April 11, 2012
By: Client Recruiting Corner
In this recessionary climate of doing more with less, employee training and education has often taken a backseat in many organizations.
The perception is that it is simply too costly to implement learning strategies when every dollar spent is being scrutinized.
Unfortunately, this has lead to a situation where employees have had little to no opportunities for employee development -- which will have substantial repercussions to organizations’ bottom lines in the coming years -- as well as an immediate impact on employee retention as well as employee engagement.
The fact is that employee development does not have to be synonymous with big budgets.
In this first of two articles, we explore two economical e-learning tools that support employee development.
Purchasing an LMS
A “Learning Management System” (LMS) is a software application used for the administration, tracking, reporting and documentation of e-Learning programs, training events, both online and offline, as well as for training content.
An LMS opens up opportunities to create more interactive e-Learning modules that are capable of properly tracking and assigning relevant modules to employees. These tools allow employees to take more control of their learning.
As these systems have evolved over the years and become more affordable, some organizations are exploring the purchase of an LMS, or are actively looking to replace their existing ones.
Learning Management Services vs. Learning Management Systems
The LMS landscape has definitely changed in the last few years. Gone are the days where companies will accept that they need to purchase all the bells and whistles on a system even though they only need 30% of the functionality.
Vendors are adjusting to this new reality and are offering many different options, from paying on a per user basis to flexible terms (not being locked into a contract), to including previously expensive bells and whistles into the standard product.
An interesting trend that is emerging is the shift towards “Learning Management Services” as opposed to “Learning Management Systems.” This can be particularly advantageous for organizations that do not have the infrastructure to implement a Learning Management System internally. By outsourcing this service, companies can cut costs, mitigate risks and quickly implement a tailored system.
The Explosion of Mobile Learning
Today’s learning organizations emphasize on-demand, constant and informational learning which strives to improve employees’ expertise and level of employee engagement. In that context, the explosion of mobile comes as no surprise.
Mobile phones and tablets are increasingly becoming part of an office workers’ arsenal, making 24/7 learning both convenient and flexible. But the benefits go beyond this.
Mobile learning gives the learner control to access content when they actually need it, which best suits today’s workplace flexibility.
This also allows for a more interactive and engaging learning experience via touch screens that appeal to multiple learning styles; it’s also less expensive than face-to-face training or laptop computers.
Mobile learning can take place in “informal learning” environments via blogs, forums, user-generated content, and community experts. Many of the tools needed for this are already at employees’ disposal, such as email, the Internet, tablets and even mobile phones.
Content Management Platforms Made Simple
Organizations can go beyond this and create more formal mobile learning via cost-effective content management platforms. Many of these are “rapid authoring tools” that allow for the rapid development of mobile learning applications.
GoMo Learning is an example of a low-cost authoring tool that allows for the development of content in one format. It can then be delivered to multiple audiences and multiple devices.
BrainShark allows you to take PowerPoint slides and create voice-enriched presentations that are pushed out via mobile devices. If you don’t have the resources to develop these internally, there are many vendors who can do this cheaply and efficiently.
Regardless of the economic climate, organizations should continue to value employee development as a key investment into their future.
Harnessing and understanding the power of e-Learning solutions and emerging technologies, will enable them to discover a whole host of low-cost possibilities to drive employee satisfaction -- as well as retain top employees.