Virtual Training: Maximize Your Team’s Potential With an LMS
Online learning opportunities are providing L&D departments across the globe with the tools to increase participation and provide a wider range of offerings. Before learners can get the benefits of those tools, though, they must become proficient with the learning management system (LMS) itself.
That means using the LMS to learn about the LMS, a process that isn’t hard but does sometimes requires a little extra learner support.
Before you invest deeply in moving your key training tools online so you can reserve classroom time for hands-on lessons, take the time to build the right orientation and onboarding courses. That means learning about best practices for teaching LMS engagement that are already being used in real-world situations.
What Does Virtual Training Look Like in the Real World?
Online training in remote work resources is the most prevalent example of virtual training in the real world, thanks mostly to the COVID pandemic.
It was on the rise before that, but with the rapid adoption of remote work across industries due to necessity, it became one of the dominant examples of online learning. LMS tools allow learners to explore other company resources like intranet workspaces and internal messaging tools so they can better adapt to the processes used by teams at your company.
When you build an LMS orientation, the tools in today’s adaptive learning environments provide a little extra help. Not only do they give users insights about their behavior within the system, but they also serve new and review material to suit the user’s actual mastery of various course goals. As a result, an LMS orientation classroom can be built to keep learners in the course until they are ready to navigate other courses.
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Top 4 Challenges of Training With an LMS
Online training provides an array of opportunities and advantages, but like any learning tool, it also has challenges and limitations. In some cases, that means there are things you will always be able to teach a little more effectively in a face-to-face, hands-on environment. In others, it just means you need to rise to the challenge and innovate in-course solutions that make the most of your LMS training.
1. Engagement & Buy-In Among New Users
Technology can be daunting to new users, especially if they don’t have many established skills when it comes to virtual environments.
Online learning has dealt with that challenge from day one because of the way it has grown alongside the widespread cultural adoption of online spaces generally. Even experienced users can have difficulty building the habits involved when they begin navigating new systems, so feedback tools that re-engage lapsed users are essential.
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2. Addressing the Needs of Hands-on Learners
Some people simply learn better when they can get direct feedback and observe instructor demonstrations in real time. Not every skill can be taught that way, even in face-to-face classrooms. Still, for those who need to ground learning in activity, the online classroom can be a challenging place unless your LMS manager intentionally designs interactive learning objects like puzzle games.
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3. Creating Social Learning Opportunities
Another perennial challenge for LMS teams looking to build online learning tools, the problem of creating social learning opportunities in a course that doesn’t assume learners are present at the same time has been tackled in many ways.
Discussion boards that mimic internet forums are the most common, but new tools are always on the rise. With the right internal messaging and frequent participant check-in, there is a lot of potential for overcoming this particular hurdle in the modern LMS.
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4. Adapting Instructor Habits
Experienced teachers can be the ones with the hardest time setting up an effective online learning environment because the habits that make effective face-to-face engagements often fail to translate online.
Asynchronous courses that depend on delays between rounds of feedback are just one challenge. Your first training goal needs to be preparing the instructors who will teach skills outside of tech training.
Types of LMS Courses & Systems
While there are a lot of ways to work around these challenges to online learning, the best solution for your organization depends on the kind of course offerings you will be listing in your training system.
It also depends on the system’s features and capabilities, because there are a few builds to choose from within the Open LMS family. To make a good choice for your organization, decide on the course options you want to develop and then buy the LMS package that enables you to build them most efficiently.
Asynchronous Online Courses
The most popular form of online classroom is the asynchronous course. Used in corporate training programs and universities all over the country, it allows students to log in when they have time and finish lessons or assessments at their own pace.
While many courses have deadlines for milestone assessments, the individual path to them is paced by the student most of the time.
When a course is largely run in an online environment but also includes face-to-face learning sessions, it’s considered a hybrid classroom. Material that is learned efficiently through reading or viewing multimedia presentations can be fit into the learner’s schedule, with face-to-face time reserved for discussions, hands-on skill development, and assessments.
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Like their in-seat cousins, online seminars take a focused approach to a topic through the real-time explanation of material by a master presenter. Most seminar leaders do not need the skill sets of traditional teachers, but they do need to be knowledgeable narrators and excellent public speakers.
Online seminars can also be easily recorded for the benefit of later learners, albeit without the ability to participate in any interactive sessions designed to reinforce the material.
Synchronous Online Courses
While they’re in the minority, some programs do build online courses designed for synchronous learning in the long term. They function like mirrors of their offline counterparts in terms of classroom structure and expectations for participation and attention, and much of the scholarship indicates they are not usually as effective as asynchronous approaches for adult learners.
There are always exceptions, though, and it is worth considering whether a time-dependent online experience suits any of your courses.
Choosing an LMS That Suits Your Course Structure
Organizations looking to build multiple course types while tracking skills across all of them would benefit from the total package approach offered with builds designed around a talent marketplace, even if there is no current plan to take things that far. Otherwise, it’s a matter of choosing whether you’re interested in a package made to suit enterprise operations with training or a more traditional package aimed at educational institutions.
It might seem like an easy choice, but a surprising number of technical fields favor online learning that strongly mimics the approach used in schools, so choose carefully.If you need advice to decide which approach works best for your company or educational institution, contact us! We’d be happy to walk you through our technology and help you choose the right solution.