How to save time by using an LMS?
Your time is a precious commodity. Software allows us to perform more tasks, better, and more quickly. A Learning Management System like LearnUpon has been specifically designed to allow organisations to create, deploy and track training in the most efficient manner possible. That design should help make your processes easier and less time consuming. In this post, I describe the various opportunities to save time and effort by using an LMS.
With a cloud-based LMS, a user can log into a web-portal in order to access their training. By using a multi-tenant LMS you can effectively give clients and partners their own dedicated learning portal without any increased time required to manage them. Portals for each audience should be quick to create, brand and configure. If you have a large number of clients, an LMS is a great way to manage them all effectively.
- Create portals for each client, department, sister company etc
- Brand each in seconds
- Copy content across all of your portals
- Quickly switch between each portals as you need
- Manage all from one master portal
Once you have set up your portals, you can start adding in your users. The creation of these users should be quick either in single, small numbers or even en masse. Whether you are inviting a colleague to a portal to pilot a course, or you are creating every single user in your organisation, the process should not be time consuming or painful. An LMS should allow you to:
- Create users in seconds
- Allow for self-registration
- Import users with a CSV file batch upload (thousands at a time)
- Integrate CRM or HR systems with API/SSO to import users
An LMS should allow you to create your courses in a manner that is quick and easy. Well designed systems will have a centralized area for you to upload your content. This should allow you to seamlessly arrange your course without having to re-upload regularly used content. Whether the content comprises of documentation, video or exams, the process should be streamlined. If you are using SCORM or xAPI files it should be easy to drag and drop the file and within seconds form the core of your course.
If you are creating courses with native tools within the LMS, these features should be efficient also. For example, if you are creating a large number of exams, the use of pools or banks of questions allow you to avoid the repetition of creating the same questions more than once. This is really important if there is overlapping content or questions in your courses.
So, creating courses in an LMS enables you to:
- Collaborate on course creation
- Re-use content from a centralized library to prevent you having to re-upload content
- Copy courses and reuse them as templates
- License out courses to portals to control usage limit
- Place courses in a storefront to sell your courses online
Learning paths are groups of multiple courses which allow the delivery of customized learning experiences. These paths can be sequential so that a learner progresses through a list of predefined courses. A learner can gradually master a specific topic over a period of time, with more courses being made available to them as they progress. The benefit of a Learning Path is that it sets in motion an entire program of learning with no follow-up effort required from the admin.
For example if an organization uses Learning paths for orientation and on-boarding, a new employee can be set on a path and is largely self sufficient until they complete the path. They will complete the courses in the program in the order and time-frame that the administrator has decided. This allows for an initial investment in time to be rewarded by the Learner being largely self-sufficient and requiring little support for the duration of the ‘program’.
Instructor Led Training
If you have in-person or webinar components to your training you will be familiar with the difficulty of managing these sessions without an LMS. This type of training does not have to exist outside of an LMS. You can use an ILT (instructor led training) module in a course in order to create, schedule and report on those live sessions. This removes a lot of the leg work that can occupy a lot of your time.
Steps that will allow you to get the most out of your live sessions are:
- Schedule single or multiple sessions as part of a course
- Detail session times on the calendar within the LMS and send information externally for users to add to their calendar automatically (iCAL etc)
- Incorporate a waitlisting feature to manage the capacities of sessions
- Automatically generate rosters of attendees for instructors
- Integrate with webinar tools to automatically generate attendance reports
The enrollment of users into courses or learning paths using an LMS will also save time. With a couple of clicks a single user or your entire list of users can be enrolled. This makes your process highly scalable. You no longer have to tediously work through a list or spreadsheet to make sure everyone is taking part. The enrollment process in an LMS should allow you to:
- Enroll a user in a course or courses in seconds
- Automatically enroll large numbers of users using group enrollment or batch upload and enroll
- Enrollment based on API or SSO information
- Enable self-enrollment using catalogs
- Automatic enrollment and access to a course once a user has purchased a course on a storefront
Notifications and Reminders
One of the most time consuming issues with training programs can be ensuring that learners actually complete the training in the time allotted. With an LMS you can reduce this problem by utilizing notifications and reminders. The learner will benefit from being regularly reminded of what courses they need to complete and the time frame involved and those administrating the training will have a more steady rate of course completions in their reports as a result. You will no longer need to chase learners to get them to finish their training in by using:
- Automatic email reminders of enrollment
- Automatic email reminder of due dates and access duration
- Notifications of milestones such as course completion sent to learners
Certification is an area that traditional takes a lot of time. It’s one of the most frustrating tasks for those who have not adopted an LMS yet. Those who have yet to make the leap have to work through a list of learners who have completed a course, check that they have met all criteria and then manually create and send out a certification. This is a huge time sink and can be eliminated with an automatic certification approach that an LMS provides.
A certification process in an LMS should look something like:
- Creation of certificates using templates
- Deciding on information that will feature on the certificate if awarded
- Attachment of certificate to a specific course
- Certificate is sent to Learners automatically upon completion of the course
- Automatic re-enrollment and re-certification in the future if required
Now that your courses have been published and the learners have been enrolled, you will want to get a picture of their progression. A modern LMS’s reporting suite should be easy to use so that you rapidly get at the valuable data, wherever you are. Those reports should be in multiple formats such as excel, PDF and also rendered on the user interface itself as a dashboard. This gives you multiple options in how you will use and interpret your reporting data.
Typical LMS reporting features:
- The ability to run ad hoc reports on any device to see live reporting data
- Scheduling of reports to go to designated personnel on a regular basis
- Reporting by groups or portals
- Delegation of the ability to run reports to other users (e.g. managers)
The automation features that an LMS provides increase efficiency and decrease manual effort. The time that is saved over the course of a single year is significant. Some of the most painstaking tasks are removed whilst increasing the accuracy and quality of your work. In short, both you and your organization will benefit from incorporating an LMS into your Learning and Development strategy.