Most business owners acknowledge that employees play a big part in success, and surveys consistently show that engaged employees tend to be the most productive. However, they also show that only about 35% of employees are engaged in 2019, which seems like a low number, but is actually a significant improvement from previous years.
It seems then that owners and managers and making some effort in improving employee engagement in recent years. However, one survey of HR managers and C-level executives showed that while almost 80% acknowledged the high importance of employee engagement, only about 22% had any solid strategies for improving employee engagement in the workplace.
It would seem that most well-meaning executives might benefit from knowing about the factors that drive employee engagement. Interestingly, the biggest one is employee development. In other words, employees stay and engage more when they are given opportunities to grow.
Employee learning and training is certainly the most effective way to empower and motivate employees, and more organizations are looking for smart and efficient ways to deliver online employee training development strategies. That is where a learning management system or LMS comes in.
Most people have only the vaguest idea of what a learning management system for employees is until they start doing research, and then get confused over terms such as elearning and course management system that seem to be used interchangeably with LMS. To find out how LMS can play a critical role in employee engagement and business growth, you first have to know what it is.
What is a learning management system or LMS platform?
A learning management system or LMS is a type of cloud-based software or web application designed for planning, executing, and measuring learning and training programs. In most cases, an LMS will have a server that stores user functions and data and a user interface that allows interaction among administrators, instructors, and students.
You can think of an LMS in the context of a business or enterprise as a sort of mobile training camp for employees. The system can hold a wide variety of courses from onboarding programs to skills development modules, depending on the needs of the organization. An LMS can give an organization the flexibility in the methods and formats in which it delivers continuous and consistent learning and training, such as through video conferencing, online discussions, and gamification.
Generally, an LMS should:
- Enable organizations to develop a corporate specific presence
- Allow for customizable learning experiences
- Give instructors an easy ways to make changes and annotations
- Encourage online collaboration
- Include built-in features such as word processors, calendars, and similar for developing learning activities
- Enable administrators to monitor progress, analyze performance, and generate reports of learners
- Be scalable and flexible
- Comply with technical standards
Keeping the learning experience fun and interesting is a good way to make sure it is effective. While this is up to instructors and administrators, an LMS is an excellent tool to help with that.
Learning Management System comparison
If all this sounds a lot like a course management system or elearning platform to some of you, you would be right to some extent. However, there are some important differences.
Course Management System vs Learning Management System
Advances in learning technologies have led to the proliferation of many online learning products, one of which is the course management system. It is not as popular as LMS, but they are often used interchangeably. However, while they have similar functions, they are not the same.
A course management system has a narrower scope than LMS. It would be accurate to say that a course management system is one part of LMS in the sense that it stores and launches training courses, and in some instances, measures performance. A course management system also does not have to comply with technical standards such as SCORM (Sharable Content Object Reference Model), which can make it difficult to “play” with other online training formats and materials.
A course management system might be appropriate for stand-alone training requirements, but it would not have the robustness, scalability, or adaptability of an LMS. This can be a problem for organizations looking to sponsor a comprehensive learning program strategy.
eLearning vs LMS
Another type of online learning solution often associated with LMS is eLLearning or electronic learning platforms. Basically, this is a term referring to online learning in general, but it does not imply the broader scope of LMS.
Learners can access resources through an eLearning platform the same way they access LMS. However, eLearning platforms lack the additional tools and features that allow administrators, course designers, and trainers to manage, monitor, and measure performance. Finally, like course management systems, eLearning platforms do not have to comply with technical standards that define LMS solutions.
How does LMS work?
The part that LMS plays in an organization depends on its objectives and goals. However, it is most useful for setting up and monitoring online training programs. The key word here is “online,” which is a critical part of what makes it most useful for today’s enterprises.
Generally, an LMS administrator will upload training documents and other resources on the platform. For example, Seekify offers an LMS solution preloaded, industry-specific content, which can be very useful for those looking for turnkey solutions.
In web-based systems, these resources are typically online, so training program designers, trainers, learners, and anyone with login privileges can access the system anytime, anywhere. For onsite or self-hosted systems, administrators have to install the software in the company server and give authorized users online access to it.
How is LMS deployed?
While LMS solutions are always available online, the deployment method will depend on the offering. Most vendors offer two or more ways to deploy the LMS, depending on the needs of the user.
Cloud or Web-Based
LMS platforms may be offered as a Software as a Service (SaaS), meaning that the vendor hosts and maintains the system for the benefit of the user, often performing any technical updates as needed. The organization does not need to install software, which is a good option when it has no in-house IT capability. Authorized users are given login privileges and can start using the system almost immediately.
Onsite or Self-Hosted
Some vendors offer the LMS software itself to the buyer, either as a download or a physical media. This would require the buyer to have the appropriate storage space and server in which to install the application and arrange for access to authorized users. Users that prefer this type of deployment typically want increased security and/or customization, and have the IT skills to install and use the software. In some cases, users might have to pay for technical updates.
Who are LMS Users?
Organizations and enterprises of all types and sizes can benefit from an LMS, including government units and agencies and educational institutions When used correctly, an LMS can give administrators insights into employee preferences and behavior to guide career development choices. For some organizations, it can be very useful for collecting and managing data for compliance and certification purposes.
Large companies typically have hundreds or thousands of employees, often scattered in different locations. An LMS can help them effectively deploy and track cohesive and standardized learning and training activities across the different branches of the organization as well as collect and manage data using a single platform. Large organizations can also use an LMS to address applicable certification and compliance issues. Some LMS solutions might even offer advanced features to include franchisees and similar channels in the system.
Small and medium enterprises
Small and medium enterprises can benefit from an LMS by reducing the need for additional human resources to train and upskill employees. This is especially important when a business employs remote workers, as it provides an opportunity to collaborate with other employees and help them become more involved with the team.
Online learning providers
Online learning providers such as online tutors working as freelancers can actually use an LMS as its business platform. They can manage different clients and deliver any number of courses online and keep all data within a single system.
Is an LMS a good investment?
Acquiring and implementing an LMS requires a significant investment in time and money. Some organizations might wonder if it is worth the cost.
Well, you could think of it in terms of employee turnover. The costs of replacing even low-level employees run into thousands of dollars, not even counting the effect on employee morale. An LMS can help boost employee engagement, and as engaged employees tend to stay and be more productive, investing in one is the cost-effective move in the long term.
Improve Your Employee Engagement with Seekify
You now have a clear understanding of how an LMS can help you keep your employees engaged and productive. However, not all LMS platforms are created equal. How can you make the most of your LMS investment?
Seekify offers very useful learning and training features you can customize and use to improve employee engagement that you won’t find with other LMS providers. You get pre-loaded industry benchmarked content readily available from day one for anytime, anywhere learning in easy clicks and at rates that will make you smile.
We consistently update our platform to keep up with the latest developments so you can stay ahead. You can be sure you’re making the most of your learning and training investments in keeping your employees engaged.
Ask for a free demo with Seekify, and you’ll see!