Home » Instructional Design » Is your LMS Alone in the Wilderness?

By Chuck Gamble

Learning & Development Manager

Imagine for a moment that you’ve constructed the most incredible library in the world — massive , classical columns with hundreds of thousands of volumes reaching the ceilings, rising above cozy nooks and expansive wooden desks.

It contains terrific books, beautiful art, periodicals, local news archives, and every imaginable tool that a visitor could possibly use to learn more about their chosen interests. You’ve taken great pride in gathering everything, and you’re ready to watch your friends and neighbors enjoy the fruits of your labor.

One problem.

You’ve built your library in the middle of a dense forest — a total wilderness — and didn’t bother to cut a clear path, much less build a road. No one knows how to find it — let alone how to access its contents. That’s absurd, you think. Why would I invest so many resources in building such a magnificent library without ensuring everyone can walk right up and start perusing the stacks inside?

(The above rendering of our Wilderness Library, thanks to Mojo AI!)

Of course, you wouldn’t do that — but what about the learning contents you have in your learning management system (LMS)? Just how accessible are those to your employees, and do they even know about the incredible resources you’ve compiled for them?

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One of the common issues in learning & development is, that for all the work we create, we often don’t do an excellent job of informing our colleagues what is available to them or how to best access it. Worse even, we only assign them what we think they should know.

Fellow learning managers, I’d like to propose an exercise for you: Ask everyone in your company if they know all that’s available in your LMS, and whether they can access it without you assigning them materials to view or courses to complete.

While it’s critical to create outstanding learning materials, it’s just as important, if not more so, to make it easy for your learners to find and view them on their own. Leaders talk about wanting proactive employees who take ownership of their careers, so why don’t we make it easier for those determined folks to do that?

In my experience, it seems the only time learning managers inform employees about standard operation procedures (SOP) or certain training materials is for one of two reasons: the first is for new hires or internal promotions requiring specific skills or knowledge.

The second reason is SO frustrating to me: when an employee severely screwed up — likely because they didn’t know how to access the procedure. So, someone instructed the learning manager to send a companywide email and inform everyone where to find the related SOP or training video.

That’s not being proactive; it’s reactive.

Proactive learning managers don’t wait for mistakes before telling employees where to find solutions. Instead, proactive learning managers promote their library of training materials and encourage their employees to take in all they can. Not only does it benefit the high performers who choose to expand their knowledge beyond the basic requirements, but it helps the business and promotes a culture of continual growth.

In our current climate, those things matter in attracting talented folks to your team, as well as those whose potential is waiting to be unlocked.

Even the most magnificent library in creation, filled with every available text and the newest technologies is useless when it is sitting alone in the wilderness.

Is your LMS alone in the wilderness, or have you given every employee clear directions and made it simple to pop in and take a look around?

Chuck Gamble is a a learning and development manager at Safe-Guard Products International, and he has more than 20 years of experience in the instructional design and training world. You can follow him on Linkedin here, where he shares L&D insights and other slightly less serious observations.

Would you like to share your expert perspective on instructional design, technical writing or corporate communications? Contact us here!

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