With many innovative learning technologies available, companies are reconsidering their dependence upon Learning Management Systems (LMS), the pervasive learning technology of the past 30 years. Many are finding that the LMS, designed as a compliance tool, doesn’t offer a quality learning experience and is less illuminating when it comes to understanding analytics about where people stand in terms of skills development.
For an organization that uses completion data to provide records that track employees have completed their training, the LMS is the right solution for them. As a compliance system, it does a great job of saying that someone went through training– and in many cases, that’s been historically enough: we have a record of the course so we’re covered from a compliance standpoint. This keeps the organization safe, but the experience a person receives while taking a compliance course in an LMS, doesn’t create a clear path for developing the skills of an organization.
This is more important than ever, especially given the immediate and widespread shift to remote learning. The next generation of learning technologies that have come to market over the past few years such as microlearning, LXP’s, video role-play, gamification, and many others take a very different approach on how corporate learning and sales training should work. The goal of these technologies is to try and improve engagement in learning.
For years, the LMS has seen poor engagement rates and low NPS scores. Hour-long purchased canned content fed through the LMS is unappealing to all corporate employees. This is the problem many new innovative learning technologies aim to solve. How can we engage employees with better content, in a shorter time, for a better learning experience?
With that being said, there is another piece that’s missing: proficiency. This is how proficiency should be looked at:
- Did all employees actually learn something?
- Do they understand what they’ve learned?
- Can they remember what was taught further down the line?
- Can they take that knowledge and put it into action in a real-life situation?
Engagement and proficiency are what the market is beginning to see as the current and future state of corporate learning. After all, for someone to learn something the first step is getting them to actually engage with the content, and for learning and development leaders to plan their training roadmap, they need to understand the learning needs of employees and what they don’t know. Right?
Well, not exactly. Learning organizations are trying to fight two battles at once. The battle of engagement, and the battle of proficiency analytics. Quite often, learning leaders have to present at executive meetings with presentations that sound similar to this: 37% of employees are engaged in learning and 10,000 employees completed 46,000 modules. All this data is telling us is who completed the training, how long it took them to complete it, and when they finished. This leaves the business with no clear path forward after a large investment and time spent on creating or purchasing off-the-shelf content, building and administering modules, as well as staffing instructor-led courses.
Innovative learning leaders are starting to realize that the LMS, the titan system in the industry, is more of a compliance tool than a learning tool, and more of an anchor, really, than an answer to the learning demands of an increasingly remote workforce.
Measuring data on completion doesn’t:
- Create training the learner enjoys or finds helpful to meet their learning needs. Let’s face it, it’s hard to get people excited about compliance training unless we can show how it’s related to their role and the effect it will have on their job.
- Give access to real-time data on if someone actually learned something.
- Identify what the learner needs help with, what specific skills and what level of support and targeted coaching they need to successfully improve their work performance.
- Let executives see at a high-level where there is risk in the business and permits them from taking action beforehand to avoid any costs associated with it.
Completion data doesn’t reveal the real business risk of partial, incomplete, and incorrect skills. Knowing someone took a course is very different from understanding whether they learned anything in that course and whether they retained what they’ve learned over time. Organizations can’t wait until a year later and realize they have had a huge problem in a certain area. The idea of 10,000 learners completed 46,000 modules doesn’t tell an executive where they have risk, making it almost impossible to align training back to the business.
Millions of dollars and thousands of hours can be lost through retraining and creating content that does not align with the needs of the learner or the business. Understanding where the gaps are by learning topic, business unit, region, and all the way down to a specific individual, can be done by leveraging technology to give an organization a roadmap to success. They are able to walk into that executive meeting and present:
- Where the business has risk from a proficiency standpoint.
- Where learning and development can step up and invest budget to fix those risk areas.
- How they quantified the impact they are having on proficiency by showing an increase across the organization. This is what innovative learning programs look like: aligning learning objectives to the needs and vision of the business.