Choosing to invest in a learning management system is a great way for your company to maintain a productive and motivated workforce engaged in continual learning. It’s an established growth factor and is being recognised as such by more and more industry leaders – a recent report fromFortune Businessfound that the global LMS market is likely to grow at around 20% per year until 2025. It’s even possible that these numbers could increase further with the increased take-up, and proven success, of remote working during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The truth of the matter, though, is that choosing the right LMS for your company can be a difficult decision. Knowing what you need to look for is not always obvious, and being able to distinguish between certain features is a skill that needs to be cultivated. For these reasons, this guide will help you through the Australian eLearning landscape and assist you in deciding which LMS is the best option for your company.
The Australian eLearning Market
When it comes to digital education, Australia is truly ahead of the curve. There are numerous factors that make integrating alearning management system into your Australian organisationa great decision. Chief among factors these are:
- The size of the country – The tyranny of distance is a real thing in Australia, both within the country and in relation to the rest of the world. Given the success that educational programs such as School of the Air, Open Universities Australia and other long-distance correspondence schemes have had in delivering resources to students, Australians are well-suited to receiving training and education in the form of an LMS. This, combined with the cost and logistics associated with in-person educational seminars, make eLearning an appealing option.
- A high level of smartphone penetration – According toDeloitte’s 2019 Mobile Consumer Survey,91% of Australians now own and operate a mobile phone, with the majority of these being smartphones. As we will explore later on, a good LMS should be able to seamlessly deliver eLearning content and resources on a smartphone. By doing so, eLearning suddenly becomes something that can be accessed and engaged with from anywhere, at any time.
- The need for compliance training – Certain industries like health care, law, mining and construction are heavily regulated for myriad reasons and, as such, require compliance training to be undertaken with high frequency. Integrating an LMS with strong security protocols means that you’ll be able to provide corporate compliance training to employees and other business partners, and will have access to easy measuring of the training’s effectiveness through in-built tracking and analysis offered through LMS solutions.
- A beneficial regulatory framework – Many Australian government agencies have recognised that our nation requires a highly skilled and flexible workforce able to operate in agile workplace environments. To do so, bodies such as theAustralian Industry and Skills Committeework to influence policy and ensure that vocational training meets these demands. Often, this requires the utilisation of eLearning resources.
In addition to these positive factors, there are organisations such as theAustralian eLearning Association(AeLA), which organises professional development events for the more than 50,000 Australian eLearning professionals that it lobbies on behalf of. Through its Board, AeLA responds to government initiatives related to eLearning and publishes papers and other materials on the development of new industry technology standards.
Now that we know a bit about the Australian eLearning environment, it’s time to think about what considerations you need to take into account to ensure that you opt for the ideal LMS for your company.
How can you determine the best Australian LMS?
There are a number of questions that you should ask when determining which Australian LMS solution is best suited for your organisation.
Will I have access to local Australian customer support?
Having a clear idea of what level of customer support you can expect to receive is vital. If you opt for an LMS provider that is based outside of Australia, you’ll be running the risk of not being able to receive assistance during traditional business hours, which can greatly reduce the efficiency of your eLearning content if and when an issue arises. If you’re operating out of Sydney but the LMS help centre is based in San Francisco, for example, there will be a 17-hour time zone difference and their customer service personnel might be fast asleep when a problem arises in the Australian afternoon.
Opting for a local Australian LMS vendor is the most straightforward way in which your requests for help can be immediately responded to. In addition, it can be helpful to look for a provider that delivers round-the-clock support, particularly if your employees are likely to access eLearning content outside of normal working hours.
Does the vendor understand the Australian market?
This is another element that is, surprisingly, often overlooked by many companies. Choosing an LMS provider that has operated in the Australian landscape for years and understands its specific regulatory environment is crucial to ensuring that you can deliver accurate and relevant eLearning content to employees and other stakeholders. If you pick an international LMS solution, the support staff might be unacquainted with the local context and unable to answer any questions you might have about compliance training specifics, for example.
How do performance management and reporting function?
Any good LMS solution comes ready with in-built features designed to provide the user and administrator with detailed analysis and reporting. This is because being able to monitor your employees’ progression is instrumental in optimising eLearning content, providing them with the best learning environment possible, and helping toimprove employee retention.
When determining which Australian LMS is best for your company, consider what sort of analysis solutions you’ll likely need access to. Real-time attendance and compliance reports, capability assessments and even search logs are just a few of the measures that can be very handy in gauging the engagement with eLearning content across your company, and as such should be calculated into your decision. In addition, having a centralised database that stores all of this information is crucial for easy access to, and comparison between, important data regarding your workforce.
Is the LMS solution self-hosted or cloud-hosted?
One element that should influence your choice of LMS is whether you want to opt for a self-hosted solution or a cloud-hosted one. A self-hosted LMS generally allows for greater control and privacy, yet the financial and time costs of setting the system up can be considerable. In contrast, a cloud-hosted LMS comes with a team dedicated to providing maintenance, security, and problem solving. However, your data will not be stored internally but instead off-site, meaning that you may not have as much control over it.
Is the platform ready for mobile learning?
Making sure that your content can be effortlessly viewed by anyone, regardless of what device they’re using, is essential for creating successful eLearning content. Though the benefits of having an LMS provider that offers cross-browser compatibility might be obvious – improved reach, better performance, and so on – it is often overlooked in the decision-making process due to issues like time constraints.
To ensure that your eLearning content is accessible across desktops, tablets, smartphones and more, it’s essential that your chosen LMS solution utilise HTML5. This web programming language can be displayed and interacted with across almost all browsers and mobile devices, and is easily viewable on a variety of screen sizes. Of course, there are other standards of accessibility that need to be given attention, including the Disabilities Discrimination Act 1992 and the Web Accessibility Content Guidelines 2.0. More information about these standards can be foundin this articleabout improving LMS accessibility for your workforce.
Common LMS use cases
In Australia, while industries such as mining, finance and healthcare might require LMS solutions for compliance training purposes, other industries may utilise them for client training, product knowledge training, or even for the onboarding process. Opting for an Australian LMS that can cater to each of these demands is necessary, then, if you want to manage and optimise the learning path of your company’s employees throughoutall stages of the employee lifecycleand improve the employee experience.
The employee experience
There are a number of schools of thought when it comes to defining the employee experience. In his illuminating book The Future of Work, the esteemed thinker and futurist Jacob Morgan says that employee experience can be considered to be the combination of an organisation’s physical, cultural and technological environments.
Global consulting firm McKinsey takes a slightly different tact, describingthe employee experienceas companies and their talent working together to establish personalised and authentic experiences that tap into a purpose to strengthen individual, team and company performance. Annette Franz, the founder and CEO of CX Journey, a customer experience strategy consulting firm, simply definesthe employee experienceas the sum of an employee’s interactions with his or her employer throughout the duration of their working relationship.
Regardless of which definition you feel is most suitable, optimising the employee experience is undeniably a key growth factor for many companies. In a recent study byIBM’s Smarter Workforce Institute,it was found that organisations that score in the top quartile of employee experience provided three times the ROI, and double the return on sales, that those in the lowest 25% do.
When it comes to improving the employee experience at your company, research makes it clear that digital technology, in particular an LMS solution, should play a key role in your strategic approach. A good LMS system should help to automate the onboarding experience for new staff members, provide automated checklists for managers monitoring these new staff, and provide existing team members with automatic, friendly updates about their learning progress.
By integrating an Australian LMS solution into your company’s workflows, you’ll be better able to cater to its learning and development needs and will boost employee engagement by empowering them to learn. Of course, to help determine which LMS is best for your purposes, you will need to have an understanding of what features will be able to deliver results.
Popular LMS features to look out for
As with any worthwhile investment, knowing what features will deliver benefits to your company – and which are nice but not necessary – can greatly help you select the right LMS for your company and its employees. Here are some of the more popular features that you should keep an eye out for:
Microlearning is something that we tend to encounter on a daily basis and essentially involves learning in smaller steps. If you’ve ever looked up a YouTube video to help you out with baking a cake, for example, then you’ve engaged in microlearning.
Having an LMS solution that allows you to deliver eLearning content in bite-sized chunks is a great way of making sure that your employees are able to learn and gather information effectively and at their own pace without being overwhelmed.
A good LMS provider will be able to offer some kind of spaced repetition, a technique that centres on users reviewing eLearning content at specific, regular intervals. If something needs to be memorised, spaced repetition can prove to be extremely effective since no matter how greatly we engage with learning resources, we naturally tend to forget the finer details as time goes on.
Rapid Authoring Tool
Being able to quickly and easily set up eLearning courses is another great feature that you should look for when considering Australian LMS solutions, particularly if you’re new when it comes to eLearning content creation. Rapid authoring tools are a great method for easily importing videos or existing content so that you can tailor your eLearning content delivery to suit the specific needs of your stakeholders.
While choosing the right type of authoring tool is crucial to successfully creating engaging eLearning content, the truth is that employing any authoring tool will give you a leg-up in the process. Authoring tools give you the freedom to not rely on LMS providers that create their own content, allowing you to keep this element in-house and, ultimately, produce content to go live and usable as soon as possible.
Broadly speaking, an LMS already offers increased interactivity since it enables your employees to engage in eLearning when they’re not even in the actual office. It can be a bit of a lost opportunity, however, if you choose to present these learning resources in a click-and-read manner that simply delivers them information passively.
Opting for a solution that offers a high level of interactivity through the integration of graphics, courses, quizzes and so on is a great way of improving employee engagement, particularly if the eLearning content is intended to help out with decision-making processes.
Gamification and Prizing
Gamification and prizing work by utilising certain principles of games – points, competitions, prizes – to incentivise users to engage with eLearning content. Though it might sound slightly childish at first, they are actually highly sought-after features of Australian LMS providers, and with good reason – a recent survey found that an incredible89% of online learnerssaid that a points system would improve their engagement levels with eLearning resources.
A principle that has been employed across various industries for many applications, blended learning incorporates a range of different activities designed to keep employee motivation at a high level. Backed up byacademic research,this approach allows for a flexible approach to the design and delivery of eLearning content and can help keep employees actively engaged for longer periods. In addition, it allows the user to learn at their own convenience and pace.
An Australian LMS solution that offers responsive design is already setting your company up for success – it’s that simple. Having content that can adapt to different devices and browsers, that can be accessed offline, and that is easy to navigate is essential for you to be confident that employees will access your eLearning content with enthusiasm.
Of course, an LMS with responsive design must be able to guarantee that sensitive information, such as user data, is kept confidential and safely encrypted so that it can’t be accessed by bad actors. Before choosing your LMS provider, make sure to ask if they have had any security breaches in the past and what their approach to data protection is. Secure communication channels and robust data security are essential for ensuring peace of mind not only for you, but for the users of your eLearning content too.
It’s one of Australia’s greatest strengths: A multicultural and vibrant society that thrives on its diversity. However, this also means that offering eLearning content only in English might prevent certain employees and business partners – particularly those from non-English-speaking backgrounds – from being able to access all of the benefits.
Allowing users to be able to select the language that they’re most comfortable operating in is a feature that can go a long way towards maximising the effectiveness of your eLearning resources.
Personalised Learning Experiences
One of the most important features to look out for in an LMS system is the degree to which it allows individual user experiences to be personalised. We all learn at different speeds and in different ways, and so having a platform that can deliver you the freedom to create learning paths specific to your team’s needs is a must.
At Acorn, we’re all about people.
We’ve designed a system that supports organisations to do exactly that - in the simplest way possible. That means no difficult to understand interfaces, no tech jargon, and no boring content.
Instead, we deliver innovative, easy to use solutions that empower people, teams, and organisations to strive to be the best they can be. We help manage your workforce learning and automate HR administrative tasks and processes. We’ll support you every step of the way, through 24/7 customer service support.
Our multi-award-winning Learning Management System is designed to meet all of your organisation’s learning and development needs. Acorn is one of the most popular and fastest-growing Learning Management Systems in Australia, with over 50% of the Australian Federal Government utilising the system, along with many private sector clients. With over one million users already, we’re well positioned to help your company achieve its specific goals.
Finally, you can focus your time and attention on your most valuable asset: your people.