Most training programs are considered incomplete if they don’t have a learning management system (LMS). But while LMSes are dazzling in the many features they offer, they usually end up draining you and your team of resources without providing ROI. (There’s a reason Urban Dictionary defines LMS as “life must suck.”)
If that sounds familiar, we’ve got a couple of reasons why you, like many others, are trapped by what you thought would be your ultimate solution.
1. Feature Glut
There’s a reason your team purchased the LMS: it glitters with features that promised to be a one-stop shop to take your training to new and improved levels. But the truth is that in the real world, you’re paying for the whole suite while only using one or two of those features, like event registration and testing.
Like any piece of software, the more you ask an LMS to do, the slower it moves–wasting your precious time. Rather than trying to force your LMS into being a jack-of-all-trades, find a solution that will integrate with your system to take care of the things it doesn’t do so well.
Brandon Hall’s recent report on learning management systems listed organizations’ least favorite features of their LMS. Let’s take a look:
- Ease of use
- Ability of system to adapt to changing needs
- Reporting features
- Analytics features to measure ROI
- Social learning features
- Ability to integrate with other enterprise software
- Quality of customer support provided by the vendor
- Mobile learning features
Since you’re probably stuck in a long-term contract with your LMS, you can bide your time until you break free by finding systems that integrate. For example, find a solution that easily works with your LMS that supplements robust reporting and analytics to help you demonstrate ROI on your learning.
Think of it like building a house. The LMS is your general contractor, who technically could install the electric and plumbing. But wouldn’t you prefer to have an expert do that?
2. Maintenance Hog
Another reason your LMS is a drain on the administrative side is the sheer magnitude of the software. From the year-long implementation to keeping all the features and files up-to-date, you need at least one person devoted full-time to the LMS to use it properly. At a large company, this is expensive; on a smaller team, this is simply infeasible. That means the LMS isn’t operating the way it is supposed to be and that you are spending more and more of your time fighting with technology rather than enabling learners.
While you aren’t able to get around the amount of maintenance required for your LMS without replacing it, you can take steps to be prepared for crises. Keep handy the contact info for your customer service representative and their boss, and don’t lose your salesperson’s details either, in case you have trouble getting in touch with the support line.
Don’t forget the value of commiseration, either. Join a LinkedIn group where you can post questions to fellow administrators, or attend conferences like ATD and create your own group to keep in touch and brainstorm solutions to your problems.
3. Poor IP Security
Finally, LMSes create a logistical headache as your organization battles with distributing content to users and protecting your brand’s intellectual property (not to mention sensitive information). In your LMS, content distribution is limited to file download. Even if the user has to sign in to download that content, once the file is on their computer, you no longer have any control over who can access it.
Again, a great solution to this problem is using a plug-in software that will seamlessly integrate your LMS and take care of the content distribution, letting you restrict the access exactly according to your needs.
The truth is that LMS administrators–whether that’s your full time job or duties you squeeze in between designing the course and making sure the instructor shows up–are superheroes for all the tech headaches they face. With these tricks, you can make your life easier until that fateful day when your contract is up and you can try out some alternatives to LMS.
Millions of dollars are being invested in training each year. But how are organizations measuring the effectiveness of their training, especially soft skills training like sales? At Richardson, Eileen Krantz, Vice President of Client Analytics, has discovered that some clients believe that there is just an inherent value in providing quality sales training, others are more concerned with just aligning training with the sales strategy, and some develop a comprehensive measurement strategy to isolate the financial return on their investment.