Tips for Motivating Employees to Use Your LMS
You've chosen a new Learning Management System to increase your organization's overall training effectiveness, what's next? One of the biggest challenges is motivation. How do you motivate employees to engage in their learning. How can you ensure your employees use your new LMS?
This article will outline some of the top tips you can use to motivate employees to engage in learning using your LMS, and make sure the application you spent all that time choosing enjoys the success it deserves!
First, let's quickly define what a Learning Management System is.
What is a Learning Management System?
An LMS, or Learning Management System, is a software application that manages, delivers, evaluates, tracks and reports the learning progress of employees in an organization.
Learning Management Systems are not just for online training. You can use an LMS to manage and track all types of training, including offline activities such as workshops and seminars.
Learning Management Systems serve multiple purposes, such as employee training, compliance training, knowledge capture, and general education. However, their primary role is to ensure that all employees have the resources, knowledge and skills needed to perform specific tasks to an established and documented standard of performance.
So, how to motivate learners to use your LMS?
1. Train LMS Administrators
Your LMS is only as effective as the people that will be administrating it.
The LMS Administrator is responsible for setting up the application, adding accounts or people, uploading content and ensuring learners' questions are answered. In some cases, they may also be responsible for running reports.
An LMS administrator should develop a strong knowledge of the business needs of the company and the LMS in order to proactively provide support for learning initiatives and motivate learners to use your LMS.
So, make sure to take advantage of the training hours offered by your LMS vendor. They will walk administrators through the various LMS features to ensure they can:
- Customize the LMS settings
- Add or remove users and groups
- Assign different roles to users, including site admin, reporter, facilitator, learner etc.
- Set up a learning plan with different learning paths that learners must complete
- Assign learning paths to learners or groups based on their learning needs
- Create assessments and build certifications
- Create reports to measure the effectiveness of the training program
LMS administrators play a key role in ensuring learners use the LMS effectively. You can choose to assign this role to someone internally, or hire an external vendor to handle the administration.
2. Encourage Intrinsic Motivation
The needs analysis you completed during the decision-making process helped you determine the target audience of your training program.
But what will create long term sustainable motivation? You should encourage intrinsic motivation.
According to Daniel Pink's Ted Talk "We do things because they matter, because we like it, because they are interesting, or part of something important". This system revolves around 3 elements:
- Autonomy: the urge to direct our own life
- Mastery: the desire to improve at something that matters
- Purpose: the yearning to do what we do in service of something larger than ourselves
But how can you encourage intrinsic motivation? To start:
- Remove barriers to success, and provide:
- Ease of use and usability: These are essential components of a Learning Management System. Your software should be equally easy to use for administrators and employees in order to drive engagement.
- Flexible learning: Deliver training material on any device, including mobile devices, and address the challenges of an increasingly global, mobile and technologically savvy workforce.
- Microlearning: According to Software Advice, employees want short, easy-to-digest content. In fact, 58% of surveyed employees said "they would be more likely to use their companies' online learning tools if the content was broken up into multiple, shorter lessons."
- Ask yourself how your learners prefer to learn, and provide:
- Blended delivery: An effective blend of learning approaches can address different learning styles. Learners should have multiple learning options and ways to consume information, such as downloadable documents, online courses, links to external sources and videos.
- Personalized learning: Create personalized learning paths and automatically enroll learners based on their goals and objectives. To motivate and empower learners, give them control over their learning experience.
Once you have established the needs of your target audience, you can take a closer look at how to better encourage them to adopt a new technology through our next tip, which explores the idea of change management.
3. Promote an Atmosphere of Positive Change
One of the biggest challenges of any eLearning initiative is ensuring that it results in actual changes in behavior. It is human nature to resist change. Do the following questions sound familiar?:
- Why should I prioritize this?
- How will it benefit me?
- What is the impact of annual review?
Answering employee questions is part of the process of gaining their approval, but information alone is not enough. To ensure you promote an atmosphere of positive change and successfully launch your LMS, consider:
- Using gamification: Ensure gamification is offered by your LMS. Features such as points, leaderboards and badges motivate and engage users in the learning experience. In fact, according to a study conducted by Badgeville, gamification improves work experience for 91% of employees.
- Sharing the economic and rational benefits of the new LMS: Show your users the value of the LMS, and how continuing to do things the old way costs them time, and the organization money. The LMS should be an integral part of the day-to-day operation of your organization.
- Customizing training: Employees have different experiences when it comes to new technologies. Ask your team members what kind of training they would be more comfortable with, and focus your training efforts on those types of materials.
- Transforming the most enthusiastic users into LMS ambassadors. Focus on getting a group of super users who can advocate for the application and train others on how to maximize their use of the technology.
- Providing feedback: Effective feedback is essential to improving performance, as it helps identify difficulties and allows administrators to take action to improve the overall effectiveness of your training programs.
Now that we have looked at how to create support for the training program, we should turn to what it will contain, which brings us to our next tip.
4. Develop Mindful Training Content
Part of successfully getting started with your LMS is being mindful of the type of content that will most benefit your learners.
You have a few different options when it comes to developing courseware:
- Purchase existing courses: These "off-the-shelf" courses are a good way to get your training program up and running quickly. They will be cost-effective, but not customized to your organization.
- Build your own eLearning course: This is a good option when you need a customized course that is exactly what you want. Be aware of your budget and resources should you choose this option.
- Outsource your eLearning course development: You may also choose to commission a vendor to build your courseware for you. While more expensive than "off-the-shelf" courseware, you will be able to take advantage of the expertise and experience that an eLearning vendor can bring to your project.
Remember to diversify the learning experience in order to engage your learners. In addition to standard courseware, use video tutorials, online discussion forums, podcasts, case studies, and anything else your research has shown will effectively engage your learners.
Now that you have a better idea of how to start creating content that will allow your learners to hit the ground running, how can you ensure your users maximise their learning experience. Try our last tip: Create a useful taxonomy.
5. Provide a User-Friendly Interface
Ensure your users can easily navigate through the application using the dashboard, various menu bars and quick links which show priority items, expired/expiring, and incomplete items.
Additional useful features that will help your users find what they are looking for are search capabilities that allow users to type in what they need, and various filters that allow them to search for:
- Specific Accounts, filtered by learner, email, role, group, status
- Learning Items/Evaluation Items, filtered by item code, item name, item type
- Seminars, filtered by seminar name, delivery language, start date, facility, self enrollment, city
- Assignments, filtered by learner, group name, learning path, order number
This article has provided you with some tips and tricks to help ensure that, after all that work, your chosen LMS succeeds in engaging and motivating your users and administrators to use it. Which is really the true measure of success in a training program!
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Jill is an Instructional Designer at BaseCorp Learning Systems with more than 10 years of experience researching, writing and designing effective learning materials. She is fascinated by the English language and enjoys the challenge of adapting her work for different audiences. After work, Jill continues to leverage her professional experience as she works toward the development of a training program for her cats. So far, success has not been apparent.