Last week saw us run our new-look Totara User Group (Europe) at a packed Goldsmiths’ Centre in London. We were joined by existing and prospective Totara-users alike to look at how to get the most out of a learning management system.
In addition to exploring some common themes of interest within existing Totara users, we also were joined by friends from Totara Learning Solutions (TLS) who explored the development roadmap in more detail. The day catered for both novice and expert LMS users, with mixed-experience discussion groups facilitated by City & Guilds Kineo experts throughout the day to induce a networking and sharing experience.
What really came through on the day was that it’s not about the technical feature-set of the LMS – though Totara’s is great – it’s what you do with it, and how make the whole LMS and learning experience engaging and continuous for your organisations’ learners.
Some key themes emerged from the day which we share with you here.
The 3-Year Itch
The theme: If you’ve had your LMS for a few years, you may be starting to get the “grass is always greener” feeling (we see you peering over the LMS fence). Suddenly, what once fit your needs perfectly no longer seems conducive to your business goals.
No wonder you’re considering alternatives.
The solution: But wait. Perhaps the age old adage of “It’s not you, it’s me” applies here? It’s likely in the 3+ years you’ve had your LMS, your business has progressed significantly in needs, technology adoption and approaches. You’re in new territories, your team are using different devices. But what about your LMS?
Maybe your LMS needs a facelift, perhaps even an upgrade to a new version (Totara LMS v2.6 was just recently released). This might not be a case of packing it all in because it’s not doing what you want. Instead consider what you can do to allow your LMS to keep pace with your ever-changing business. If you’re changing as an organisation, make sure your LMS changes with you.
Here’s 10 ways to help you re-love your LMS to help scratch the itch.
Learners Are Just Like Me, Right?
The theme: At the User Group we found there was a lot of interest in learner personas, and it became clear most attendees had very little idea about their end user, and how those users engage with the content they are provided with. They are not alone.
If you haven’t done any type of persona work for your learners, you’re likely on the road to poor engagement and a LMS that doesn’t engage its target audience.
We all learn in different ways. Different learner journeys should be explored and executed if you want to achieve continued engagement through your entire organisation.
The solution: We know it’s not easy to quickly identify what type of learner every single user and there is no quick fix here. Initially, why not consider creating a survey to get started in identifying learners, perhaps even make it mandatory. At least you can then begin to understand where your majority lies.
You may be able to create some simple variances of your learner journey to cater for your different learners, or you may have to build new content to accommodate everyone. At least if you start thinking about journeys that different learners might want to take, it should help with adoption and engagement of learning in the future.
Newbies Can Be Brand Advocates Too
The theme: In our onboarding discussion, we looked into how you can hook your learners in early using multi-device and consistent branding. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
The solution: If you’re having difficultly changing culture and driving behavioural changes with some of your long-term staff, an enthusiastic and engaged new hire onboarding programme could be just the front line drive you need to push adoption of learning within your organisation.
Get their buy-in early, and let them drive the learning and culture forward.
If You Build It, Will They Come?
The theme: Whether we like to admit it or not, we have less control over learning than ever before. Rather than worrying about how to control learners: embrace the chaos. The sooner we understand that learning is a choice, the easier it will be to design learning that learners can’t resist. Post-implementation is where the work really starts here.
The solution: There are ways to use pervasive learning to your advantage. We explored a few key areas at the event:
- Learners are mobile: The explosion of smartphones is difficult to ignore. Why not allow your learners to access their learning wherever they are? You may see they choose to learn if they can do it when and where they want. Enter Totara LMS Mobile.
- Viral campaigns work: There’s nothing like creating a buzz around the office. Create a palpable presence from your learning, and make it exciting. Think posters, giveaways, catchphrases - whatever works. Anything that makes your learning programme more memorable. See some examples here.
- Learners want to be social: It’s no secret that there’s something valuable in social media. Give your learners a forum or a place to share (Yammer is a great tool), and see them begin to educate one another and share ideas. Suddenly learning has a life of its own, and you become a facilitator.
Whether you were at the event or not, we’d love to talk to you about how we can help your business get the most out of its LMS and learning technologies in general.
We also run numerous learning events throughout the year covering different subject matters. In the UK, you’ll next find us at the Learning Technologies Summer Forum 2014, 17 June – it’d be great to see you there.