Your LMS can manage various aspects of your training life cycle as well as content. Consider how much manual management is involved with curriculum development and management, career-pathing, certifications, testing, and evaluation. With an LMS, once these items are in place you can allow the system to manage and track all of them. Let’s look at each of these functions a little more closely.
In relation to curricula, the LMS enables you to build curricula based on business unit, position, or other criteria, and then place each curriculum on the system. When someone is hired or moves into a position, he or she will get access to that curriculum. From there, each learner, and his or her manager, can work on completing courses and learning interventions that better prepare them for the job. Some organizations may even have multiple curricula for one person. For example, your organization may require every employee to go through “basic training” in your industry or company. Then, you may have a curriculum that goes with that person’s job or job group. Your LMS helps you manage all of these.
You can also create career paths in addition to curricula. A career path can show a potential candidate the professional and educational development that is needed to prepare for the next level. And the LMS can track and manage that career path, as well. For example, your organization may have positions that require further education, licensing, or internal education before a person can be considered for the job. But along with this comes the ease of management for the learning organization and the stakeholders. For example, if your stakeholder decides to add a new educational requirement or professional development item, you can easily add it to the career path as it currently exists. This is another great example of seamless changes that can be accomplished within your LMS.
Your LMS can track and manage certification programs, as well. This is much like a curriculum but is more targeted within job groups. For example, people in certain jobs may need to be certified to carry out specific duties. Or, you may want to certify for merit increases or job level increases. Whatever the purpose of your certification, you can create the certification “path” on the LMS and track it. In addition, the employee and his or her manager can keep tabs of the certification process, as well. Some LMS systems even issue completion certificates for courses or tasks, which is an added incentive to employees and managers alike.
Testing is another training management function for the LMS. Imagine how much time your learning and development organization spends on recreating, scoring, and recording tests. With the LMS, you can input tests for both OLT and ILT interventions and let the system score and record the score. You can set minimum passing scores that will tell the participant whether he or she is allowed to re-test. The testing engine of an LMS ensures the follow-through of knowledge consistency, that each person is being tested on exactly the same outcomes. In ILT testing, the instructor can easily place participants on computers in the classroom.
But testing goes beyond OLT and ILT. You can also create pre-testing or test-out options using the LMS. For example, some corporate universities offer “test outs” for certain levels of knowledge and experience, much like a college CLEP test. If a learner is able to pass a pre-test, he or she is sometimes exempted from the course or task requirement. If this is the case with your organization, you can create pre-tests and let the system track and score them, just like a post-test.
Finally, your LMS can handle evaluation of training, especially the first few levels. For example, your level one evaluations for both ILT and OLT can be handled via the LMS. When a participant completes a course, he or she is automatically placed into an evaluation. But what about higher level evaluations? You can create them on the LMS and then send participants a notification to go to the evaluation, much like a course notification. This functionality allows you to evaluate learners, supervisors, or colleagues at certain points after the training intervention.
Next, we will examine tracking and reporting via the learning management system.
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