Make Your LMS More Valuable

If you’re anything like I am, you’ve tried to bring people to your LMS on several occasions, adding courses that your data suggests are needs for your organization. For all the promise that online learning holds – with its 24/7 access, no-need-to-travel-for-training – many organizations continue to struggle to bring their employees to their online learning platform.

Having worked with several organizations that have invested significantly in online learning, there seem to be three letters often missing from resources uploaded to an LMS.

Those three letters are: pdf.

Of course there’s a need for SCORM-compliant elearning modules that engage employees through branching scenarios and essential content. Will courses alone drive people to want to use your LMS?

In my experience, the answer has consistently been “no”.

Why don’t employees use their LMS?

Talking with a variety of employees about the reasons they don’t use their organization’s LMS, the most common answers I’ve heard include:

  • I’ve heard there’s good content… I just don’t have time right now.
  • I know we were given login information, I just never got around to using it.
  • I know how to train my department. We don’t need elearning. I just need a list of topics so I’m not always covering the same material at our monthly meeting.

Which has led me to the conclusion that not every resource on an LMS needs to be a course from which people learn. Well-designed courses can be expensive and poorly designed courses can be detrimental to anyone’s motivation for taking additional courses. Whether well- or poorly-designed, all courses take up an employee’s time.

While some courses (such as compliance training) are required by organizations, most employees I’ve spoken with prefer to get in, get the information they need, and get on with their day. This is why job aids, checklists, diagrams, flowcharts and lists of information in the humble form of a pdf may actually offer the most value of anything that is loaded to your organization’s LMS.

What’s the difference between an LMS and an Intranet?

Can’t documents simply be loaded to an organization’s Intranet? Sure.

It may not be an either/or proposition. For organizations that have both an Intranet and an LMS, having key job aids and other documents available in both places can be helpful.

The advantage an LMS offers is that information can be grouped by topic and bundled into learning paths that offer pdfs, videos and SCORM-compliant elearning modules in the event someone wants to go into more detail about a given subject.

LMS administrators should be familiar with adult learning principles

A key to driving employees to want to use their organization’s LMS is to align the online learning strategy with key principles of adult learning. As Malcolm Knowles taught us many years ago, adult learners are self-directed, autonomous beings who want the things they learn to solve a problem for them.

By offering quickly accessible information in a simple pdf format, employees are not forced to navigate a course that has much more information than they need.

If you want to bring more people to your organization’s LMS, try uploading (and then marketing) a few quick reference pdfs that employees will be able to use immediately.

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