In the 1990s the breakthrough in distance learning was “eLearning” delivered through a Learning Management System (LMS) to a desktop PC. The LMS was responsible for handling all aspects of managing and tracking the eLearning and assessing individual learners’ performance.
In recent years this traditional LMS model has come under increasing pressure from new products and the outlook for the traditional LMS is looking increasingly uncertain. This article seeks to explore how the once all pervasive LMS is falling out of favour, and how next generation microlearning platforms are replacing them.
The Problem With The Traditional LMS
The traditional LMS model flourished at a time when the office PC was the dominant digital furniture. Employees were required to sit for long periods of time to consume large quantities of information, and then take a lengthy assessment on content they may or may not recall later.
For busy professionals, being asked to set aside a significant block of time to “sit and do my training” made learning both a challenge and a chore. This feeling was mirrored by the learning departments themselves who were unwilling to use the LMS unless they had to. It was simply seen as too large, too inflexible, and too complicated to use.
Nonetheless, LMS vendors managed to convince organisations they needed these hugely expensive monolithic structures, and some companies still cling to this model today.
A Learning Revolution
The last five years has witnessed enormous shifts in the theory and behaviour of online learning. The rigid top-down approach to learning, exemplified by the traditional LMS, has undergone a complete revolution.
With global internet consumption via mobile continuing to rise, by 2014 it finally surpassed that of desktop for the first time. This represented a fundamental shift in the way we engage with the online world. This is supported by a major report published by Ambient Insight in 2016 that noted, “customers are swapping out their LMS platforms at an accelerating rate” and “44% of companies are looking to replace their solution within the next two years”.
What is clear is that the traditional LMS with force-fed, click-next eLearning is in terminal decline and the idea of having to “go somewhere to learn” is looking more and more outdated. If I have a mobile device, why can’t the learning “come to me”?
Next Generation Microlearning
The ubiquity of mobile devices has created a demand for all kinds of digital information, including learning experiences, to be accessible “on the go”.
It is within this learner-driven environment that the traditional LMS has been outperformed by next generation microlearning platforms. Microlearning recognises that what is important today is to deliver the right learning, at the right time, to wherever employees happen to be - and to do so in short, focussed bursts. As an example, let’s say your employees have left the workplace and have some downtime. Instead of switching on their laptops, they’re far more likely to reach for their mobile devices and check their notifications. Should some new learning have arrived, if it is quick, easy and engaging they will complete it.
This is where microlearning upends traditional eLearning in such a big way. Rather than making a learner work through reams of onscreen text, or read weighty pdf documents, microlearning ensures employees only receive the content that is most important to them, when they need it, in manageable, bitesize nuggets. This makes it possible to create learning programmes that are so compelling, employees will complete them both inside, and outside the workplace.
In summary microlearning is a game changer. Why? Because it recognises that attention spans are short and that compact nuggets of learning are far more effective in developing and retaining knowledge. Coupled with quickfire knowledge retrieval quizzes and gamification themes such as badges and competitive leaderboards, microlearning garners much higher rates of engagement and content completion rates than traditional eLearning.
ConnectSP – Our Microlearning Platform
ConnectSP is PHM’s new next generation microlearning and communications platform, compatible with both iOS and Android mobile devices. ConnectSP recognises that learning is now mobile, microlearning based, gamified, social, and takes place on the job. ConnectSP is designed to deliver continuously adapting content on a daily basis to make learning more engaging and impactful. By combining both microlearning and communications within the same platform, ConnectSP also acts as an on-demand sales support tool – a unique feature.
ConnectSP encourages organisations to not only limit themselves to creating their own learning & communications, but to also curate and leverage existing materials by embedding content from sources such as YouTube, subject matter websites and company-wide publications and videos.
Learners are provided with a mixed content feed made up of choice articles, videos, quizzes, announcements and learning nuggets. Points are awarded each time a feed item is completed and a Leaderboard keeps track of the points ranking for individual learners. In addition, ConnectSP supports the threading of multiple related feed items to create a “Course”. For specific hot topics, the feed items can also be grouped and delivered as a “Competition” with learners vying for a prize. To evaluate the learning, or indeed any aspect of the business, “surveys” can be issued to harvest instant feedback directly from the learners.
ConnectSP comes with a suite of inbuilt management reports and analytics and is integrated into PHM’s wider shared content platform, MobileSP.
For more information email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 02076136700 and ask to speak to Nigel Richards who will be happy to arrange a demo.