by Susan Jeffery
09 Jun 2020
The first-time buyers’ guide to learning management systems
Learning Management System: it’s a heck of a buzzword and a bit intimidating at first blush. As a growing business, you’re likely starting to hear jargon like this and get a lot of “solutions” thrown at you as figure out what tools you’ll need to thrive and be successful as a company.
It sounds both exciting and terrifying at the same time, right? On the one hand, you’ve got the promise of technology to improve and streamline business operations in a big way. On the other hand, there’s this looming specter of change that, for some, can feel really uncomfortable.
Just what does your business need (or not need) when it comes to employee training, development, and compliance?
Not worry, we’re here to walk you through what an LMS really is, what it isn’t, and what the benefits really are.
What IS it?
The first question is the most important. It’s square one to determine if you’re in the right neighborhood of the business solution you need. Do you really need a learning management solution or do you need to just sign up for a Zoom account?
Let’s all get on the same page. A learning management system is a cloud-based platform that facilitates the management, delivery, and measurement of an company’s skills training, employee development, and compliance training.
An LMS is designed to do more than “check the box” on training. It’s also a powerful platform ready to deliver meaningful, targeted education; engage workers with career development opportunities, and help your business align organizational goals with employee aspirations.
What an LMS is:
- A centralized system to deploy and measure learning activities
- A tool to provide a consistent learning experience from location to location
- An insight-driven tool to push the right topics to the right people
- A way to assign training and empower employees to self-register and explore their own professional development
What an LMS is NOT:
- A collaboration tool
- A meeting space
- Student-focused for homework tracking/assignments
So far, so good? Now that we all have our basic understanding and definition of what an LMS is, the next natural question would be: Why would my business need one?
Learning is critical for every business. A business that doesn’t take the time to learn—from senior management all the way down the chain—is a business that should never expect dynamic growth.
An LMS facilitates learning every company needs train, develop, and engage employees. Here are a few other benefits of making the investment:
Benefits of an LMS
You were meant for more than paperwork
On average, HR professionals lose 14 hour per week on manual processes. How much time have you lost trying to record who’s completed what compliance course in an Excel spreadsheet? And would you consider the record accurate enough to withstand a compliance audit? An LMS does the heavy lifting of assigning training and tracking completion with full reporting capabilities. If you want to spend less time on the tedium, an LMS is exactly what you need.
Make data-driven decisions
An LMS isn’t just a fancy delivery system for training courses, it also helps you make smart, data-driven decisions about learning. Reporting and data can help you prove organizational impact, be audit-ready, and understand how learning impacts your organization by analyzing wide range of data points.
Give your employees power over their career
Companies with a strong learning culture have 30-50% higher engagement & retention rates. Your employees want to learn and grown in their careers and they’re more likely to stay at your company and be the superstar employees we all hope for when they get the development they’re craving. An LMS with a robust library of content will enable employees to sign up for courses at will and drive their own career development. Of course, managers can always assign training, but empowering employees and their curiosities carries its own power.
We all love binge-worthy content
A modern LMS will allow you to create “playlists” of relevant content for individual employees or larger groups. We’re living in a Netflix world and people are increasingly used to “You might also like” suggestions for binging content. An LMS will give you the power to create binge-worthy playlists that keep employees engaged and hitting the “next” button. Plus, the ability to tailor playlists to the employee and their role ensures that content is relevant and not a one-size-fits-all model.
Rely on one, single source of truth
How many different learning vendors, class-room trainings, sign-in sheets, and excel spreadsheets are you currently trying to cobble together? Whatever the number, if it’s more than one, it’s too many. An LMS is a centralized hub that can be accessed from any device, with all materials and reporting in one location. It saves time and effort for everyone involved.
Who doesn’t like to save money?
An LMS is a scalable solution that grows with your company. You could train anything from 5 to 100,000 employees, and all with a predictable per-employee cost that is less expensive that hiring outside vendors for classroom training or per-serving virtual training.
What to look for in an LMS
Now that we’ve expounded on the benefits of a learning management system, you may be ready to start looking for a system to meet your needs. Before you get started, here are a few things to keep in mind:
- What are your requirements? Make a list of everything you need an LMS to do for your business before you start your search.
- Why now? What are you hoping to get out of an LMS? Here’s a few case studies of other businesses and what an LMS helped them accomplish.
If you have more questions about getting started with an LMS, Cornerstone experts are ready to guide you. Want a quick walk-through? Talk to us.