The day is not too far when the concept of a company campus or an office where everyone comes in to work and leaves during highly overlapping hours becomes a thing of the past.
And when that happens, Learning Management Systems (LMS) will be the most common if not the only way training happens in small/medium companies as well as corporations -- be it sales and support training, customer training, training an outsourced workforce or simply internal employee training.
The criticality and benefits of training to a company’s success and business results is a well-covered topic. Why do we believe that LMS will be the most common way to train in the not-so-far-away future? There are a few highly disruptive factors at play which are bound to create a cultural transformation:
- The internet of things connecting all kinds of heterogenous devices resulting in explosive space decoupling
- Strong trend of employers seeing flexible time as a direct influence on high productivity and work satisfaction and movement towards integrating these into their work style
- The unstoppable trend of the sharing economy resulting in an increasing need to train a heterogenous and highly distributed participant base
- Myriad of tools to stay remote but highly connected, including virtual office spaces
And this is guaranteed to eventually happen with our employees, sales teams, support teams and even customers soon if not already. Being able to train with this setting, specifically without any time or space coordination is going to become critical to business success no matter which space you operate in.
Learning Management Systems (LMS) basically allow you to host training content and manage the overall training experience including quizzes, surveys and detailed reporting. LMS are different than Content Management Systems (CMS) in that they allow you to host and manage the entire training experience with content created using other tools such as powerpoint, video, audio etc. Solutions like Mindflash even have engagement integration (FocusAssist), which allows a trainer to tailor content based on aggregate trainee engagement score detected based on body language. This is analogous to how one would tailor delivery for effectiveness during a live coordinated training.
With localization and support for a wide variety of video and audio development tools as well as very detailed reporting, these solutions give companies and trainers the freedom they never had before. They also typically include a much more complete overall training and effectiveness workflow than any alternatives such as webinars or meetings can provide.
All this with significant cost savings from avoiding:
- Trainer travel and lodging
- Need for large groups of employees being away in big coordinated chunks of time
- The productivity impact from manual-intensive (read spreadsheets) tracking, communication and coordination to get all training completed, and know how it went
- Local storage costs for training content
Needless to say, LMS can be leveraged to improve effectiveness for training with the traditional workforce as well.
To be ready for this new world and still have the effective training for all aspects of people interactions - employees, sales, support, customer, external partners, one should:
- Evaluate LMS options to identify what works best for you
- Identify a plan of migration with maximum reuse of content you already have
- Roll out a smaller beta or test version to evaluate and fine-tune content and approach
- Enable ongoing usage and continuous improvement of online training material
- Set realistic timelines for the organization to leverage the new system
With this kind of an outline, businesses are on a good path train their way to success for the heterogeneous and distributed workforce, today and tomorrow.
Are you ready to revolutionize your employee training and effectively enable success for a distributed workforce?
Shobana Radhakrishnan is a technologist, blogger and speaker with extensive engineering experience playing various roles at companies such as Netflix, Yahoo! and Symantec. She is currently Vice President of Engineering at Mindflash where she is responsible for its technology and engineering execution. You can follow her on Twitter or LinkedIn.