Learning Management Systems A.K.A Automated Training Solutions
I have extensively utilized learning management systems over the years to virtually guarantee retention of complex information, processes, and procedures. While it may sound complicated, it really is not. This is nothing more than a process of gradually feeding your “students” or “learners” information that need to assimilate. It’s like a lesson plan you might prepare for a class you are about to teach except you won’t be there.
Each lesson is uploaded either as a video, audio, slide presentation, document or report. Most systems are flexible enough to accept almost anything you have available. When using an LMS it’s best to break up your videos into very short segments, usually no longer than 3 to 5 minutes but 20 or 30 minutes work well too.
The next step is to create an assessment, a quiz which can be fully customized, to determine if your student has assimilated the information you are presenting.
Then, from the control panel, you monitor the progress of your students knowing who are making the effort to go through the materials and who are not. Great communications tools are common, which are useful to let students know where they stand with the material they are studying.
You can spend tens of thousands for a system or you can find a system that does everything you need for much less.
I identified one particular system that I think does it all. The best part is that it’s free. You can use it free for up to 5 students and perfect your training. In full disclosure, I am an affiliate of this company, meaning I receive a small reward for recommending you. The real reason I am an affiliate is to have influence on the direction of future development for my clients. I have found that this company is open to my suggestions but without having much “influence” I can only go so far.
There are several other Learning Management Systems available, and I will review several of those below.
One of the most impressive LMS’s I’ve seen is SilkRoad. This is a true “corporate” application, which is designed for clients who want a comprehensive workforce lifecycle environment that encompasses: Employee orientation and management, recruiting, onboarding, performance analysis, and talent development and learning for internal staff. All of these functions can be accomplished with other LMS systems, but by having specialty applications, specific templates are already in place and easily deployable as you track your workforce throughout their company life. It’s integrated pre-formatted learning system structures are there so you don’t have to invent your own. This translates into rapid deployment with a library of pre-formatted modules you can customize for your own use. SilkRoad’s power does come with a price however, it’s more expensive that everything I’ve already mentioned but for many clients the additional features make it very worthwhile. Check them out at: www.SilkRoad.com
Possibly one of the most powerful applications I have ever had the pleasure of working with is LightSpeedVT. Unlike everything else I’ve reviewed, LightSpeed VT is a true virtual training environment. If you could visualize taking your training to the holodeck on the starship Enterprise, this is as close to that type of an experience your workforce would have. In a completely interactive environment, where live video is extensively used, LightSpeedVT offers full television-class studio for you to record your courses live. Not just your courses, but the actual response you would have if you were in a live training environment with students. Imagine watching a trainer on your screen show you a powerful concept, then the training says “OK, now try it yourself” and presents a visual bar chart where you can manipulate the bars or the slices of a pie chart while your trainer is standing there, patiently waiting for you. Your trainer looks like he’s literally waiting for you as he shuffles his feet or checks his cell phone all the while you are filling out the chart. When you are done, the trainer responds to the actual data you entered. All responses are pre-recorded (obviously) but have the effect of appearing as if they are right there with you. Next, the trainer will begin new material based on your answers. The experience is as powerful as any live training experience could be. Personally, I worked with LightSpeedVT when I guided the development of Tony Robbin’s own virtual training system where Tony went to Las Vegas to make these recordings, which were absolutely amazing. LightSpeed has an interesting business model; they charge hefty fees to gain access to their system or you can work with the company on sharing the revenue from your course if you are selling to clients. This is a system that differentiates itself directly from others so dramatically there’s almost no comparison. Check them out at: www.LightSpeedVT.com
This is an interesting suite of features and works well for most corporate training environments. It allows easy creation of quizzes and tests, it makes loading media easy and quick. It has a lot of users and enjoys a large following. The problem with Litmos is that it’s over-priced for what it offers. I recommended TalentLMS above and it does mostly everything that Litmos does for a much lower fee. Litmos has one feature I like that TalentLMS does not: it lets you upload large MP4 video files to their servers. This way, if a student leaves in the middle of a video, Litmos has a resume feature, which is nice. TalentLMS has several other features Litmos does not, but overall my verdict stands. Skip Litmos and try TalentLMS first. Use my link above and get 5 free seats for unlimited lifetime use, Litmos doesn’t offer that and besides it’s too expensive. My advice is to avoid: www.Litmos.com
Probably one of the most popular learning platforms out there, it’s used by many “famous” promoters who offer courses in on this platform. It’s very oriented to marketing your course, so if you are creating courses to market, Kajabi is worth a look. On the upside, you can create a series of videos and worksheets very easily for your course, in a very user-friendly package. The screens are professional and attractive as are most other systems. The format for courses is also like Litmos or TalentLMS but Kajabi lacks one serious feature: it doesn’t yet provide integrated testing and branching, which is a feature most other systems have. If you are not interested in the testing aspect of setting up a course and you want to build a series of sales pages about your course, then Kajabi is a good start. If you are a corporate trainer then Kajabi is not as good a choice as the others mentioned on this page. Check them out at: www.KajabiNext.com