Is it possible to provide effective training without instructor involvement?
Do Learning Management Systems(LMS) solve just the logistical issues related to learning or can they be effective too?
In this article, we will see the relevance of an LMS and the problems it solves.
An LMS can be used to train students or employees in form of online courses, tests, virtual classes or webinar and also track their progress. All content is stored in one place along with the history of each student’s learning, thereby allowing Training administrators to track the courses a learner has taken and the average time spent on training.
A little history
The first system of distance learning appeared in 1960 at the University of Illinois (USA). Initially, an LMS was used only onsite and installed on private servers of that company or organization for training 100 to 200 employees. However, now, a typical LMS is a web-based service that helps organizations to manage training for thousands of users globally, 24/7.
|1960||The First LMS||The first LMS is called PLATO (Programmed Logic for Automated Teaching Operations). It was the first computer system with an online learning community. First PLATO was used only by students of the University of Illinois. Gradually it became a system that was used worldwide.|
|2002||Moodle LMS||Then we had the first Open Source LMS- Moodle. This system received world fame and is currently being used by ~79 Million users across Universities, Companies, and other Organizations.|
|2004||The standard SCORM 2004||SCORM (English Shareable Content Object Reference Model). A collection of standards for LMS, which ensures compatibility of components of courses with different systems. SCORM 2004 is still used by many modern LMS.|
|2012||Cloud LMS||Thanks to the Cloud technology, Organizations can provide their training courses and tests online without installing additional software, and students and staff can gain knowledge anywhere in the world.|
Can an LMS used by Anyone?
An LMS allows learners to take their training anywhere and at any time, and it allows teachers, admins or managers to run their training and track the progress of their learners conveniently at a very low cost.
An LMS allows an Organization to create a sense of community where students are part of a group and where they can communicate and consult with their Managers, Teachers, and Colleagues in real time.
It helps organize e-Learning from scratch and automate the process of personnel development. Electronic courses, tests, and webinars can be adapted depending on the learning goals and the industry sphere of the respective companies.
And most importantly, an LMS helps save time by allowing the employees to learn on the job and take courses on any devices. Its online format eliminates the need to equip a room for classes, pay for services and other costs related to logistics.
So which problems does an LMS actually Solve?
Depending on the choice of LMS, a few characteristics may vary, but with most platforms, you can easily solve the following problems.
- Central Repository for your training content.
LMS admins can load content such as videos, pdfs, docs, quizzes, assessments, feedback, surveys, video lectures and webinars that are available to learners anytime. Managers can create training programs which are consistent and have a defined flow to them. Most LMS’s support downloading materials in standard formats such as SCORM and Tin Can.
- Add users and assign them to courses and tests:
Administrators can add or invite students or employees to the LMS. As with full-time training, learners can be segmented into groups or teams, and access levels for these groups can be configured. One can also assign managers or team leaders to these groups and students can learn and move forward as a team.
- Evaluate the learning outcomes:
In modern LMS’s, teacher or creators of courses can not only control the content but also track the students’ achievements. Detailed statistics will show which section of the course proved to be the most difficult and vice-versa, how often students log in and how much time students spend on study materials. This allows Managers to assess and tailor the content for a more effect training experience for their learners.
- Communicate and discuss learning between Students and Training Admins:
Using an LMS, colleagues can communicate with each other, share experiences and consult with the Manager. At the same time, users can comment on training materials, provide feedback, show interest in sections of the course that seemed exciting, or doubts in sections that seemed too complex. Based on this feedback course creator can improve the design and content of the learning material.
- Organize a paid training:
If Managers and Business trainers are experts in their industry, they can charge for their training to users from external organizations. This helps companies to share their expertise and also create a business model around their training. The costs can be listed within the LMS or on your eCommerce site, which will be linked with the LMS, and the Students or learners will pay for and have access to these courses right away.
- Train Anywhere, Anytime:
If the system supports access from tablets and smartphones, users can take courses at work, home or on the road, including those without Internet access.
What are the different types of Learning Management Systems?
Free or Commercial.
The most famous free LMS is Moodle. It is very popular in high schools and Educational institutions but rather complicated to setup and manage. This open source LMS can be adapted for various types of organizations; however, this requires the assistance of technical experts.
Commercial systems are usually more easy to use. These systems have regular product releases, updates, and allow clients to have access to the technical support provided by the company which runs the system.
There are various Pros and Cons between Open Source and Commercial systems, and we will cover them in our future blogs.
Cloud or On-site LMS.
If due to security compliance/requirements an Organization cannot place their data online, an LMS can be installed on the server of the company (Commercial LMS’s, mostly, don’t allow onsite hosting). However, implementing and configuring such a system is time-consuming and requires a lot of external and internal resources to maintain. They are also relatively expensive in comparison to Cloud LMS’s
Cloud LMS’s, on the other hand, are the responsibility of the Vendor and they can be tested and evaluated by the Client before subscribing to the service. Students and staff can take courses and tests whenever they please and Cloud LMS’s are relatively easier to manage.
Again- we will discuss the Pros and Cons of Cloud and On-site LMS’s in our future blogs.
Can you Sum up the Advantages of an LMS?
Using an LMS, organizations and their respective training specialist can:
- Organize their e-Learning and training “from scratch”.
- Automate the process of learning.
- Create a database for their content and track progress of learners.
- Allow students to learn at their convenience- anytime, anywhere.
- Reduce administrative costs.
- Implement blended learning.
- Test staff and students.
- Train a large number of people at the same time.
- Issue certificates and track attendance.
- Track competencies of Learners.
- Sell Training, etc…
How do I try an LMS?
Pick up an LMS that is intuitive, easy to use and customize, and requires no special training. We have put an honest effort in trying to meet these criteria. So if you are looking for a Simple, Friendly, and yet a Powerful Solution, give Beetsol a try. Contact us for a free demo now.