The 90s gave us more than Spice Girls, scrunchies and acid-washed jeans…it also dawned the Information Age, which became a little more than a trend. The Information Age, or the Digital Age, began with the widespread use of the internet, leading to a new way of learning and consuming information. Adapting to new technology, schools and businesses began using Learning Management Systems as training tools.
What is LMS and what function does it serve?
A learning management system (LMS) is most commonly used as software to deploy and track online training initiatives. Originally consisting of stale PowerPoint presentations or dry lecture recordings, LMS platforms have come a long way…well, at least most of them. Some schools and businesses are still using out-of-date systems and this needs to change. Unlike scrunchies, boring teaching methods are not making a comeback.
The main objective of an LMS, aside from training your employees to be superstars, is to keep the LMS user interested, entertained, and retaining the information presented. Using decade-old methods seems silly (not as silly as UFO pants, but silly nonetheless). In addition to embracing new LMS technology and platforms, there are many ways you can spice up LMS user experiences.
Ways to increase LMS user engagement
Using employee or customer scenarios is one great way to liven up a lesson. A storyline approach can make a lesson more relatable and easier to understand. Instead of giving dry step-by-step instructions, provide an experience and allow your LMS user to put themselves into any situation.
For example, instead of directly saying, “The first step of adding a client your database is…” liven up the scenario with a story. Such as, “After Jan’s first day of cold calls, she has 25 new clients to add to her database. First, Jan opens her browser and types the CRM domain into her search bar.” With a storyline approach, your LMS users aren’t falling asleep, they are imagining themselves in each scenario and walking through it as if it’s the real deal.
Another way to keep your LMS users engaged is by segmenting your lessons. Segmented learning is exactly what you’d think– breaking larger lessons into smaller, more digestible lessons. A student or employee is much more likely to replay a five-minute video they did not understand than sitting through a full 20-minute video for a second time, desperately searching for that one segment they missed.
Realistically, nobody wants to watch a 20-minute training or educational video the first time! Humans have short attention spans, and if we want to maintain interest, we need to cater to that. Successful Social Media videos are anywhere from 15 seconds to 3 minutes, after which time the viewer loses interest.
Training videos are no exception. Keep them short, sweet and to the point. Develop an exciting series instead of one drawn-out boring video. This also allows an LMS user to skip parts they already know, replay parts they did not understand and fully take control of their learning at their own pace.
Engaging LMS content benefits students AND instructors
LMS technology also allows teachers and employers to periodically roll out and test new content. Different LMS users can be given different user experiences to see which lesson is better received and provides the best results. Maybe you’ll find that the information is retained when an interactive quiz is added after each section.
PRO TIP: Sporadic interactive quizzes also prevent students and employees from hitting play and muting their computers while they catch up the latest Netflix series instead of learning. By using LMS technology to perform a sort of A/B test, you can see which experience works best for which lessons and even optimize that experience on a student-by-student basis.
Don’t forget about animation! No matter how old we get, cartoons will always be the coolest way to learn. Animated explainer videos are not only more captivating, but they also make it easier to convey difficult concepts.
An animated LMS experience can provide a clear visual in complex lessons that live action cannot, and the video can be edited without having to reshoot, making it easy to adapt with changing times. Additionally, as a business, animation brings your trainings to life by humanizing your brand, beliefs, culture and ideas.
LMS technology continues to grow and businesses and schools should continue to embrace that growth. Finding the ideal LMS platform is your first step. Take advantage of free trials and pay close attention to platform features and varying capacities. Get the most out of your learning management system, and get ready for your students and employees to be the smartest, coolest kids on the block.