The Advantages of Learning Management Systems
One of the major technological innovations that has taken place in IT learning over the past three to four years has been the emergence of learning management systems. A learning management system (LMS) is an automated system for administering the learning process within an organization. Recently, the deployment of learning management systems to help develop the human capital of organizations has become mainstream in most successful, large corporations. Most discussions regarding learning management systems have focused on the benefits they deliver to the organization or to managers. In this article, we are going to look at the power of an LMS to the individual. You will see how it can be used to more effectively maintain and develop your skills and your certifications and how it can be used to prove your own success and development within the IT learning industry.
The advantages begin with access to the training itself. Good learning management systems will allow you to sort through global online catalogs for complete access to all the learning available to you and then easily filter through this information to select the courses that match your specific needs for training and certification. You can access all of your learning resources through a single point of access.
A second advantage of an LMS for the individual is the ability to understand your current skills before you embark upon learning. Comprehensive learning management systems are typically populated with a number of assessments in the area of technology and soft skills. This tool allows you to gain a better understanding of where you are today to determine which courses are needed to reach your learning goals. The better learning management systems will also allow you to construct development paths for yourself and view your own progress against your goals. You can piece together courses, classes or reading documents into whatever format you want in order to build your own individualized learning path.
A third advantage of learning management systems for individuals is their capability to dramatically personalize the learning. Sophisticated learning management systems allow learners to leave their own notes inside the learning, create bookmarks, personalize content pages and favorites and list the activities they want to undertake. This system allows you to create your own home page and list those courses and activities in which you are currently engaged. It will also automatically alert you when a new program or certification that you are interested in is made available. Many learning management systems also unlock the ability to collaborate with your peers, both within your organization and across the industry, through threaded discussions, live chats or mentored sessions. The ability to get access to personalized training information and expert resources and support through a single point of entry is incredibly powerful.
Last, but perhaps the most advantageous, is the ability of an LMS to allow you to fully manage and track your own learning. The best learning management systems have a documented transcript progress to serve as a dynamic record of your learning. It keeps track of everything you do—all of the classes attended, all of the e-learning courses taken, what stage you have reached within the course, assessments taken and all other activities. The power of these transcripts is their ability to show how much you have invested in learning and how much has been achieved. Clearly, this is an enormous advantage when applying for promotions, seeking a new job or approaching the organization about furthering your training.
In many ways, a good LMS provides as many benefits to the individual as it does to the organization because of the power it gives individuals to tailor, customize and track their own learning. For those of you who have the opportunity to take advantage of an LMS, either within your organization or those provided by training vendors, I strongly encourage you to take the time to understand how much value these platform technologies can provide to you as a learner. The ability to dynamically build training paths, to customize the learning to best meet your needs, to gain a single point of access to all the of the resources you need to be successful, and finally, to provide you with a single unified transcript that is a summary of your investment and your success in your development can go a long way toward helping you achieve your goals in the IT industry.
Martin Bean is the chief operating officer for New Horizons Computer Learning Centers Inc., the world’s largest computer training company.