You want your learners to love your learning management system, but have you implemented an LMS as a full-fledged learning portal that delivers an experience that personifies your organisation? Ask yourself this - is it inviting, and does it make your learners come back for more?
While you LMS doesn't have to cost an arm and a leg to be transformed into a hub of learning activity, it does take some time, energy and love to get it just right. So whether you've decided it's going to a hub for your sales and product knowledge training, compliance or something else - we've got 5 tips to help you build the effective learning portal for your needs.
Let Your Brand Lead the Way
Learning is one of the key activities where employees reflect and commit to changing their behavior as part of the learning process, so it's an ideal opportunity to reinforce brand values. But brand-led learning doesn't have to be from element such as visual design, tone of voice and behavioral examples as you'd typically find in an elearning programme; brand-led learning can also apply to the delivery platform, or learning management system. The learning portal should reflect the brand but also help your staff understand the brand culture and values. Visual design, such as logos and brand colours are great to include, but you also need to consider how the learning management system can embody your brand values and how it can be reflected in the learner experience. So how can you do that?
Here's some other points to consider:
- Interface design and consistency of visuals: (tap into your marketing and graphics team for this one) and consider this as a branding exercise. If you consider that your learners are welcomes with your organisation's brand values and messages the second they walk into the office in the morning, you want your LMS to carry that similar experience when they sit down for their learning in the afternoon.
- Language and tone: is it consistent with the rest of your brand? Don't bother juicing up the robot - make it more real and more conversational.
- Reinforce messaging brand values: think about companies like Red Bull who use adrenaline pumping viral videos to sell their products to consumers, it's part of their overall brand values and messaging. If your organisation has strong values, why not tap into rich media like videos, so that you can reinforce the importance of brand values, and the importance of your corporate learning initiatives.
Need some inspiration about how to tackle a brand-led approach to your learning? Download our Brand Led Approach Guide, and read about how we worked closely with Sony Europe to embody their brand culture to create their own Sony Europe Learning Portal.
Enable the Learning Culture and Build a Community
Don't neglect the 70/20/10 approach when it comes to your online learning portals. Use your LMS to encourage learners to be self-directed, seek our the resources relevant to them and manage their own learning. So what does this mean exactly? Think blended. Give your learners the chance to book F2F meetings via the portal. Give them access to videos and relevant links to assist them in their learning. Don't make it just about the elearning; make it a whole experience that is pervasive and continuous to keep them coming back for more. And again, think with that brand-led approach:
- Think collaborative and social: use blogs and implement social learning tools and features such as Open Badges, forums, and videos to inject more brand personality - if your organisation thrives on this, you shouldn't avoid it in your learning portal.
- Make it a safe, open forum: use surveys to seek feedback on the learning experience; find out what's working and what's not; a controlled environment paired with effective communication and moderation can lead to powerful empathy, advice and insight. Never underestimate the power of learners to learn from each other.
Tailor the Learning Experience
In our 2013 Learning Insights Report, we mentioned that it's now more important than every to personalise the learners' experience while understanding their position and challenges as it increases empathy and relevance. So while your stakeholders might want your LMS to look like a certain way, you need to remember to make your LMS customised and relatable for learners, because at the end of the day, they're the ones front and centre. One way to approach this is to determine your learner personas; you need to acknowledge the expected, pre-existing range of knowledge and experience and the range of different personalities and learning styles, plus attitudes to learning.
Key principles when tailoring the LMS experience for learners:
- Identify key users/audiences and categorise them and create personas through dialogue with the end users.
- Give the personas names, characteristics and identify constraints i.e. time pressures, technical competency, preferred devices - to help bring these personas to life.
- Define their key role tasks and information requirements to help feed into the design and validation to help solves users real needs and problems.
- Following the launch, use detailed tracking and reporting functionalities from your LMS to retrieve data on the learner's progress, scores, and this an help continuously alter how the learner journeys are arranged in your system.
Make it Responsive
In this day and age, multi-device delivery is an important thing to consider; if your elearning is already moving in that direction, your LMS should be as well. When you're creating the learner journey, you need to identify gaps between work and home, and where a mobile device like a smartphone or tablet would be key to their learner journey. If your LMS is the one-stop-shop to their responsive elearning courses, five them proper access. Totara Mobile, the responsive version of Totara LMS, gives your learners increased access and convenience to your learning portal and courses on-the-go, so your learners can be more productive as they see fit.
Don't Forget the Marketing
From the outset, you need to remember that this learning portal is still something that needs the attention, traffic and usage from your learners to be successful. Invite and engage your marketing team to create internal communications to promote the portal and programmes it contains; whether through interactive e-zines like The Co-Operative implemented, to leveraging the engaging videos from your elearning programme to promote the portal internally across your organisation, to even old school brochure hand-outs. You've already worked with your marketing team to ensure that the learning portal is on-brand, so why not get their feedback on best practice tips to ensure a successful launch of your learning portal, and to continually reinforce learners to visit it.
And Just Remember...
Your learning management system has the capability of being a powerful learning hub - whether for a sales and product knowledge, blended learning, compliance or a haberdashery of everything in between, connecting to specific learners and outcomes. The choice is up to you, but at the end of the day, you want to get the most return from your investment and creating an effective online learning portal is the best bet to that outcome. Don't know where to start? Contact us and we'll be happy to help you out.
Join the Totara User Group and Talk To Us about Your LMS Options
Don't know where to start? City & Guilds Kineo is running 3 weeks of free Totara-focused webinars, to support you all the way from learning design and LMS implementation best practices, to showing you how others are using this Open Source LMS platform. For more detail about the webinar series and to register, click here.
In Asia Pacific? Join Kineo Pacific at the LearnX Conference on October 14th in Melbourne, where we'll be showcasing Totara LMS, Totara LMS Mobile and our latest LMS implementations. Book a free consultation with one of our learning experts to find out to get the most out of your LMS.