Traditional learning and corporate training has always revolved around gathering students together, in one space, and talking at them before quizzing them to see how much information was absorbed.
The rise of Electronic Learning, or the e-Learning system, broke down some of those boundaries: it helped make learning more interactive and also allowed learners to learn off-site in remote locations. However, eLearning has advanced in recent years to the point where, thanks to the rise of the smartphone and almost total, market saturation, we now have mobile learning at the forefront of the field. So what should you look for in an Electronic Learning System?
What is an e-Learning System?
An Electronic Learning System is an educational platform that takes place over the Internet. Due to its convenience and flexibility, learning through an Electronic Learning Management System (LMS features) results in effective learning experiences and results. They also complement most – if not all industries given the current climate of rapidly-changing industries, dispersed workforces, and the reliance of online systems.
What does LMS stand for?
Most commonly, LMS is an acronym for Learning Management System. It is an eLearning term to describe a system which manages the eLearning courseware and lessons. Originally, an LMS only managed the created educational material. Lately, it has come to include authoring tools as well for a more holistic approach. Find out more about LMS here.
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What should an e learning system do?
The clue to what an LMS should do is in its very descriptive name: Learning Management System. In this case, “system” refers to a software program designed to deliver your educational/training material, track its use, and then give you reports about how it all is going…or not. “Management” describes the administrative component of this system. In other words, once it is set up, there is an automaticity about it. You don’t have to be on hand for every little step. Lastly, “learning” is the whole purpose of this system, no matter what that type of learning is.
To sum it up, an LMS should enable you to easily organize material into lessons and courses, keep an eye on which trainees/students are completing which tasks, and make this data available to you so you can assess how well your goals are being achieved.
Here are 10 features a good e learning system should have:
- eLearning authoring tools—quickly develop your lesson/course content
- complete, real-time interactivity—for “any time, any place” learning.
- mobile-friendly platform—because cell phones are the #1 digital tool today
- a reliable hosting method—so your educational/training material is available as needed.
- scalability—your e learning management system should be able to grow along with your needs
- responsive tech support—if they don’t answer, what’s their use?
- a cost that suits your budget—an elearning system needn’t break the corporate bank
- complete analytics and reports—to improve your courses via authentic feedback.
- one or more protocol-compliant options—such as SCORM, Tin Can API, IMS LTI, and AICC.
gamification elements—because fun is an important (and effective) part of learning/training.
What is the difference between LMS and CMS?
As we mentioned before, an LMS (Learning Management System) handles the educational content of eLearning courseware and lessons.
Overall, a CMS (Content Management system) is a more basic version of an LMS. Let’s compare and contrast them via a table.
What is the level of interactivity?
Little or no interaction with posted content. Generally view or view+edit.
All levels including complete, real-time, interactivity.
Which formats of educational material can be included?
Articles, blogs, infographics, videos
Articles, blogs, infographics, videos + quizzes, badges, levels, and other types of gamification; discussion forums; reporting.
Where is the content located?
Generally, it is in one central location, so suits on-site users.
Located in the cloud, so suits central, multiple, and remote users.
Choose CMS for simple topics which don’t need much explanation or testing. The central location makes it great for version control infrequently updated courses and/or those with multiple collaborators.
Choose LMS for interactive, dynamic, online courses. The cloud location means courses are accessible to anyone, any time, anywhere. The reporting feature helps keep track of educational goal achievement.
What is an LMS integration?
Think of “integrating” as mixing or blending things together. So, an integration is software that enables this mixing/blending to take place. Why do you need it?
Perhaps your company or educational organization already has an electronic learning system. It’s working fine, but it has not kept up-to-date with the latest eLearning features and abilities. Rather than replace it, you can integrate your legacy online learning system with other platforms which offer the newer features you are looking for. This means you don’t have to start from square one. Instead, you layer on the newer options which your integration offers.
What should an e learning system have?
Microlearning is where you teach and learn using easy-to-remember, bite-sized chunks of information. Few people can absorb a torrent of information in a single course or lesson but breaking it down into smaller parts is clinically proven to make it absorbed more efficiently. This makes microlearning much more effective than traditional training and you should ensure that it’s a major part of any electronic learning system that you use for corporate training, retail training, or simply general learning of any kind.
2. Mobile-First Learning
Just about everybody in the developed world has a smartphone nowadays – especially those in a business environment. By allowing learners to use their own smartphone, they can perform lessons and training courses at their own convenience, wherever they are in the world!
Few places in the world have a broadband infrastructure that allows an organisation to send large courseware files to scores of individuals. Doing so would also mean that updating information and version control becomes very hard to manage. However, if your electronic learning platform is based in the cloud, you can quickly-and-easily update courses or lessons whenever you want and all of your learners will instantly have access to the new information.
4. Electronic Learning System Templates
Despite all of the conveniences of eLearning, it’s still easy to get bogged down in answering myriad multiple choice or true-or-false questions. A good electronic learning platform will have a variety of templates for you to choose from. That way you can have learners answering the same style of questions in completely different ways. You could use scratch-to-reveal questions, word searches, swipe-right lessons and more. This way you can add an element of each to microlessons and keep your learners engaged.
5. Gamification and prizes
Even the best learners can become cynical and apathetic when it comes to doing the latest etraining. So why not add some incentives and a level of competition? A good electronic learning system will have the option to award points for correct answers and also be able to time answers. This way, you can offer prizes for the best performers. The level of competition makes learning almost subliminal and not the chore it’s frequently been regarded as.
Why not try one of our courses in our content library to see how effective this can be. Here is a popular course on being a team player https://www.edapp.com/course/be-a-team-player.
How to set up a learning portal?
Your learning portal is the gateway to your electronic learning platform. In other words, how your users will access all the content you have put online. Here are the basic steps to setting that up:
Step 1: Domain creation
You will need a memorable domain name (URL) for your learning portal, something that will stick in the minds of your users. This will help them to access their learning more easily…and thus, frequently. Check all your ideas with a domain checker to make sure your name is available. If you are creating this portal for your organization and not branding it for sales, why not keep things simple: [yourcompany]portal.xxx.xxx.
Step 2: Hosting
Will your portal be hosted on your local computer system? A national network? The cloud? Make your decision and set up the requirements.
Step 3: Portal home page
Your electronic learning platform will usually provide templates which you can use. These will be “plug and play.” In other words, easy to complete online forms which create professional, user-friendly web pages. You will be allowed to choose your fonts, colors, and backgrounds. You will be able to upload images for a more inviting look and feel.
Step 4: Link to your learning content
Via your portal, your learners/trainees should be able to access all that great material you have prepared. Depending on your LMS, this will involve further web pages and links. Again, this should be easy to do via templates.
What is a drawback to web-based training?
Despite its advantages, web-based training has its disadvantages, too. Perhaps the main one is the distance aspect. While the content is at the learner’s/trainee’s fingertips, literally, the instructor is not. Even via live, chat platforms such as ZOOM, there is separation which can be felt and have a negative impact on the learning progress of some people.
The next biggest category is the quality of the material. Without good design, web-based training/learning will be boring—seemingly endless repetitions of the same 2-3 task types. That’s why it is essential to choose a development platform with a wide variety of rapid authoring tools, and challenge your course developers to use most of them.
What is SCORM compliant for LMS?
The acronym SCORM stands for Shareable Content Object Reference Model. SCORM is a set of technical, programming standards. Its purpose is to create compatibility between different eLearning platforms. In other words, SCORM standards guide programming code so that eLearning apps can “talk to” each other and work together.
If an elearning LMS is SCORM-compliant, you know that it has been created according to current best practices of the industry and will be fully communicative with other SCORM-compliant software.
Why use a learning management system?
Let’s look at this one from the other side for a moment. DON’T use a learning management system (LMS) if you want a disorganized, inefficient educational system which ends up costing your organization large amounts of time and money.
5 benefits for corporate training
- Improved ROI: you get more training for less money, a win-win for both the organization and the employee.
- Greater compliance more quickly: New employees are brought up to speed in less time. As compliance changes, existing employees learn new information to keep your organization compliance up-to-date.
- Proof of training: Independent reporting via your LMS shows that your organization is doing all training necessary. It’s not just your say so.
- High training level overall: Since your training is offered in an engaging, motivating way, and on an “any time, any place” basis, employees are encouraged to complete more of it. The more they do, the more they learn. The more they learn, the more your general training goals are reached.
- Need-based content: You build the training content you need. It is relevant, timely, and flexible. When things change, rapid authoring enables you to make the revisions quickly, sometimes within minutes. This means your training content can exactly suit your corporate needs.
5 benefits for educational organizations
- Up-to-date content: Books can be out of date even before they are published. This means that by the time they reach your students, they are passé. Yet, you’ve spent a large part of your monetary resources on them, so they get used, even though they are not giving the best material. An LMS with rapid authoring means you can change as needed, from one lesson to the next.
- Budget-friendly: By reducing the amount spent on books and paper, an online LMS can free up money to be spent on things you always wished your educational institution could afford.
- Re-allocation of time: Instructors spend a lot of time grading student work. Much of this work is in a closed question format such as multiple choice or matching. An LMS can grade such tasks automatically. This frees up instructor time to develop more creative course content.
- Pedagogical assessment: One of the main keys to successful learning is knowing what works and what doesn’t. The overall picture will help improve the effectiveness of the course. On a more specific level, the LMS analytics and reporting keeps you aware of what your students are doing and how it is going. While students should be able to check their progress themselves, you can, too, getting in touch with those who need extra support.
Learning flexibility: LMS learning offers the ability for “any time, any place” education. Many of the “lectures” and tasks do not have to take place on a set day, at a certain time, in a specific place. This accommodates a wider variety of learning styles than the traditional classroom setting.
What is an online learning platform?
An online learning platform also referred to as an eLearning platform, is where learning material is hosted online. It’s an overarching place where learning material is delivered online. Whereas an LMS is a software platform that also provides tools for L&D development, engagement, and continuous learning.
“Essentially, all LMS learning is technically eLearning, but not all eLearning is done in an LMS.”
How do you manage online classes?
Managing online classes is easily tracked, measured, and reported through an LMS. Systems like EdApp have analytics features built-in to the LMS, making it incredibly easy for users to see all the details around results. This means that the results can be analysed and a variety of actions can be used to re-engage targeted learners. Further, EdApp also has features like Discussions and Assignments, to manage online classes by way of coaching and mentoring through conversations online, ensuring learners are participating and applying their knowledge accordingly.