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Not All Digital Learning Solutions Are Equal

Updated: May 21, 2020

As more companies go through digital transformations, is your organisation considering a digital training or learning solution? A Google search for "digital learning software" yields 511,000,000 results, while "learning management system" produces over one billion! Finding the right solution for your needs will require strategy, and this article will provide you with a basic framework to tackle this task.

Google search results for learning management system has 1B+ results

You have been tasked with finding a more effective way to train the employees in your company, or you finally decided to create a digital arm for your training or educational institution. Before you look at available solutions in the market, there are four questions you need to ask:

1. Why do we need a digital learning system?

2. Who will be the users of this system?

3. How will they be using the system?

4. What activities should each user be able to do in the system?

Answering these questions will help you to eliminate and decide between options strategically and efficiently. Let's go through each question to learn about the value of answering them.

Why do we need a digital learning system?

The answer to this question will immediately eliminate certain types of solutions available on the market.

  • If all you need to do is share new knowledge, you might be able to use free communication tools, such as email or your online equivalent of a bulletin board.

  • If you need it for compliance and will be tracking completion, then that will point you to the direction of a "learning management system" (LMS) with basic reports.

  • A "blended" need is usually for academic and training institutions who will use the online platform to complement in-person training. This will lead you towards "school management systems", which are more robust than an LMS.

Who will be the users of this system?

Applying Design Thinking , a user-oriented problem solving method, means keeping the end users as the starting point for a project.

In this case, the end user that comes to mind immediately are your learners or students. This will be followed by the trainers, administration, IT, and on. Knowing who will be using the system will be inform your search, since different solutions have different numbers of roles within their system. Your users will also determine the level of interactivity or custom features that you want, which will eliminate some options as well.

How will they be using this system?

An important part for this portion is to consider how your learners will be accessing the content: laptop or desktop, tablet, or smartphone?

Some solutions are optimised for a particular format, and the experiences may vary between platforms, so be sure to consider this point as well. If you opt for a web-based solution but most of your users prefer using apps on phones, then that will not be an ideal choice. This should also make you consider the privacy and security of data when you are looking at different options.

What activities should each user be able to do in the system?

As you identify who are your users and how they will be accessing the content, you have to imagine what else they should be able to do.

Take the perspective of each user and brainstorm about the expectations that they have for the platform. Your learners may want to use the content as a reference after the training, so they should be able to download or access the material in a timely manner. Administrators may want to check completion, but also be able to send reminders to learners within the system. List out all of these activities, and then rank them from necessary to nice-to-have.

Here are all the elements in one handy framework.

Experience makes the difference, so be sure to make use of the trial versions that most solutions offer. This will provide a better sense of the user interface, and will most likely spark new considerations for you and your team.

Digitising your learning system is an exciting task that will require strategic planning, design thinking, and extensive testing. Use the framework above as a starting point, and you will find the optimal digital learning solution for your needs!

The Leadership Institute can find the right solution for your digital learning needs. Click here to find out more about this service.

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