September 10, 2021

5 reasons why your LMS is outdated

Written by

Justus Hunke

What is a Learning Management System?

A Learning Management System, in short LMS, is a software application that provides the framework which handles all aspects of the learning process. A LMS is used by companies for purposes like administration, tracking, reporting, and delivery of educational courses and employee training programs. All types of content (videos, courses, documents, etc.) can be included and managed in those systems. And just like in a library, learners go to the LMS portal and search for courses that interest them most.

Key Takeaways of this article

  • Gamification and a great User Interface maintain your employees' motivation and enhance their learning experience
  • Detailed analytics are necessary in order to identify your learner's skill and knowledge gaps
  • A personal buddy can boost the learning progress of your employees
  • One-size-fits-all solutions simply won’t make it in today's world - personalization is king in eLearning

A LMS is often confused with a Learning Experience Platform (LXP) or a Learning Content Management System (LCMS). Even though they sound similar, they are in fact different or at least complementary to one another.

In summary, a LXP is all about the learning experience, whereas a LMS is based on learning management solely. A LCMS, on the other hand, is more of creating and hosting your learning platform whereas a LMS is only used to administer and manage educational materials.

A Learning Management System offers you better administrative possibilities. To be exact, a LMS helps you to

  • create an online lesson for your users,
  • deliver the learning content efficiently to your audience and
  • update your content quickly and easily

to name just a few functions.

One of the main reasons why Learning Management Systems are used by HR and L&D departments is that - since connecting online is nowadays easier than meeting in person - you are able to teach your employees independently of time and place. Workshops in a noisy and well-crowded conference room have their legitimacy in some areas but are rather outdated in many others. This may also be true for an instructor giving a lecture in front of bored and unfocused trainees. Thus, say goodbye to classrooms - eLearning owns the future!

There is a variety of possible cases to use a Learning Management System. It would go beyond the scope of this article to describe all these different use cases. But to give you a sense of what is possible, here are some interesting examples:

  • Onboarding-process for new employees
  • Train employees (e.g. Compliance training, Sales training)
  • Train remotely
  • Retain employee knowledge
  • Support general education

Now that you know the definition of a Learning Management System and a least some use cases, we can go further and explain why you may need to replace your LMS.

5 reasons why your LMS is outdated

Did you know that the first Learning Management System was introduced in the early 1990s? Although the eLearning market is continuously growing, the sad truth is that the L&D industry hasn't changed the way we use LMS since then. Why? Simply because LMS were created as a management tool to host learning, not to facilitate it. It's time to make learning (and especially eLearning) engaging and interactive again for all users.

Reasons, why your Learning Management System is probably outdated, might be

1. Unappealing User Interface

Typically, a LMS is made up of two parts: An Admin Interface and a User Interface (UI).

Admin interface

This is where the admin (you - the teacher, instructor or learning manager) can perform all tasks to organize the company's learning programs.

User interface

The User Interface (UI) is what learners see when they are enrolled in one of your courses. The UI runs inside your browser or in an app on your device.

It is all too understandable that administrators usually neglect the importance of an appealing User Interface for their learners. But when using a LMS, learners shouldn't get bored or queasy at least. Better yet, they should really enjoy using it. This is where the word "user experience" (UX) comes into play. To better understand what makes a really good UX for your learners, we can invert the argument and demonstrate you what your learning platform's UX should NOT be like:

  • a slowly running application (definitely makes no fun to use)
  • an unintuitive and cumbersome application (you probably experienced it before elsewhere)
  • an UI that is from the last century (ugh)

Or, in summary, your learning platform shouldn't feel like a traditional course catalog.

I have a question for you: Do you enjoy using Netflix or social media? Of course, you do! So why not make your learning platform fun and engaging?

2. No Gamification incorporated and Lack of User Engagement

As we've stated before, learning should be fun. But how do you make every learning topic exciting and appealing for your employees? I have another fancy word for you: Gamification.

When you incorporate elements in your learning platform that do not feel like you use a learning platform, then you are on the right way. If you have not designed it that way yet, don't worry - we have some tips for:

Learning Points (LPs)

You may have played a video game before. And you may have noticed that most games include something like "Experience Points (XP)" or a fictional currency - something that shows your progress. In eLearning, we can make use of the same principle. But here, we call it Learning Points (LPs). For example, learners can earn LPs by completing a course or passing quizzes - and gaining them is fun. This will maintain your employees' motivation and make them excited to learn more.

Leaderboards

This is a powerful feature in eLearning and is also widely used in the gaming industry.

It is not only important for administrators to track the learner's progress but also for the learners themselves. Leaderboard can help your learners figuring out where they are. Thus, learners can compare one's own progress with that of their colleagues. This can be an additional boost to motivate employees to learn more.

Cohort-based Learning

You probably remember it from your time In high school: You and your classmates completing the same assignments and studying material together. Just like in-person, Cohort-based learning is also used in eLearning. There are dozens of reasons why cohort-based learning is of major importance. For example, you facilitate social interaction and collaboration in the learning process as well. This will enhance your employees' learning experience and gives them a sense of community. Moreover, setting goals as a team and also achieving them is encouraging and motivating. In combination with team leaderboards, competitive spirit gets alive when learning as a team.

3. Insufficient Reporting and Analytics

Even though some Learning Management Systems incorporate it, they usually have simple reports on test scores and numbers of courses completed by learners. Mostly there are no detailed analytics about

  • (team's) learning progress
  • time spent on course X
  • course status
  • quiz attempts
  • completion rates
  • retention rate
  • when a user last logged in

But detailed analytics are necessary in order to understand the skills of the learners and, therefore, identify skill gaps they have. Does one of your learners have a high number of quiz attempts? Then he/she should take on another course on that topic. How often do your employees use the learning platform? Once a week? Once a month Or perhaps even rarer? And when they use it, for how long? These are important information for a HR or L&D professional. You invest hundreds of thousands if not millions in your employee training every single year. You should know how valuable training for your employees really is. So make sure you get sufficient analytics.

4. No Expert Mentoring

Sure, pre-recorded video sessions are in most cases sufficient - that's why they are so popular in eLearning. But what if

  • you were looking for some guidance on what skill to learn next?
  • you've got a question about a certain material?
  • or you just wanted to exchange some learning best practices?

Most learning platforms simply leave you in the lurch. But by including expert mentoring, you not only add the "human touch" but also your learners can get instant access to learning advice. Just like the personal trainer in the gym, a qualified expert can help the learners achieve their learning goals faster and more effectively.

For mentors, the interactions also strengthen their own knowledge, and, additionally, the mentors understand the perspective of the learners. Latter help mentors assess the learning content better. In return, expert mentoring leads to growth of knowledge and a closer bond between veterans and newcomers.

5. Lack of Personalization

This is probably the worst thing a learning platform can lack. Most corporate Learning Management Systems are a dull collection of PowerPoint-Slides, Sheets, courses, and quizzes. It is often no piece of cake to find the right content in traditional LMS, not to mention the high expenditure of time.

One-size-fits-all solutions simply won’t make it in today's world - especially not in the educational context. To make your training more efficient, you need to provide your employees with the right content at the right time when they need it. Otherwise, you will lose valuable time on educating, waste money on useless content, and see your employee's motivation disappear.

Your learning platform should have recommended and mandatory courses based on your employees' previous activities in order to provide clear “next steps”. Like a perfectly tailored suit, the learning materials for your learners feel the same. As a result, personalized content keeps your learners' motivation high, increases the retention rate, and improves your ROI.

Summary

LMS have been established for a long time and yet they have hardly evolved. It is not so easy to explain why this is the case. However, it is still possible to think deeply about what makes a good, modern LMS and what impact it has on employee training. Here is a brief summary of what is lacking in current LMS and what opportunities are missed:

UI and UX are not just buzzwords flying around all over the internet. They are serious subjects and are a science in their own right. The purpose of UX design is to continuously improve usability, accessibility, and pleasure for people interacting with the product.

To make any topic appealing to employees, a good UI and UX is already half the battle.

Especially gamification is a huge improvement in your learning platform's UX. By incorporating Learning Points, Leaderboards, and Cohort-based Learning, you make every course a journey your learners would like to continue.

Extensive and understandable analytics are crucial when you want to identify skills gaps in your employees in order to evaluate the training program's effectiveness and to increase your ROI.

Pre-recorded video sessions are good but one-on-one, live video mentoring takes the whole learning experience to the next level. In addition, expert mentoring adds back the "human touch" to your learning platform and, hence, both sides benefit - it is a clear win/win.

Your whole digital life is personalized: Your purchase suggestions on amazon, your news feed on social media, or your movie selection on Netflix. But eLearning still lacks personalization. That is a pity, since personalized content keeps your learners' motivation high, increases the retention rate, and also improves your ROI.

Now you may agree with us that personalized content tailored to the learners' specific needs and current skills should be the new status-quo in L&D.

At edyoucated, we bring back the 'you' in education. We offer personalized learning plans adapting to your employee's roles and skills in real-time. When your employees get started, they just answer a few questions about their skills. The edyoucated personalization engine automatically determines the most effective learning plan for your employees. And the best thing: it learns over time and grows together with your skills.

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