learning technology moving past lmsIt’s no secret that the number of learning technologies available today continues to increase, making it harder to decipher which will best fit your organization’s needs. And despite the variety of technologies available, the LMS and e-learning still continue to be at the forefront of most learning professionals’ minds when they think about learning technologies. Although the LMS can cover a wide array of learning requirements, it’s important to remember that all of your training challenges can’t be solved with an LMS. Why? It simply wasn’t designed for all types of training management needs. 

The Reality for L&D Professionals 

Let’s put yourself in the shoes of someone who delivers a mix of e-learning, classroom training, and more. You might be asking, 

“Sure, my organization delivers online courses through our LMS. But we also provide courses face-to-face as well as in virtual classrooms, and a lot of our courses incorporate blended elements. Recently, we’ve even started using technology within the classroom to improve effectiveness. Which technology should we use to manage all these processes and resources?”

We know that a lot of technology, especially due to the changing circumstances, has been focused on moving online. The market has become so infused with the equation: learning technology=online=LMS that it’s difficult to realize that the reality for L&D professionals is quite different. Most learning professionals understand that a successful strategy today must integrate different delivery methods (and systems), which the LMS was simply not designed to do. Take a look at the following reminders: 

  • Increasing learner engagement tops the priority list of L&D pros globally and in the US, according to LinkedIn’s 2020 Workplace Learning Report
  • Leadership and soft skills are the most important skills to train for according to L&D professionals. Countless reports, such as Brandon Hall Group’s State of Leadership Development, underline that instructor-led training is the most effective way to develop such skills.
  • Furthermore, 65% of companies use ILT because it’s more effective than other forms of training in improving participants’ understanding.
  • According to Brandon Hall Group’s 2019 Learner Experience Survey, 97% of companies use instructor-led training (ILT) to some degree, whether face-to-face or virtual. 

L&D professionals have to reconcile the importance of affordable training (generally through e-learning) with effective training (generally through instructor-led training (ILT) and virtual ILT (VILT). This shouldn’t come as a surprise. 

What About ILT and VILT? 

We know there is an impressive breadth of technology focused on helping organizations better structure and monitor e-learning content distribution. Again, this is the typical mission of the LMS. However, technology is rarely applied to helping organizations manage ILT. Returning to our initial question, solutions that help organizations integrate both methods and manage complex scenarios, which should be the ultimate goal, are even harder to find.

Now, while your mind might still wander in the direction of an LMS, it’s time to re-shift your focus. You might think you can find an LMS which offers some tweaks here and there to manage ILT and VILT scheduling. However, it’s important to remember that ILT management goes far beyond mere scheduling. What if instructor-led courses represent 60, 70, or even 80% of your training hours? If passing on soft skills in person is extremely strategic for your company? If you also sell training and need to manage profitability? There comes a point where the LMS becomes so disconnected from your real challenges, that stretching its features is simply not enough.

Here are 3 misconceptions that can help us reevaluate our definition of learning technologies:

  • “Learning technologies manage online learning.” 

Not exactly. Learning technologies manage… learning. Most learning today takes place in a virtual classroom or a classroom. There are tools specifically dedicated to instructor-led training, or virtual ILT, either to enhance in-class effectiveness or training administration efficiency.

  • “Learning technologies are meant for learners.” 

We know that the LMS’s main goal is to allow learners to access online content. However, there are other technology solutions built specifically to help training managers and administrators optimize back-office training activities.

  • “If I want to manage training, I need an LMS.”

Although we all wish we could have a “does-it-all” type of software, the LMS is not it. Remember, it’s designed to deliver and monitor online courses. Let’s say you mostly provide instructor-led courses, or you sell training to external clients and want to improve profitability. Chances are, you would need an entirely different solution.

Benefiting from the Training Management System (TMS)

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So where is the technology to manage face-to-face training? It is called a Training Resource Management System, and it’s dedicated to optimizing all the complex back-office ILT processes. Think budgeting, scheduling and administration, cost-tracking, resource management, and more. This dedicated software is made to help you increase the productivity and reliability of operations. It will also improve the financial efficiency of ILT overall. You might also hear it be called the training management system, course management systemseminar management system, and the like, as it covers a wide variety of your back-office ILT and VILT needs. 

If you want to learn more about the Training Management System, take a look at this 5-min guide infographic which answers some of the following questions:

  • What particular features does a Training Management System include? 
  • Who typically uses a Training Management System, and what do they use it for?
  • What goals does it help organizations reach?
  • How can it complement an LMS?

Associating learning technologies and ILT might seem counter-intuitive. Indeed, it takes a shift away from the “technology=online=LMS” mindset. Thus, it shifts to a more global vision of how technology can be applied to solve training challenges. But, creating a successful integrated learning strategy cannot be done without properly managing the 70% of ILT and VILT which make up the training ecosystem today.

Going Forward

Implementing a Training Resource Management System can help you optimize classroom training operations: session scheduling, resource management, instructor calendars, VILT, cost tracking and reporting. As a complement to your existing learning technologies, Training Orchestra can replace all XLS spreadsheets and manual tasks, so you can manage training as a business.

In addition to these features, solutions like Training Orchestra have easy, out-of-the-box integration with the LMS, as well as quick integration with other HR systems such as the Learning Experience Platform (LXP), Customer Relationship Management (CRM), Human Resources Information System (HRIS) and Enterprise Resource Planning Systems (ERP).

Contact us to find out more or schedule a personalized demo. We look forward to talking with you!

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