Learning Portals: When an LMS Just Isn’t Enough

Posted by: Tanveer Makhani
URL: http://www.kineo.com/blog/totara/learning-portals-when-an-lms-just-isnt-enough

Bigger, better, faster, more.  It’s the progression mantra for every technology.  Need a new phone?  You’ll get a bigger screen and a faster processor.  Shopping for a new hard drive?  Trade in that 500GB paperweight for a 4TB Cloud.  Want a new TV?  65 inches is the new norm.  And next year it will be 75.

bmi-healthcare-compliance-portal-case-studySo how about your LMS?  It’s a piece of technology.  What does bigger, better, faster, more mean for its progression?  Well, in some cases, it may not mean anything.  If your LMS is working great and satisfies all of your use cases, I wouldn’t touch it.  Let it keep doing what it does well and wait for your business needs to change before seeking an upgrade.

But, if you find your system falling short on basic things like user experience, social collaboration, strong branding, program completion, or training efficacy, it may be time for you to transform your LMS into a Learning Portal.

8 things you can do with a shiny new Learning Portal

A Learning Portal extends your LMS beyond its traditional role of serving up content, tracking results, and reporting on completion.  It adds context so that your learners realize value and relevance.  It promotes ownership of one’s learning journey and highlights the thrill of the pursuit.  It provides community and collaboration to instill a sense of belonging.  And, it incentivizes and rewards both inside the organization and out.

Here are 8 things you can do with a shiny new Learning Portal:

1. Build Community 

A Learning Portal can integrate tools like forums, blogs, and social media tools to facilitate a strong community around the learning.  Users engage in a sense of belonging and, in turn, have a stronger commitment to the brand and to their learning journey.

2. Give Rewards

Learning portals still provide internal reward options (certificates, competency achievement, CEUs, etc.) but can also provide external reward options like open badges and industry-specific recognition.  By providing learning that develops a learner not only for their specific role but for their overall professional career, your offering becomes that much more valuable to your audience.

3. Empower Users

A good learning portal will encourage learners to be self-directed, to seek out the resources relevant to them, and to manage their own learning.  By providing clear paths to success, continued learning support, and individualized progress tracking, your portal can keep learners focused on their goals and in charge of their own destiny.

4. Blend the Learning

Connect a learner’s online learning experience with real life practice and observe the performance boost that follows.  Learning gives folks an opportunity to reflect on their current state and then commit to changing their behavior as part of the learning process.  The right blend of virtual and physical is necessary to facilitate this type of honest transformation.  A learning portal can map these interchanges step by step, bringing learners in and out of the portal on cue.

5. Tailor the Experience

Personalization of a learner’s experience is critical, now more than ever.  A one-size-fits-all training approach is of days past and a Learning Portal is absolutely critical to understanding your audience’s individual capabilities, challenges, and needs.  Getting learners to exactly what they want or need in the simplest way possible is the first step to securing them as a lifelong user.

6. Follow Learners

Multi-device delivery is a critical thing to consider if you haven’t already; if your users are on multiple devices, your learning should be as well.  The right Learning Portal will ensure that learners can start their learning at their desk at work and then keep that learning going on their mobile device during their train ride home.

7. Build Brand Awareness

Your company has a brand and your learners share in its culture.  Respect it!  The learning portal should strongly reflect your brand and, more importantly, help your users better understand the brand’s culture and values.  A branded Learning Portal will help connect you and your users in a meaningful way, allowing for trust-based communication and learning.

8. Promote Discovery

A Learning Portal will offer up numerous types of learning activities (such as documents, videos, forums, e-learning, etc.) but will also let you integrate with real-life events and other learning vehicles out in the marketplace.  By offering multiple ways for learners to get the information they need but then curating their base of knowledge in the portal, you can accommodate different learning preferences and expand your repertoire to beyond your own internal capacity.

Time to upgrade?

How many of these can you successfully accomplish with your LMS now?  If it’s less than half, it might be time to start looking into that upgrade!

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