If your organization already uses a Learning Management System (LMS), you may wonder why you would you need to use an additional platform to deliver training guides, policy manuals, or reference materials?
Although LMS software is often marketed as your “all-in-one” solution for all learning needs, in reality the LMS is not ideal for every specific task. The LMS is not designed to deliver the materials that accompany instructor-led training (ILT). The learner’s experience can be improved when the LMS is used in conjunction with platforms designed specifically to manage and deliver this type of learning content.
So what is an LMS? An LMS is a category of software used to store and deliver eLearning content, monitor the participation of learners as they progress through an assigned online course, and allows learners to register for additional courses delivered outside of the LMS. Through an LMS companies are able to create course tracks to be delivered to specific groups of employees.
How do most companies use their LMS?
Many companies only use their LMS to deliver eLearning content and assessments, while others also allow learners to register for ILT courses and third-party training events. Often the LMS is only made available to employees- not contractors, temporary workers, or franchisees.
Common LMS features:
- Online courses
- Blended learning
- Social learning
- Virtual classroom management
Features often NOT provided in a LMS:
- Automatic eBook creation- taking existing content and transforming into an eBook format with table of contents, ready for learner consumption
- Library and document remixing- rearrange and order groups of your content to make customized eBooks
- Secure mobile delivery- with DRM (Digital Rights Management), to prevent unauthorized forwarding and saving of eBooks
- Mobile app- moving beyond web-only access, a mobile app allows learners to access training materials anytime on mobile devices
- Highlighting, note-taking, and search- documents are in a format that allow for highlighting and note taking as well as easy search
- Usage reporting- used for measuring the engagement of training materials
The need for additional software depends on what you want to do. When researching software for optimized learning content delivery to work in conjunction with your existing LMS, consider these questions:
- Who are you trying to reach? Does your LMS allow materials to be delivered to customers, contractors, franchisees, and/or channel partners?
- Do you want to re-use any existing content, without re-writing it
- Do you want to deliver on any combination of digital and mobile devices, as well as printed options?
- Do you want the learner to have ongoing access to materials for reference and support?
- Do you want an optimized experience for your learner including note-taking, highlighting and search capability?
- Who can access your content? Can you control who accesses what content and which items can be shared or printed, and update/replace mobile content after distribution?
While the LMS is a core part your company’s learning technology, integrating other special purpose systems can significantly enhance the impact of your training. For example, your existing content (e.g. Word, PDF, Excel, PPT, Video, etc.) can be utilized without re-authoring, using software designed for that purpose. If you are looking to control distribution, seek a platform with numerous DRM protections.
Finally, while considering your software options, be sure to pick a platform with a straight-forward LTI (Learning Tools Integration) process to painlessly integrate and link content with your existing LMS.