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Are You Maximizing Your Learning Platform Investment?

Carrie Hancock NetDimensions PeopleFluent
by 
Carrie Hancock
on December 03, 2018
When it comes to creating training that strikes a chord with different types of learners, having a learning platform that allows you to adapt and change your content and design to meet specific learner needs is key.

Unfortunately, many organizations lack the platform capability to be able to tailor the look, feel and flow of their training. Being able to do this would allow them to specifically suit the requirements of a broad range of users.

We often hear that companies are using dozens of different platforms. This is usually because they couldn’t find one that offered them the flexibility to maximize their investment and meet all of their training requirements.

Sometimes, learning professionals simply don’t know that their existing system can allow them to create different kinds of learner experiences. They might also be unaware that solutions which offer that power do exist and are within their reach.

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How Do You Know If You’re Getting the Most out of a Learning Platform?

If you want to evaluate whether your learning platform is giving you maximum benefit, start by taking a look at the system you’re using. Decide what all of your needs are and whether you could use your system in a different way in order to meet those needs.

Go back to your vendor and see if you can align your system with your ideal requirements, to meet learner needs across your organization. An effective learning platform should allow you to comprehensively change each learner experience with ease.

Let’s say you’re providing training to a contractor in a hospital. They need to complete a training module in a way that can be proved in an audit

That process should be straightforward. 

But if you’re tailoring the experience for the manager of a department in the same hospital, you’ll want to create a completely different journey. You’d want them to see different elements, accumulate different knowledge and be able to see how their staff are progressing. And you shouldn’t have to invest in a separate system, become an expert in HTML5 or learn to code in order to achieve that.

Tailoring Learner Experiences Within a Learning Platform

Imagine you’re creating learning programs for a large technology company with lots of different employees and clients. Some might be administrative staff working at your headquarters, while others will be software specialists on the move, or external suppliers. 

With a versatile learning platform, your training for each cohort of learners can be adapted to provide targeted learning experiences. There are obvious knock-on benefits to this in terms of engagement rates and learning outcomes.

As starting points, you might change the content, screens, and learning resources available to users. A few of the other elements you could change include:

  • The branding of each course when users are working for partner companies or on particular projects
  • The information presented to users on their learning homepage
  • Where users land on the homepage (managers and supervisors, for example, will probably prefer to go straight to a page giving them an overview of learners’ progress)

This shouldn’t complicate the experience. Users might log in and take the courses they need for their job. A manager might log in and immediately see the progress icons of their team members, together with shortcuts to each employee’s profile.

This is configurability rather than customization. While unique portal experiences are great for creating custom learning, your existing platform could well provide you with a solution if it has the right level of configurability.

Knowledge Sharing Centers in Learning Platforms

In the last couple of years, knowledge sharing has become a sought-after addition to training programs. A knowledge center might relate to a formal topic such as compliance. Learners might complete a course but also benefit greatly from being able to discuss their learning more informally.

Your learning platform should give you the ability to set up configurable knowledge centers within a program. Within these, learners might be able to:

  • Pose queries to instructors
  • See who else has enrolled on the course and interact with them
  • Upload homework for discussion

These centers are often created to provide information on a timely topic, such as when a company goes through an acquisition. In that situation, a flexible system should allow an organization to create a tab leading to a knowledge center all about the acquisition. In this center, people can find out all the details and share knowledge informally.

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Partitioning eLearning Courses

The majority of LMSes have moved to a multi-tenant, cloud-based system—the equivalent of apartments within a building.

Within this system, all organizations experience the same instance of the learning platform, as well as the same rollouts and updates. This results in limited flexibility, low configurability, and limited control over the timing of the upgrades.

We often see huge companies using several different learning environments for projects in different departments or regions. With a learning platform like NetDimensions LMS, your learning is provided by a single-tenant SaaS. This is a bit like having your own house, and creating different environments for each of your users within that house.

Through this system, you can partition the same LMS while retaining global administrative control.

Tracking and Providing Different Experiences for Learning Groups

A good LMS will give you options you can choose for different users. These might include:

  • Launching a course with a single click 
  • Entering the topic/course through a knowledge center
  • Replacing a knowledge center with a survey
  • Approvals workflows for courses
  • Triggering the user to complete a mandatory course before anything else

With a good, high-performing learning platform you should be able to provide individual learning professionals with their own permissions to upload the content their learners need. Rather than using a confusing array of platforms, you can personalize, track and report back on your learners’ training without paying for multiple LMSes.

Choosing the Best Learning Platform for You

Finding the right learning platform can be complicated. In some cases, organizations end up paying consultants exorbitant amounts of money just to untangle all the different systems being used to provide training across their business.

But creating different experiences to suit all of your learners is easy with the right LMS. The people you provide training for and their needs are certain to change. A highly adaptable learning platform means you can keep up, improve outcomes and save time, money and resources

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Carrie Hancock is Sales Director at PeopleFluent. This blog is based on her talk on maximizing your learning platform from Learning Solutions Conference and Exhibition 2018.

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