E-learning Management Tips for Small Businesses
Brief Summary: This article discusses in depth how small businesses can have a profitable relationship with e-learning systems. It offers tips on what to do and what to avoid.
Small businesses are usually run on a tight budget. For such companies, the decision to invest in a Learning Management System (LMS) is not a small one.
Small companies might decide not to invest at all in e-learning, or continue with an outdated LMS. But the Covid pandemic has taught us a lesson. Companies need flexible training programs to ensure business continuity and regulatory compliance. It is worthwhile to invest in the correct LMS.
Let us read the top five things to consider before taking this step.
- Prioritize Needs
The first step is to prioritize your needs for the next one to three years. Then look for solutions that meet those needs. It is unrealistic to look beyond this time span.
You can start by identifying which problems you need an LMS to solve. The next question is, how will you use the platform? Compare these to the features offered by a particular LMS.
It is important to remember that your needs are susceptible to change. So make scalability a prerequisite. Say your business expands, or you need more evolved training. You need an LMS that supports incremental growth without causing a dent in your budget.
- Understanding the Scope
The available platforms are of varying capabilities. Some platforms are designed only for handling basic training administration, like managing training delivery and tracking course completion.
Other platforms are more sophisticated. They provide more comprehensive services which can be an advantage to small businesses. These lessen the burden of creating original content, thus granting you the freedom to look after other aspects of your company.
- Consider These Features
- Set-up: Setting up your chosen LMS depends on your vendor. You might need to set it up yourself, or get partial or complete assistance in implementation. While deciding on which set-up you want, be honest with yourself. You might save money on a self-service LMS, but are you capable of the job? In that case, it might be smarter to pay extra for a full-service implementation.
- Compatibility with HR: Some small businesses already use an HR system. In this case, LMS integration can save time and energy. They can keep track of which employees need what kind of training, job changes, upskilling and certifications. Choose a platform that can integrate with your Human Resource Information System.
- Multi-format Capabilities: You need to select an LMS that provides varied learning style, to ensure that all employees are benefiting from the course. It is important to remember that different people have different learning needs.
- Easy Mobile Access: Whatever be your industry, your employees are bound to prefer the chance of learning where and when they want, on a device of their choosing. Ensuring this will guarantee better employee participation. Invest in a platform that offers a seamless mobile experience.
- Cloud-based Learning: Cloud learning offers greater flexibility and accessibility compared to on-premises systems. This is especially true for remote learning capabilities. Cloud-based solutions also offer automatic updates with very little hands-on maintenance. Cloud platforms are also usually less expensive, as they have modular components which can be added or changed later.
- Support: Small businesses do not have many resources at their disposal. This is why it’s important to choose an LMS with adequate customer support. Many platforms offer self-help resources, while some other have free or pay-per-incident customer support.
- Analytics: Many small companies want to analyze the learner experience in addition to tracking course completion. An LMS that can track learner behaviour in real-time will help you improve your content and maximize training effectiveness.
- Know the Cost
Most LMS platforms include the initial set-up and licensing in their cost. Any upgrades or additional components might have extra charges.
The most common pricing models are per learner/per month, per learner/per use fee and a flat fee per course. Consider these costs before choosing the correct LMS for you.
Also keep in mind the overall value-addition of an LMS. It will save you time and energy, which will make your business more productive.
Firstly, be wary of buying too many add-ons. Make sure you know about all the features that are included in the contract.
Some LMS vendors might want you to use only their content, and charge you a fee if you want to switch platforms. Make sure to clear all doubts in this regard.
Involve your IT department while evaluating an LMS. They can offer valuable insight.
Plan for roll-out and adoption of the LMS. Make sure your employees are comfortable with it.
Buying an LMS is a big decision for small companies. Invest time and energy in this decision, so you don’t regret it.