Instructional Design

Top 5 LMS features to boost employee productivity

Boost ProductivityIn the core of eLearning lies the meaning of words like “efficiency”, “mobility”, “productivity” and other essential elements for a somewhat new way of spreading education to the world.

Granted, there are countless ways of teaching, and learning management systems are easy to manipulate in ways to make them fit your learners’ needs, instead of dictating a fixed style from an LMS vendor.

In this post we will be discussing the Top 5 LMS features to boost employee productivity:

1. A comprehensive content authoring tool
Let’s take a step back and reminisce about our years in school, or college…
Remember that test you studied endlessly for, and the answer to that single question from that huge chapter you spent all night cramming was in the middle of the 30 pages you covered? Yes! That one paragraph that counted for 20% of your grade, but you had to study all the rest, too.

I am going to suggest that you make course sections concise, in a way that you can provide a wealth of information without the clutter of too much unnecessary material.

TalentLMS offers an easy-to-use content editor, which allows you to create content on the fly with a few clicks. Adding a video? Search YouTube or Vimeo! Want a presentation to complement your theory? Look it up on Slideshare!

So, next time you decide to just throw in that 20 page PDF file, think twice…

  • Are my learners earning 100% from the material used?
  • Is the material in the best and most concise version I can provide?

If you can answer both questions with a resounding Yes, you have achieved delivering quality content. This will not make you an overnight success, nor is it an easy technique to master, “filtering out the unnecessary”, but with practice come mastery, and with mastery comes recognition.

2. The truth about specialized features, Single Sign-On
If we wanted to capture everyone that falls under the eLearning spectrum we could have probably cluttered a platform with nice graphics, and every feature imaginable on an LMS and then passed it onto the market, doomed to fail.
But even when you don’t offer every feature, with good reasoning, what happens with the features that only a few will use?
When evaluating a product, e.g. a car, you don’t pick everything out of dire need; instead, you go out of your way to think of prospects of how features could fit any given situation that could merit you paying for them, and that’s just behavioral psychology. We are capable of saying anything to justify our craze to have something we set our sights on.

Where am I going with this?

I tend to categorize features in the following way:

  1. Features that are useful, I know I need them
  2. Features that are useful, I have yet to come up with the idea or concept, I may pick it up somewhere else and adopt them.
  3. Features I have no need for, or they would have naturally come forth as ideas.

Single Sign-On is a feature out of a mixed bag, because it’s one of those features you probably didn’t know about, but which could change the way you see user authentication from this point on.

Let’s look at what Single Sign-On is, and how it can help you boost your productivity by being more efficient.

TalentLMS supports Single Sign On (SSO), a process that allows users to authenticate themselves against an external Identity Provider (IdP) or your corporate user database rather than obtaining and using a separate username and password handled by TalentLMS.

You can read our comprehensive guides on how to setup Single Sign-On on your cloud LMS using LDAP, SAML 2.0 or Microsoft ADFS 2.0.

Single sign-on is not only a means of saving time from having to both log-in but also remember the credentials of multiple accounts, but it is also a means of having a secure authentication method which bundles up with any number of other accounts you may have.

3. Variety in testing methods
Of course, being efficient could not only be about time; we’re extending the definition in efficiency of learning. As an instructor, an administrator or an eLearning enthusiast, the end goal is always to accumulate as much valuable information in as little time, or in a manner that does not make learning seem like a routine burden from our everyday life. Using a variety of testing methods helps in a number of ways:
– Retention, the more methods you are exposed to the more you develop muscle memory in a variety of techniques you wouldn’t be used to if only tested using Multiple-choice questions.
– Interactivity. As tests come in many different shapes and colors nowadays, and with the ability of learning management systems to comprehend free-text answers, you may let a learner express himself more freely.

TalentLMS offers the ability to create tests of different kinds; from the vanilla multiple-choice questions, to free-text questions in which the users can simply run free with their thoughts, randomized tests from a pre-determined pool of questions, drag-and-drop, fill-the-gap and ordering questions.

Having variety in testing is beneficial for two reasons:
– Engages learners who are more creative thinkers, those who prefer to write an essay rather than structure a bullet-point filled paragraph of data.
– Engages learners who are bored of the mainstream testing methods, like multiple-choice.

4. A clean UI
Humans are creatures of habit, and we’ll go out of our way to do something senselessly impractical simply in the name of habit. So, if you asked me what car I prefer to drive, I probably won’t name a car nominated as “car of the year” but the one I learnt to drive on, or the one I was given; either way, as humans we are flawed in many ways.
In a virtual environment where things get more simplified, minimalistic and user-friendly, one would be either too sure of themselves or too unique to follow an approach with a steep learning curve.

Which leads us to a very important factor of how people choose their LMS: The User Interface

No matter how you look at it, people will always prefer the clean and simple UI of an LMS platform that gives them all they want in a neat page without much unnecessary noise, rather than one with many dropdown menus and flashy pop-ups dressed in merry graphics and glitter.

To make things easier to comprehend, having used an LMS with an intuitive and easy UI and then trying an LMS with a flashy UI full of popups and stacks over stacks of information on your dashboard, is a bit like going from using a standard mouse, to using a trackball mouse. You will even subconsciously move the mouse although the only thing you have to do is move the trackball; why make things hard when they just work?

What you need to take from this is that radical changes for the sake of covering a niche in the market is a risky move that will usually result in more frustration than market domination.

5. Use iFrame to clear the way of distractions
What iFrame is essentially is a way to embed websites on your LMS without asking the learner to leave the platform. In effect, an internet resource may be made available by the instructor on the LMS, even though its content or even website has nothing to do with the LMS itself. It’s a clever way of complementing your content with material from the Internet, without creating any distractions to the user by asking them to search the internet to find what they need.

Keeping your content sections short, using features like iFrame and Single Sign-On to rid the user of distractions and worries, testing with a variety of different techniques and offering a clean UI for the LMS user, are all fundamental tips to not just improving the user experience, but also making it an enjoyable one.

Learning shouldn’t seem like another part of a routine, don’t you agree?
Let us know if another feature stands out for you, in terms of improving learning efficiency and user-experience.