When companies and small businesses install a brand new learning management system, they think their job is complete. They expects marvels and miracles from this LMS. They think their courses would become award-winning and their revenues would finally meet targets. How naïve! Installing and setting up an LMS is akin to buying the latest smartphone in the market and expecting to become a better knowledge manager and communicator! Unless you learn how to utilize the smartphone’s salient and selling features, neither will your productivity improve nor your ROI on the phone. In this article, we share some ideas to enhance the functionality and performance of your new LMS to truly achieve eLearning business and educator success.
Learning management systems come is all shapes and sizes. They may differ with each other in many features but, there is one aspect that is common to all LMS – the active support system. Let’s put it this way, if the LMS vendor is in business, it is definitely because of their responsive support personnel. After reading this article, the fastest way to implement the suggested strategies is to contact your local support for your product. Discuss how you can cater to the needs of the current learner. You may be surprised to find additional facts from your support! Meanwhile, here are our suggestions:
1. Clean up Your Appearance
Avoid the old convent look and feel of your learning management system! Lighten things up. Surf other websites with reputedly high traffic. What do these public-frequented websites have in common? Clean design? Simple and easy navigation? Help on each page. Easy access to the people behind the website. The human touch. The plug-ins that are cool and informative at the same time. People don’t like to visit old and shabby places. Websites have their own time-sensitive fashions! Find out what you can add to your learning management system to make it look responsive and representative of your values.
Is it snowing outside? Perhaps the weather is depicted by your LMS? Are you learners globally dispersed? Share some country-specific fun fact in a designated area of your LMS. Do you like graphic art? Share your love to keep things light in a special page for sharing still-life or caption-instigating images. Have a two-word-contest-for-this-image every week! Engage your audience with the design elements of your LMS.
2. Rev up your LMS App space
If you don’t have a mobile application presence, we strongly suggest you find out now and how! You have the best design on your website, but if the browser of your learners is mobile-based, they may not get your message completely. Mobile applications for learning management systems are either configured automatically through platform-friendly LMS or explicitly setting up your mobile look through some back-end options. Find out if your LMS needs additional coding or parameter-setting. Again, utilize your mobile app real estate space carefully. Keep things very simple!
Make sure your courses are platform-independent too. Your safest bet is to avoid Flash programs in your eLearning courses and replace with HTML5. This enables the touch feature that is notorious in mobile programs.
3. Gamify the LMS
You’ve heard this many times already. Gamification is a point-based system in which your learners get points for achieving various targets. The goal is to improve learning outcomes and learner-engagement. Take charge of your LMS gamification! Award badges for other uncommonly recognized learning habits. For example, if a learner stays online longer than 90 minutes, award them a “Time-Keeper” badge. Similarly, if someone shares a lot of resources with peers, recognize their community-building efforts by awarding them a “Robin Hood” badge! If you have achievement tests on your LMS, give out badges like “Quiz Ace” etc. for over-achievers.
Have your learners choose their own avatars similar to the Xbox or Wii program. Enable them to change the avatar according to their mood. Interacting as an avatar with peers helps learners express their persona which is otherwise challenging in an online environment.
4. Get Social
Imagine entering a room full of people that you have to get to know. How will getting to know be possible without talking? How do you keep the feelings of isolation at bay? How do you encourage interactivity and collaboration between learners? The first step is to realize the eLearning is a social activity and not solo. The second step is to teach this value by encouraging course participation and LMS engagement.
Create a loud community page. Learners upon entering this page instantly click and connect with peers. Make the scene light-hearted and joke-filled to alleviate hesitation. The warmer and welcoming your social scene is, the more learners will engage and succeed in your courses. Earn their trust that the social page is to provide help in every way possible to your eLearners.
5. Get More Interactive
Avoid the cold look and demeanor of your LMS. Add some cool interactivity plug-ins like useful surveys, opinions polls and even personality tests. Have learners take other psychometric tests like Myers Briggs or Computer Literacy tests to improve self-awareness and select courses accordingly. Enable complex profile-building capabilities that go beyond the basic name-profession-goals norm. Have a chat box available on each screen to promote communication with the learning community and facilitators. Have experts available online for personal questions through chatting.
6. Where’s the Leaderboard?
Put your badges and awards to good community use! Have a leaderboard available to all LMS members in which you share the names and expertise of the owners of the badges. The top record breakers and record makers, both through points and time the title is held. When learners log into your LMS, they instantly know they are in an exciting space! Don’t forget to post the names of learners who have completed the most courses in your LMS.
7. Market your Courses on your LMS
Course covers are nothing less than movie covers now-a-days! Showcase the upcoming, the famous, the required, the standard test helper and many other courses on the main page of your LMS in a designated area. Announce them as coming soon, with freebie and discounted prices for specific badge holders. Talk about how the new course will change your learner’s life through testimonials of satisfied learners who have already completed the course.
8. Ask for LMS improvement comments
Don’t just ask as a vague question! Ask your learners through specific questions on how they feel you could improve the LMS and what would be the best strategy for learners. Ask for their personal wish-list for any LMS features or courses.
9. Share some productivity-enhancing plug-ins
Educational technology is on the high rise. AS an LMS admin or a training provider, you should have a few hand-picked plug-ins ready for sharing. Share the links, pros, cons of these plug-ins with your eLearners. Enjoy a flood of thanks and better engagement!
10. Create Learner Experts for Mentoring
There are plenty of experts out there in your eLearner community ready to share their knowledge and expertise. Contact them personally and ask them if they would like to be discussion board leader. Also ask them the tittle they would prefer. Create dedicated pages for these experts that displays their profile completely and the range of questions they have answered. There is no better way to inspire others through the power of knowledge.
Engaging through LMS is amazingly easier than before. Most LMS are equipped with many features that can be tweaked towards your personal use. Enhance your LMS through these 10 additional strategies and enjoy a richer eLearning environment.