Your LMS is NOT a Learning Strategy

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A learning management system (LMS) is a great tool for compliance and workforce learning.

But it’s just that. It’s a tool. It’s not a silver bullet, it won’t address every learning challenge your organization faces.

Use it well, and you’ll get lots of benefits. We’ll review some of those for you below.

But don’t think that getting an LMS is the same as having a learning strategy. Because your organization needs to develop, implement, and maintain a learning organization–and an LMS can be a tool that helps your organization act our your learning strategy.

Continue reading to learn more about LMSs and their role in your organizational learning strategy.

An LMS is a Great Tool to Assist Workforce Learning–It’s NOT a Learning Strategy

As we mentioned, a learning management system (LMS) is a great took to help with workforce learning.

There are many different learning management systems out there, and no two are exactly alike. For example, an “academic LMS” is better suited for use at an educational organization, such as a high school or college. And on the flip-side, a “corporate LMS” is better suited for learning and development in a corporate setting.

Even within that corporate LMS category, there’s still a wide diversity of features that each LMS will support. Some corporate LMSs try to be all things for all people, leading to an LMS with many, many features that may (or may not) be applicable to all users. On the other hand, some LMSs are designed for more specific organization and/or training needs (compliance, manufacturing, safety, social learning, etc.).

Still, within the category of a corporate LMS, you can generally expect features that will support:

  • Creating a hierarchy of employees at your organization (for purposes of assigning & reporting on training)
  • Importing training materials (PPT, videos, documents, eLearning courses, etc)
  • Creating training materials (online quizzes, online checklists, online surveys, and in some cases–especially with an LCMS–elearning courses)
  • Assigning training to workers (includes training of all types, including not only online training but also field-based training, instructor-led training, and training that occurs offsite)
  • Tracking training completion
  • Tracking expiration and renewal of training completion (especially in an LMS designed for compliance training needs)
  • Reporting on training
  • Updating training and version control of training

For more insight into the LMS as a product type, feel free to watch the short overview video below of the Convergence manufacturing LMS.

To learn even more about learning management systems, check out our What Is an LMS? article.


So What Is a Learning Strategy?

A learning strategy is the strategy that your organization creates and implements to use learning and development efforts, including training, informal learning, performance support, performance reviews, and more, to help your organization reach its organizational goals.

So to have a learning strategy, you first need to know what your organization’s goals are. If you don’t know that, you’re operating in the dark.

Next, you need to attempt to align your learning efforts with your organization’s goals. Considered from the most big-picture perspective possible, that’s a learning strategy.

Looking at it in a more granular fashion, your organization’s learning strategy includes all the following plus more:

  • Identifying your organization’s business goals
  • Determining the skills employees must have if your organization will achieve those goals
  • Investigating employees’ learning needs and preferences
  • Determining the best ways to help employees develop the skills necessary to help the business achieve its business goals
  • Creating a way to measure and evaluate learning effectiveness
  • Develop a cycle of continuous improvement for your learning and development efforts

Stay tuned for more details on learning strategies in future articles.


Does an LMS Play a Role Within a Learning Strategy?

Sure. And you should use an LMS within your learning strategy.

Just don’t think that buying an LMS means you don’t need a learning strategy, or that the LMS IS your learning strategy, or that it will create your learning strategy for you.

Conclusion: An LMS Can Help You Implement Your Organization’s Learning Strategy

Let us know if you’ve got more questions about learning strategies and please do share your stories about how you’ve used an LMS to further your own learning strategy below as well.

And hey, why not download our free LMS Buyer’s Guide, below?

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Learning Management System (LMS) Buyer’s Guide

Learn what you need to know BEFORE you begin your search and get a free checklist to guide you, too.

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Jeffrey Dalto

Jeffrey Dalto

Jeffrey Dalto is an Instructional Designer and the Senior Learning & Development Specialist at Convergence Training. He's worked in training/learning & development for 25 years, in safety and safety training for more than 10, is an OSHA Authorized Outreach Trainer for General Industry OSHA 10 and 30, has completed a General Industry Safety and Health Specialist Certificate from the University of Washington/Pacific Northwest OSHA Education Center and an Instructional Design certification from the Association of Talent Development (ATD), and is a member of the committee creating the upcoming ANSI/ASSP Z490.2 national standard on online environmental, health, and safety training. Jeff frequently writes for magazines related to safety, safety training, and training and frequently speaks at conferences on the same issues, including the Washington Governor's Safety and Health Conference, the Oregon Governor's Occupational Safety and Health Conference, the Wisconsin Safety Conference, the MSHA Training Resources Applied to Mining (TRAM) Conference, and others.

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