Is engagement with your LMS in decline?

Do you have a sense that interest and engagement with your LMS is in decline?  Is it only a sense or have you been confronted with metrics showing declining enrolments, logins and participation?  These are some ideas on how you can reverse the decline trend and ignite interest and engagement with your elearning programs.

These ideas vary in complexity and cost to implement. I suggest you consider these ideas in the context of both your target audiences and the resources you have available. 

  1. Add social to your elearning. This may be in your LMS, using social platforms or a mixture of both. You might be surprised to find that a Facebook Group focused on a learning topic or general subject matter will prompt higher participation rates and interest. In both a social platform and your LMS make sure you encourage question and answer, forums, course ratings and surveys. Some organisations have been successful encouraging social collaboration by rating questions, answers and published content and offering awards.
  2. Mobile learning is no longer an option. You will compromise your participation rates without enabling people to access learning on mobile and tablet devices. Make sure your learning is always available with fast access and mobile is the way to achieve this. Make sure there is learning available that does not require an enrolment process or other barrier to entry.
  3. People do not have the time or attention span to endure long online learning modules. Make sure your learning content is short and to the point. Short modules can be combined to create longer courses. I recommend modules of 5 to 10 minutes duration. If you go much beyond this a person will lose focus and attention. Your people may be accessing learning on their mobile devices in all sorts of environments so you want to make it easy for them to start and complete a module with the greatest chance for success.
  4. You can ‘gamify’ your elearning. This does not have to be overly complicated. You simply determine what the parameters of the game are and then implement measurement and tracking. It can be assigning points to courses and people accumulate points as they complete courses. You can award points for participation in social collaboration and sharing. There are many ways to do this. Remember you are not wanting to encourage a toxic competitive culture, you want to make learning fun.
  5. Case studies are a good way to capture interest. Case studies are great for learning concepts since people can relate to them. You can add coaching and social collaboration to case study learning for even more impact.

If you are facing declining participation rates in your organisation’s elearning you may have reached a fork in the road. You have the choice of the carrot or the stick. The carrot is always more effective to create change and encouraging people to participate in learning is no different. I hope these five ideas will help you out.

Filling the gaps in your LMS

Despite the advances in LMS technology and the enormous range of features being added to learning management systems, some organisations still find there are gaps in meeting their learning strategy objectives.

An organisation facing this reality will often search for a new LMS to meet their needs. This process may be costly in time and financial resources. These are a few ideas that warrant consideration before taking the plunge.

  1. Make sure you have your current LMS configured correctly. Have you changed your configuration to meet new requirements?
  2. Have you kept pace with updates from your vendor?
  3. If reporting is not delivering what you need, have you considered integrating with a third party reporting tool?

If you are looking to build a continuous learning framework, the LMS is a great platform to contribute to the framework, but it may need to be supplemented with other tools and processes. You may want to consider these options as well before ditching your current LMS.

  1. Consider offering micro-learning in your LMS. Make the learning fun and always available by not being linked to sessions and enrolment processes.
  2. Try using social media to foster greater collaboration and teamwork. The social features in learning management systems vary widely. Social platforms offer a number of ways to engage your people without cost and with a good chance of widespread adoption. YouTube is an incredible resource that is under-utilised for learning across an extended enterprise.
  3. Offer classroom and online follow-up to your learning programs. We have achieved great results using collaborative communities of practice and expert areas to foster ongoing learning and retention.
  4. Personalise your learning to individuals and teams. Most learning management systems have the ability to do this to varying degrees. Change the learning programs regularly to keep people interested and engaged.

You can achieve great things as a learning professional using technology and other tools to supplement your LMS. Do not consider the LMS to be the only tool you have to achieve your learning objectives.