Learning and Development (L&D) is of interest to HR departments in almost every company. An LMS is an effective tool supporting the implementation of training strategies. One prerequisite, however, is selecting a suitable e-learning platform. In this respect, not only the functionalities offered by an LMS are important, but also the types of training materials it supports. The supported formats determine the success of the entire project and provide wide opportunities for creating engaging training courses.
This article will explain the following:
- How does an LMS work and how is it different from a regular e-learning platform?
- Why is it important to have access to a variety of training materials?
- What training formats does a good LMS offer?
What does LMS training involve?
E-learning has been practiced in many organizations for years, and its growing importance can be observed every day. Companies which hadn’t been fully convinced of its effectiveness but had an opportunity to experience remote work through the pandemic, quickly learned that investing in e-learning is worthwhile.
If the goal is to improve staff qualifications using remote educational methods, a regular e-learning platform or an LMS can be used for that purpose. The basic functionalities of both above-mentioned solutions are very similar; they allow companies to design, create, and share educational materials via a website or mobile application. However, an LMS is a much more comprehensive application which effectively manages the created courses, collects and stores data from students, interacts with them, and significantly automates the entire Learning and Development process in the organization.
An e-learning platform is generally a web application, which has its advantages and disadvantages. All the user needs to do is have Internet access and select a training course from the training catalog. An LMS, on the other hand, is usually maintained on the company servers, which translates into effective access management, and additionally, automatic assignment of training courses to individual employees or entire teams.
LMSs are also scalable, which means that they can grow along with the organization and, regardless of the size of the company, meet its changing business needs. Speaking of needs – modern LMSs offer a wide range of functions not found in web-based e-learning platforms. Several Learning Management Systems, including Samelane, are additionally lined with AI (Artificial Intelligence) and use elements of AR (Augmented Reality), which opens up completely new possibilities and takes the training experience to a previously unattainable level.
The importance of varied learning materials
The chance to use a variety of materials significantly increases the level of engagement and, consequently, the effectiveness of the training course. As a result, tangible benefits are achieved by both the student and the organization.
From the course participant’s perspective, a large variety of educational materials translates into a higher level of involvement and better assimilation of content. Training courses based solely on content-filled slides bore students quickly, which results in low involvement and poor results.
Modern LMSs offer a number of tools effectively increasing the involvement of course participants. They include audio and video files, tests, surveys, and quizzes, all of which can be freely inserted into any presentation, and will, consequently, draw attention to the most important issues. Simple tasks that require, for example, matching pairs of matching elements, choosing one of several available training scenarios, using elements of augmented reality or video360 files, all have a positive effect on the level of student involvement and the overall reception of the training course.
The large variety of formats supported by remote learning platforms is no less important from the point of view of the organization. Why? At this point, the same arguments apply. The satisfaction from a training course results in better assimilation of knowledge and improved commitment, which in turn translate into higher work efficiency and decreased risk of failure.
The support of many formats also allows modern LMS users to access materials that the organization has already used in the past, and consequently saves both time and money.
Training material formats supported by Learning Management Systems
When deciding to invest in an e-learning learning platform, it is worth paying special attention to the types of files and training materials it supports. What formats should a modern LMS platform support? Among others, the following:
SCORM (Sharable Content Object Reference Model)
A standard of data recording in e-learning. A training course created in an LMS can be saved in the SCORM format, and then the materials can be used in whole or in part on another platform. Consequently, replacing the platform with a new one will not necessitate creating all training courses from scratch.
Presentations are perhaps the most widely used training format in Learning and Development and need no further introduction. This is a necessary format that offers an extremely wide range of applications.
Various types of audio recordings are an interesting way to diversify training courses. Audio materials allow the students to learn, for example, how to correctly conduct a customer service telephone conversation or what mistakes to avoid.
Video files are another essential format for any Learning Management platform. Short films, available even on the Internet, are a perfect complement to any training course and increase its appeal.
This format, often referred to as a spherical movie, is a way of presenting reality in a 360° sphere. It is perfect, among others, for presenting the workplace to new hires.
A format that has replaced Flash technology in the training area. Thanks to the transition to HTML5, nowadays only a web browser is required to start a training course; there is no need to install any plug-ins or add-ons. This, in turn, has a positive effect on the level of security. HTML5 also provides high scalability and responsiveness, which results in the possibility of conducting training sessions on mobile devices.
Quizzes provide a point of interaction with the user and greatly improve student involvement. They are worth conducting not only at the end of the training course – to check the acquired knowledge – but also between individual modules, in order to allow the trainees to better consolidate the material.
Instructor-Led Training, i.e. training sessions conducted by an instructor in a remote or partially remote form.
A standard for recording data for e-learning, also known as xAPI, Experience API, and Tin Can. It is the successor to the SCORM standard. It focuses on user experience, which is tracked in real-time, and offers greater opportunities for creating and managing training.