When you bring your Learning Management System online, you can say goodbye to hand-written schedule books and inputting class lists in Outlook and Excel. Your LMS manages scheduling and facilities, and provides information and data that is easily accessible, just like reporting and tracking. Let’s look at how you can use the LMS to become efficient in scheduling and facilities management.
First, consider scheduling on the highest level, that is, scheduling classroom training. If your organization only uses a couple of rooms in one location, this may not seem like a great leap forward. But if your organization manages multiple training rooms in more than one location, the scheduling “arm” of an LMS can change the way you manage training and development. The LMS can most likely hold information about each of the training rooms, its equipment, its seating capacity, and even its classroom style, i.e. technical or soft skills / seminar. Anyone in the organization that has access to this feature can see the training room availability and plan accordingly.
The other piece of scheduling involves managing instructors and facilitators, and this can sometimes be the worst part of the management function. The LMS will probably allow you to set up instructor profiles that show who is qualified in what areas. From these profiles, you or your administrator can plug instructors in to the classroom schedule as it develops-or as it changes, which is usually a given. The instructors can record their attendance and grades, and this by default creates a record that the instructor has taught the class. From this data, you can pull reports on instructor usage to see which ones are in the classrooms, for what lengths of time, and as a percentage of their time. You can use this information to manage instructor scheduling and have the same information at your fingertips when and if scheduling and availability changes.
Facilities management is another area of effectiveness for a Learning Management System. If your organization is one of those with multiple locations and rooms, you may frequently use those rooms for other events or meetings in addition to training. If you filter this schedule through training and development, either the administrator or other department admins can have access to room availability immediately. The LMS can also track who is using what rooms and for what purposes, which can be helpful if another area is using training rooms on a regular basis. As most of us know, new initiatives come around whether we are ready or not, so if you have one that is classroom based, you can plan facilities easily and from one computer, instead of using multiple methods.
Some Learning Management Systems may also have a notes or comments feature in relation to facilities, which would allow for more efficient facilities management. For example, an instructor can leave a note about computer stations that aren’t working or the fact that the LCD projector needs a replacement bulb. If you or your LMS administrator keep tabs of this, you’ll be able to schedule maintenance as it’s reported, instead of changing classrooms or facilities at the last minute.
You can use the reporting feature in facilities management, as well. For example, you may be able to determine that a particular facility is not being used. From there, you can either schedule it or recommend its removal. When you consider the abilities of the LMS from this angle, you can also imagine how you may be able to save organizational funds through effective facilities use.
There is one important thing to remember when you are looking at scheduling and reporting: the information and data that the LMS produces is only as good as what data goes into it. So when you or your administrator are inputting data, be sure that it is the latest and most accurate information available.
Next, we will look at the LMS as a new media tool.
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