Are you aware of the potential in LMS or learning management system software? Many organizations have now recognized the value of identifying and then implementing effective eLearning solutions. Nowhere is this truer than in LMS for small business or startups.
Effective eLearning Solutions And The Value of LMS for Small Business
Why is LMS beneficial? Because businesses of all size can take their essential information, and if using the right resources, can create a learning management system that hits all of the key points and offers a customized solution.
This takes traditional training and turns it on its head by allowing “distance learning,” which is mostly web-based or online and ensures in-depth training, but often at a fraction of the cost. Gone are the days of a presenter offering training to everyone at an inefficient pace or manner; with eLearning solutions it is in the small company or startup’s control.
What Does LMS Look Like?
It can be confusing to hear about an eLearning course that might have been customized to a small business or startup’s needs. After all, how can a startup handle such an expense? How can they obtain targeted training? Even more significant are such issues as:
- Is the software installed on a system?
- Is it something new?
- Will they need additional training?
- How does it bring fast growth?
In a nutshell, it can be better to opt for the customization of LMS because of its ease of use and flexibility. If chosen properly, it can deliver a far greater ROI than traditional training, even if an initial investment seems higher than a traditional approach.
What Can LMS Teach?
To be clear, the key function of learning management software is going to vary based on the nature of the business, the outcomes desired, and organizational objectives. And yet, learning management system software is most often used to deploy and then monitor the initiatives of the training.
As an example, a firm may have started to explore LMS to train entire teams in new software or a single area of the software’s use. The LMS can be designed to create unique lessons and materials that ensure users attain the goal, and then tracks their level of success. It is not “once and done”.
Direct Benefits of LMS to Smaller Businesses
Consider that most training days or events demand employees head in for a traditional workday, but none report to their desks or other office spaces. Rather, they end up in a group learning environment that is not all that conducive to the actual goal – learning.
Staff is paid, the training provider is paid, and their company may receive compensation, and yet, it is not the end of the story. Not everyone may have mastered the lessons, gleaned all they should, or achieved the intended outcomes in a few hours or full day of training.
A learning management system is also far less disruptive to the workday, enabling teams to eliminate training days and outdated gatherings where huge numbers were forced to attempt to learn at once.
With a custom learning management system, training can cater to the specific department, business segment, or even smaller groups, and be employed as SaaS or Software as a Service. In other words, it can be created to meet the startup’s specific needs and training can then be done anywhere at any time.
How Learning Management System Software Altered Education and Training
The idea that individuals can train from anywhere is still something that many struggles to get their heads around. Yet, even limited experience of the many integrated tools within learning management system software can demonstrate that it:
- Is customizable to meet any need, particularly those of smaller businesses
- Has built-in functions that enable learners to receive real-time information, content, and full courses
- Enables file and document sharing
- Cut costs without cutting quality of training and education
- Is being updated in real-time with new technologies and innovations, including through video options, podcasts, virtual and augmented reality and gamification
However, for the startup or small business, the one way that learning management system software most radically altered education and training is in its pricing.
Pricing Benefits from the Learning Management System
In the past, a small business or a startup would not have considered learning management system software because it was typically quite cost-prohibitive. With factors like the numbers of users intended, the various capabilities, and other issues dictating the costs, many found it to be too expensive.
Fortunately, pricing on it can be tweaked by scale, requirements and even the budget of the business. While it still represents a significant investment, most are advised to go for an overall value rather than settling for a budget option.
How A Learning Management System Works
Clearly, by this point, many would like to know about LMS and just how a small business or startup could put it to use training employers and staff in the onboarding process. Essentially, it involves only a few simple steps:
- The company or client uploads training materials through software or a platform chosen to share information.
- This is then designed into segments
- Employees log into the system at will, take the training, and receive any materials or required course work through the system.
- A premium LMS is going to also enroll students and monitor or evaluate their performance
What Science Says of eLearning
Does eLearning work in every setting and for every learner? And if so, is it somehow better than a traditional classroom or training setting? According to expert studies in this issue, “eLearning tends to outperform classroom instruction…[with] the learning methods typically used in eLearning…that create eLearning’s benefits. These include such factors as providing learners with realistic practice, spaced repetitions, contextually-meaningful scenarios, and feedback.”
However, the studies found that learning methods must be held constant to produce the best results, and that blended learning (a combination of classroom and eLearning) is even more effective.
Science also says that eLearning (when it consists of gamification, scenario-based videos, simulations, webinars, and so on) is most effective when it is based on “real life” situations or training. This is learning “in the context in which it is going to be used, and situated cognition: the idea that knowledge is best acquired and more fully understood when situated within its context.”
This sounds a lot like the “do to learn” model that so many millions of people adhere to, and proves that a well-chosen form of eLearning might be far better than cold or dry textbook materials. And yet, the story doesn’t end here because eLearning is also a highly “visual” form of learning, and experts have found that visual effects significantly impact our overall learning experience.
John Sweller, a learning researcher, discovered that the design of instructional materials (including the graphical layout) can “reduce the total amount of mental efforts being used in the working memory of learners,” and that corporate eLearning tends to be the most effective when it has thoughtful design principles at work.
For example, one study proved that participants retain around 10% of orally presented information for 72 hours after receiving it, while that same group retains approximately 65% of image-based learning throughout that same period.
These same studies also demonstrated that the emergence of gamification brings a whole new level of information mastery to eLearning. While it emphasizes boredom prevention, it also shows excellent results in motivation. Learners exposed to the gamification of subjects typically found to be dry or dull demonstrated a significant change in attitude and confidence when gamification was integrated into the learning system.
Lastly, the research is done on the science of eLearning also demonstrated that a multimedia approach, such as the combinations of video, imagery, and graphics that are the foundation of many eLearning systems engaged students far better. They were able to more accurately remember when the material was learned in an interactive way, and this led to better overall retention and implementation of the information received.
eLearning is something most human brains seem to appreciate, and it is a far more flexible and accessible approach to training even the driest or most complex information. It boosts the level of engagement and retention experienced by the learner, and when put to work in training staff for a business startup or small business, it is sure to be far more cost-effective. Thus, the notable increase in the use of eLearning systems and LMS options on a global level. They work far better for training and development and can support an array of business goals or objectives.
Getting Started with LMS
It can allow a startup to have people trained in advance of an actual launch day, and that saves tremendous time, money and more. It allows a firm of even the smallest size to enjoy the speed at which crucial information, handbooks, and training are disseminated, mastered and implemented. Companies can simply upload all of their materials to the firm’s software and wait as employees make their way through the training and gleaning any rewards for it.
In these different ways, small businesses and startups can rely on premium training methods and resources to see fast changes and growth.
Author The Author: Ehsan Memari is a blogger for SkyPrep, a provider of leading online training software for organizations to train employees’ partners and customers. Ehsan is a regular contributor to blog posts related to knowledge sharing, L&D, and eLearning. Follow him on Twitter @ehsanmemari.
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