What is a Learning Management System and Why you need one?
Learning is a huge part of business, whether it’s the product you’re selling or just keeping employees happy.
Today there are an increasing number of tools and software designed to meet the learning needs of businesses. However, there are still many that aren’t sure what a Learning Management System is or just don’t think it’s relevant for their business.
To help, we’ve outlined exactly what an LMS is as well as who it could benefit and how.
What is a Learning Management System (LMS)
In it’s most simple guise an LMS does what it says on the tin; it is a software application that manages learning. Of course, there’s much more to it than that. The easiest way to understand what an LMS is, is to break it down.
The foundation of any good learning management system is, of course, the learning. An LMS provides a single platform to create and deliver learning materials to learners. Many of today’s system allow the creation and upload of mixed media including PowerPoints, videos and PDFs, as well as various learning materials including training courses, exams, certifications and more.
Depending on the LMS the creation of these materials and media can be done within the platform itself rather than using additional third-party tools, but at the very least the software provides a place for learners to access these resources remotely. It can also provide them with a place to reach out and collaborate with other learners as well as communicate with teachers and mentors, providing further learning opportunities.
Perhaps even more important is the management part. As well as being able to manage resources including creating new learning paths and updating courses, an LMS allows to the management of the entire training and learning process. This includes enrolling new learners and deciding which courses or learning paths certain job roles or individuals receive, tracking learner progress and managing record-keeping.
There are a few ways that LMS software can be integrated and accessed, the newest and most flexible way being cloud based systems.
- Cloud-based – hosted on the vendors servers which means they are responsible for updating and upgrading it. Simply access online with any device wherever you are. No need to install any software.
- Others – you can also get self-hosted systems that requires software downloads either from a website or with physical software discs, as well as desktop application where an app is installed on a desktop which limits its accessibility.
The Benefits of a Learning Management System
The benefits of an LMS depends predominantly on the features and functionality of the specific platform chosen, but here are some of the more general benefits.
Collect and access Big Data
With a single LMS all your data is stored safely in one place which ultimately makes it easier to create, manage and maintain your learning strategy. Look at data as broad or as a granular as you want for better decision making, and easily update all your learning materials.
Progress and performance tracking
This includes the performance of your learners as well as the courses and material. Identify which courses are working well and which have the lowest learner engagement or pass rates, then update them accordingly to improve the learning experience. You can also track the progress of all your learners to quickly spot the ones that might need additional support as well as your rising stars and top talents that could be a good fit in a new role.
Personalise the experience
Create and assign different learning paths based on the needs of individuals whether it’s to suit their learning goals, their job role or other criteria. Alternatively, you can also allow learners to choose their own training activities for a more personalised and satisfying training experience designed to inspire personal development and succession.
Scalability and accessibility
Allow learners to access material remotely from wherever they are, and stop being limited by geographical restraints. You can also scale up or down and deploy local and global courses to suit your business.
Benefit to your bottom line
Probably the most important benefit of all is the one to your bottom line. Providing ongoing learning and development to employees can improve the quality of their work as well as help them reach and progress higher within the company. That means improved productivity, organisation competitiveness and employee retention.
Who uses an LMS
Still not convinced any of these benefits apply to you? You might be surprised by how many types of businesses benefit from a learning management system. With many companies seeing an average decrease in turnover by 65% just from a higher investment in learning and development, it might be argued that all businesses could benefit from an LMS.
- Educational institutions and providers – it’s no surprise that any business or organisation that provides learning as their bread and butter will absolutely need to invest in an LMS.
- Regulated industries – businesses that operated in regulated industries, for example financial services, also need to provide training as standard practice to ensure their employees are compliant with industry regulations.
- Every other business – Even if training isn’t a legal requirement all businesses should be providing some sort of learning experience to employees. This is integral to productivity, competitiveness, and succession and retention. This also includes extended enterprise online training where companies can deploy training to external sales channels, franchisees and so on.
There’s also a variety of people within an organisation who benefit from an LMS.
The learners (employees or customers) can take advantage of the flexibility and convenience of an LMS, particularly a cloud based one, with access to all the material they need anywhere and everywhere. They can also get and provide feedback including communications with other learners and teachers.
The eLearning team including HR and line managers can track student progress, provide feedback, easily update courses, make better decisions to improve learning and more.
SuccessFactors - Learning Management System Overview
Advanced LMS systems
A strong learning management system is becoming increasingly important to businesses. Even if you have an LMS in place, you could be missing out on some key technology available in today’s advanced systems that could take your learning strategy to the next level. For example, an advanced LMS like SAP SuccessFactors Learning can increase profit margins by 24% on average with just a $1,500 training investment per employee thanks to some of these superior features.
- Automate assignment profiles to improve regulatory compliance and reduce legal risk.
- Integrated with internal and external social networking platforms for superior collaboration, turning learners into teachers as well as students.
- SAP SuccessFactors Learning Marketplace to create and deliver training and courses to customers.
- Utilize the Open Content Network to provide broad access to expert-created content from partners edX, OpenSesame, lynda.com, Harvard Business Publishing and many more.
- Extended enterprise environments for partners, dealers, franchises, customers, and the extended business network.
With a superior LMS like SuccessFactors Learning there’s no need to get an LMS that specialises in just one business requirement. Whether you’re selling courses online or need to regulate certificates for legal needs, this advanced software has it all. Contact us today to find out more.
Monitoring and managing performance is arguably one of the most important parts in the employee lifecycle not least because it has such direct and tangible effects on the business itself. With the right insight and tools performance can be accurately measured to ensure that employees are in line with business goals and reaching their full potential.
With SuccessFactors Performance & Goals this all starts with the library of over 500 SMART goals that managers can set and control, even using cascading goals to see individual, team and company wide progress. From here managers can track the metrics that matter most and make decisions accordingly to ensure performance stays on track.
Managers and employees can also connect with each other across devices and from any location in the world to ensure dialogue with a continuous feedback loop between both parties. Employees can ask questions and make suggestions while managers can track progress and coach teams to success.
Employee development should be a continuous process through the lifecycle but it most important as they learn their new role and aspire towards a successive one. For training purpose SuccessFactors Learning provides an interactive platform to help employees fit into their new role quickly and easily. They can access training material and videos as well as connect to other employees, making each worker a teacher as well as a teacher for more productive development. It’s easy to create tailored courses for each role and track employee progress, as well as ensure that any necessary qualifications and certifications are achieved for legal purposes.
When it comes to succession, SuccessFactors Succession & Development can help HR teams create a superior succession strategy that efficiently identifies current and potential gaps in line with changing business goals, search and nominate candidates to fill critical roles and create talent pools across the organisation. Companies can even set up mentoring programs and proactively suggest to roles to encourage employees towards succession and accelerate the whole process, saving precious time and money in sourcing new top talent and motivating employees at the same time.
Rewarding employees is essential to keeping them motivated and happy at work but balancing the budgets can be extremely challenging. Nurturing and retaining existing talent need to stay affordable while still offering attractive benefits, otherwise companies’ risk either losing talent to competitors or spending even more than they would on new hires.
SuccessFactors Compensation can help manage this balance with an unparalleled overview of insights that keep track of and help allocate compensation budgets. Employee performance is then monitored to identify and reward the top talent. Compensation modelling can be used to forecast base, bonus and LTI plan designed to find the balance between business strategy competitive pay and affordability.
Find the right combination for your lifecycle
While each of the SuccessFactors suite can help to optimise a specific stage in the lifecycle, many modules cross over and be used to meet the needs of one or more of the stages while each lifecycle will be something different in each business. If you’re not sure which one or more of the suite could be used to answer your current lifecycle challenges, our team can help you identify the best combination for your business.