Keeping up with HR jargon : LMS

September 30, 2020 Mark Debono

The global pandemic has shone a light on the importance of digitisation, and also the role of HR in delivering digital projects. Our own research, conducted with IDC, shows that more than eight in 10 companies consider HR to play a critical role in the success of digitisation projects. With digitisation, of course, comes new skills, learning and development needs, including for HR professionals. To help you get to grips with what’s what in HR software, we’ve created a series of blog posts on the most critical HR technologies right now. This one looks at Learning Management Systems (LMS).

What is a Learning Management System (LMS)?

An LMS or, Learning Management System, manages training activities in an organisation. It ensures that the proper training courses are delivered to target people (employees first and foremost, but also contractors, resellers etc.) and will track the course completion accordingly.

Traditional learning management systems were solid, established systems that were originally implemented to manage mandatory compliance trainings. However, these days there is an additional focus on the learning experience and knowledge sharing. Those solutions are sometimes called Learning Experience Platforms, Next Generation Learning Platforms or Knowledge Sharing software.

A learning management system allows organisations to have a centralised database of course materials, assessments, and online communications. A could-based LMS allows employees to access any materials at any time of the day or night and content can be accessed from anywhere across the globe.

Today’s challenge is to engage learners and make them want to learn for themselves, as well as complete any mandatory training; this is called holistic Learning. Holistic learning includes three phases: “Top-down” training — compliance, product or service training, and learning soft skills, such as leadership and time management; “Bottom-up or pulled ” training — users come and look for training themselves, either in the platform or on the web and “Horizontal” learning — user-generated content, knowledge sharing, social learning and collaborative learning.

From a technical point of view, an LMS needs to be accessible to everyone in the organisation. Being able to access learning content from a mobile, tablet, PC or laptop enables employees to complete their training on any device, improving the adoption rate of courses and increasing training completion rates.

Also, being able to report effectively using advanced analytics is particularly important because the costs of training are often very high. This makes it essential that your organisation is able to measure the impact of training, and the return of investment (ROI) of training.

With the development of technology, companies now expect AI-driven learning recommendations in their LMS to increase the culture of curiosity from their employees. Having a hyper personalised x-style recommendation process allows your employees to learn using content that is tailored to their interests and needs. Similarly, being able to access tailored content at any time, from anywhere means your employees can continuously learn and develop their skills.

Finally, it’s important to note that training isn’t an isolated process in HR, but a significant part of an efficient and effective talent management strategy. Therefore, when you train your employees, you need to ensure that their performance is improving accordingly. The reverse is also true: if you manage your employees’ performance with regular reviews, you should be able to suggest more targeted training.

As new technologies develop, so do business strategies. LMS technology is becoming increasingly intelligent and if businesses want to stay ahead in a competitive market, they can no longer rely on aging learning management systems to encourage workplace learning. By implementing an LMS and measuring its success with advanced analytics, organisations can determine if their learning and development strategy is contributing to business success. If want to know more about how you can align your learning strategy with your business goals, you can also take a look at our webinar series “Simplified Learning in a Complex World”.

Who uses an LMS?

Every company that wants to develop the skills of their employees and avoid competency gaps uses an LMS. It is said that half of someone’s competencies expire after three years, which is why organisations need to encourage an environment of continuous learning and have the capabilities to offer digital learning experiences to their employees. All members of the organisation should have access to an LMS, not only does the ease and accessibility encourage learning, but the ability to collaborate and feedback to colleagues across the globe contributes to business success.

In practical terms, the users are the same as for HCM software:

Employees: To conduct their job effectively, employees need an LMS to access required learning content. The technology of an LMS allows for cross-company collaboration, knowledge sharing, feedback, targeted recommendations and encourages a continuous learning approach. If employees are able to learn and train in their own language, from anywhere, at any time, they will likely be more motivated to drive their own development.

Managers: Managers need to have complete visibility over their team’s skills. Via a manager portal, the LMS allows managers to assign training to their employees, develop people based on their performance and conduct reports using advanced analytics. Managers can also use a learning management system to track promotions and assess their employees’ progression. As the system is automated, it also saves managers having to remind their employees to complete any training and it leaves them free to get on with more important tasks.

HR: HR needs total visibility over learning and development in the company. Having a comprehensive view of skills and competencies across the entire organisation is essential if HR wants to run an efficient LMS. HR is able to manage training, anticipate skills gaps and offer interesting off-the-shelf content. Similarly, offering an intelligent approach to learning will not only strengthen the organisation, but it will contribute to the retention of talent and ensure that the organisation’s learning and development strategy is conducive to the overall business goals.

The C-suite: The C-suite wants to mitigate compliance risk. Having access to an LMS allows senior management the visibility they need to ensure their teams are fully trained and compliant. Furthermore, by having access to an LMS, senior management can determine where skills gaps may be, and which topics need to be addressed. By having access to advanced analytics and data reports, they can accurately see where the problems are and implement strategies to fix them.

External partners/resellers/clients: With an LMS, organisations can allow external partners access to targeted information. Via an online portal, people from outside the organisation can communicate with those internally, creating an engaging learning experience. They are also able to give feedback and receive training from anywhere, at any time, ensuring that the entire organisation is involved in workplace learning. This also includes suppliers, as they have an impact in terms of product, quality, reputation and compliance.

An LMS can be accessed by a variety of users and allows for global collaboration. The technology is customisable — helping to break down language barriers and improve consistency throughout the organisation.

An LMS is suitable for all sizes of organisation and offers the ability to manage learning in an efficient and organised fashion. In order to succeed, companies must focus on their most important asset – their people. Moving away from the traditional learning management system and implementing a new learning initiative will have a positive impact on your employees and contribute to the overall success of the organisation.

If you enjoyed this post and found it useful, why not read our other posts in this series, on ATS (Applicant Tracking Systems), TMS (Talent Management Systems) and HCM (Human Capital Management). And if you would like to find out more about how you can help progress on your own digital transformation journey, take a look at our resources here.

About the Author

Mark Debono

Area Vice President at Cornerstone OnDemand

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