When I first started working with online training software and learning management systems (LMS) about 12 years ago, I was unimpressed. Why did I need to learn an entirely new system when we were getting along just fine with photocopies and folders? Was the price really a good use of organizational dollars?
I look now at the sad little file box, forgotten in a corner of my office, that once held all of my training materials and wonder that I ever got anything done. Even before I started working with Avizr, I’ve been a heavy user of different learning management systems and have experienced first-hand the benefits they offer in a variety of training settings.
Here are three of the most important online training software benefits I’ve found:
At any given time, I’m usually working with two or three sections of classes that I lead and am also involved with other professional development projects and supervise student employees. And that’s not counting the times when I’ve been taking classes as a student! Having one spot to send and receive messages, store files, turn in projects, assess student work, and keep track of learner progress has been a lifesaver. I log in, check the dashboard for things to d, and get to work. Far less time wasted searching through paper files for that missing document!
From a learner’s perspective, it’s much easier to find files and keep track of due dates, which means a more efficient use of time and better learning outcomes. Help is a quick message away, and it’s easy to double-check the requirements for a given project.
A well-designed LMS works for online classes as well as it does for in-person or hybrid courses, and we have a wide variety of users who’ve implemented the system’s features in very different ways.
In my own case, I’ve used online training software for exclusively online courses as well as for in-person and hybrid trainings. Over my time using a variety of learning management systems, I’ve started to create courses with at least some hybrid elements. Online training software is perfect for letting trainees get extra practice outside of in-person meetings, and it provides them much-needed flexibility in terms of time, pace, and place. Giving trainees control over when and how they work on projects lets them balance the work for your course with their many other commitments. I’ve found that giving learners flexibility regarding projects also increases the odds that they’ll feel more personally invested in the learning, which also improves learning outcomes.
We tend to think of online training software as a way to connect trainers and learners, but it can also be a great way for coworkers to collaborate and share ideas.
For example, the student facilitators that I work with have a sandbox site in our learning management system. It’s kept private, and we use it to share documents, class activities, and other relevant materials. Everyone in the group knows to check that spot first if they need ideas or resources, and it’s particularly helpful in training new facilitators as they come on board.
An LMS can also be a way for learners to collaborate on projects and share resources with each other. Many of the people in my Spanish workshops, for example, use our course page as a way to share quizzes and practice activities, and they use the system as a way to communicate with each other for group projects.
Over the years, I’ve gone from being a reluctant user of online training software to being a full-on convert. A well-designed system enhances the teaching and learning process, and I can’t imagine working without one at this point. Now I just need to get around to cleaning out that box of forgotten files!
I'm endlessly fascinated by how people learn, and I'm happiest when I'm in the process of learning something new myself.
When I'm not working on marketing for Avizr, I can be found teaching Spanish, working with my student teachers, hanging out with my dogs, and exploring the many trails around Bellingham.