand and telling them to "Get crackin'!".
Video can be used to break work processes and procedures down step-by-step to allow the learner to see the steps in action. They can pause and replay as many times as they need to learn the steps, they can stop in the middle of a step to take time to absorb what they are learning and, they can take the learning with them and review it when they need to.
Learners can immerse themselves in a video and become involved in the knowledge being relayed. But, they will only do so if the video can be played properly on whatever device they are using.
4. Blended Learning
Blended learning courses are classes where part of the traditional facilitator-led instruction is delivered by eLearning.
How much of the classroom instruction is replaced by online coursework depends on the nature of the learning content. For example, in a competency-based course on forklift operation, learners can be taught where the controls on a forklift are located and what they do through eLearning, but they still need to demonstrate the key competency (Operate Forklift) by physically operating the machine.
An LMS can supercharge blended delivery by incorporating mobile learning, assigning individualized learning paths, hosting webinars, and recognizing learner achievements (including completion of offline training) with Open Badges.
Blended learning plays an important role in workplace training and will never be entirely replaced by eLearning. Having an LMS that can deliver blended learning and track learners' progress through the online and practical evaluation portions of a course is an important piece of the package.
Creating and delivering good eLearning content is a difficult job, and having an LMS that can't answer the demands of today's learning audience just makes it tougher. Make sure you're not left out in the cold.
I've discussed four ways that an LMS can supercharge your eLearning delivery. I'm sure that some of you can add a few others. The key message here is to be sure that your LMS is up to the task. If you already have an LMS, can it be upgraded to keep pace with emerging eLearning trends? If you're shopping for one, make a list of what you want to deliver and how it should be delivered before you start talking to vendors. eLearning is a lot like a joke -- the material may be fantastic, but being a hit with the audience depends on perfect delivery.
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Sarah is an Instructional Designer at BaseCorp Learning Systems and is currently completing a PhD in Educational Technology. Her research focuses on implementing competency-based learning systems in all types of organizations. When she doesn't have her nose in a book you can find her at the gym, on the ice, on the ski hill, drinking wine or in a coffee shop … with her nose in a book.