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Get to grips with your training strategy by using an LMS

26th Mar 2013
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Gary White explains why an LMS is the key to getting to grips with essential new technologies.

The evolution of learning is all around us. It’s inescapable. Take a look at the way your children are learning in school and you will see it as clear as day. The teacher will explain a concept in class before it is reinforced through activities on a laptop or tablet and finally applied independently at home. Of course,educational learning is not always comparable with corporate learning, but it does illustrate how the way we learn is changing. This change isn’t imminent – it’s here already.

We must adapt our training methods to suit this shift by wholeheartedly embedding technology into our processes. Imagine what your company would look like if it had resisted the adoption of computers in the workplace in the last couple of decades and you’ll get some idea of what your business will become if you don’t get on board with the latest mobile technologies and embedded systems. These latest technologies are our future and, in my opinion, you’d be foolish to ignore them.

There are of course certain things to be aware of when incorporating new technology into your training strategy, as there are whenever you introduce something new. You must ensure that your employees or learners are fully on-board with your objectives. Our technology is always developed with the end-users in mind but I still believe sufficient training is required at the point of introduction and would not expect learners to ‘pick it up as they go along’. This will only lead to frustration and plummeting motivation levels. You must also be transparent in your decisions by explaining to employees how this new technology will not only help to achieve the goals of the company as a whole but also make their job easier. Employees will appreciate being kept in the loop and you will see engagement levels rise. 

"When implemented in the right way you can see ROI and quick results, but you should be supervising and scrutinising it at every turn particularly when it is still in its early stages."

There is however another risk when incorporating new technologies. If not managed in an effective way, technology can have an isolating effect on some employees or learners. You should be careful not to create an environment where technology completely replaces face-to-face communication. One of the major advantages of the latest technology is the ability to incorporate extensive and easy-to-access help centres into your systems so that when the learner encounters minor problems they can often solve them independently. This should not mean, however, that human support is removed entirely. Our customer support manager, Neil Cochrane, is passionate about giving platinum levels of support as you can read in his blog post. Learners should always have a point of contact in the event of a serious problem, and they must not feel like they should always be able to solve complex problems by themselves, as this will demotivate and pile on unnecessary pressure.  

Learning should also be constantly monitored and assessed to ensure that the technology is having the desired effect within the training process. It can’t be assumed that once you’ve installed and rolled out a new piece of kit you can simply let it work its magic. When implemented in the right way you can see ROI and quick results, but you should be supervising and scrutinising it at every turn particularly when it is still in its early stages. The best way to do this is, in my opinion, through the implementation of an effective Learning Management System (LMS). An LMS allows you to sit above the process and really get to grips with what’s working and what’s not so that you can instigate changes and improvements where necessary. You can use an LMS to create, implement and monitor content for entire digital curricula, while also managing performance levels to identify where learners are struggling. They are a brilliant tool for keeping your strategy effective, current and relevant. Be aware that an LMS doesn’t do your job for you and you still need to invest time and effort into its successful utilisation.

We are also seeing the development of LMS in the area of collaborative or social learning where learners can discuss content and assist each other on social platforms. Motivated by being part of a larger network consisting of fellow learners in the same boat, success stories or difficulties can be shared and a ‘tribal’ community spirit built. Personally I think these latest developments are very encouraging to see and our development team are working hard to pre-empt and innovate in this trending area of social learning. The market in which I specialise, sales training, can be very competitive so you might not always expect to see such strong team bonds. However, there is consistent evidence that social platforms are actually helping to build bridges between employees and are going a long way to encourage collaborative work, which is certainly a catalyst to creating a more positive and productive workforce.

Adopting and adapting to new technology is not always easy, however, there is no standing still. The future of learning is here already, and it’s here to stay. There are many steps you can take to ensure the transformation process is as smooth as possible, and investing in an LMS is certainly one of them.

Gary White is CEO of White Springs, who help sales training companies to enhance their methods with sales training technologies. For more information about the technology offered at White Springs visit www.white-springs.com

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