December 19, 2018
LMS Systems are the primary type of eLearning software that companies use to train employees. They’ve been getting increasingly popular over the past 20 years to the point where there’s now a plethora of choices that dramatically vary in terms of cost and functionality. In this article we’ll look at the most important features that an LMS requires to ensure that learning and knowledge retention is most effective.
An LMS System is software that enables an organisation to distribute training software to all of its users. It’s closely linked to authoring tool software which is used to create the software that’s then distributed via the LMS System. LMS stands for Learning Management System so adding an extra system is technically redundant. However, the three-letter acronym has come to represent the term in its own right and now many people refer to LMSs as LMS systems.
LMS Systems are notorious for providing unengaging learning content. Indeed, most eLearning courses see lower-than 20 per cent completion rates. However, choosing the right LMS features can boost that figure to a 90 per cent completion rate and beyond. So, check out LMS systems which offer the following features:-
Microlearning reduces courses and lessons down into easily-digestible bite-sized chunks of information. Rather than deluge a learner with information that they might not relate to or need at the present time, focusing on brief topics keeps them engaged and makes for more effective learning. The small size of courses means they can be accessed and completed quickly which in turn means they can also be accessed on demand, right before they’re needed, on a just-in-time training basis.
The diminutive nature of microlearning content means that it should be simple to access on a mobile device. While most eLearning courses can be accessed on a smartphone, the user experience can be horrible and fiddly because the content isn’t optimised for the touchscreen. As such, using mobile-focused LMS Systems that are designed specifically to work on mobile devices makes for a better user experience and a more engaged learner.
3. Spaced Repetition
Spaced Repetition is an ancient technique that’s been heavily developed in recent years. By repeating lessons at increasing time intervals, knowledge retention increases over time. While micro lessons are small enough to repeat as a whole, the best LMS systems have built-in spaced repetition features which enhance the methodology both by remembering which questions the learner got right and dynamically focusing on material that a learner shows they’re struggling with.
4. Peer Learning
Experts agree that the most effective training courses comprise of up to 30 per cent peer learning. This means training performed by learners’ colleagues. Your own workers will know more about your company’s processes, policies and practices than anyone else. Having them present courses leverages their expertise and creates lessons that are more relatable, engaging and effective. By using LMS Systems which have integrated authoring tools (perhaps with templates that they can easily populate themselves or with minimal assistance) it’s simple for anyone to create a course or lesson.
5. Interactivity and Gamification
Most LMS Systems offer some form of interactivity but it rarely stretches far beyond selecting the answer within a multiple choice question. However, in a world where smartphone ownership is ubiquitous and everyone has a touchscreen-enabled, powerful device in their pocket, the potential for elaborate interactivity and gamification is dramatically boosted. Interacting with questions is far more engaging than passively-responding to questions, especially if it’s fun to do so.
6. Integrated Authoring Tool
Authoring tool is the name given to software that creates the courseware that’s then distributed via LMS Systems. It’s commonly very expensive and requires serious training to use. L&D professionals frequently outsource their use to specialist companies. However, with a mobile LMS, elaborate content can be easily created by unskilled users simply by adding questions and answers to interactive templates. This makes creating new content a simple process without high costs or big delays in creation. It also means that updates can be easily made to courses to keep them relevant.
It’s important that LMS Systems offer analytics which clearly show who has completed a course and who hasn’t. In the case of companies with thousands of users, it’s also important to have the ability to combine users into groups (and potentially combine groups into larger groups) to keep an eye on course completion rates and identify those who might be struggling. Good analytics can also identify bad lessons: if many users give up at the same point within a course, you’ll know that fixing it can remove a barrier to completion.
8. Cloud Translation
Many large corporates have multiple workers based around the world. Translating courseware can be a very expensive and time-consuming process. However, it needn’t be thanks to the likes of Google’s A.I.-based cloud translation tool which is now capable of translating sentences into natural-sounding other languages (with a greater-than 80 per cent success rate).
Video is still a great method of knowledge transfer. With so many great, free streaming services, it makes sense for LMS Systems to leverage them instead of embedding large video files within a course and sending it out to users – something that will quickly swamp networks and fill-up local computer storage.
10. Real-world prizes
Distributing completion certificates can give learners a sense of achievement and something to work for. However, better incentives involve real-world prizes. Distributing multiple, low-value-but-attractive prizes – such as free coffee, Uber Eats and shopping vouchers – tends to be more effective than offering the chance to win a large prize. Implementing prizing can boost completion rates to near-100 per cent.
If any of the above sound attractive to you or your organisation, get in touch at email@example.com. You can also learn about LMS companies or use EdApp’s Mobile LMS and authoring tool for free by signing up here.
Daniel Brown is a senior technical editor and writer that has worked in the education and technology sectors for two decades. Their background experience includes curriculum development and course book creation.