• Rise of the LMS

    by  • June 14, 2015 • Learning Technologies • 0 Comments

    Your LMS is likely to be an ugly duckling. Here are some tips to nurture it to the magnificent swan it ought to be.

    Your LMS is likely to be an ugly duckling. Here are some tips to nurture it to the magnificent swan it ought to be.


    The Learning Management System is quite possibly the most underestimated HR system in pretty much every organisaiton. Yes, this is a broad-brush statement that may offend some of you, but the vast majority of you, kind readers, don’t see the importance of your LMS in comparison to, say, your comp and ben database. Or your HRIS.

    I understand why you would think that, but I’m here to make a bold statement – you’re wrong.

    Many of you would say “but people care more about their money than their learning”, and I complete see your point.

    But while you make sure people get paid, your LMS is gathering virtual dust which is probably costing you a bundle. All the while, it could save you money and just as importantly, provide you the strategic insight you need.

    First step: an LMS is NOT a library

    The first thing you need to acknowledge it that your LMS is not a library, a self-service centre or a glorified spreadsheet that tracks learning. Those days are gone.

    An LMS could (and should!) be the powerhouse of your people planning; the epicentre of you capability reporting; the mine from which critical #BigData is quarried and the source of your strategic workforce development.

    If you are serious about strategic workforce planning, if you are game for creating a truly strategic people function in your organisation, stop treating your LMS like the ugly cousin of people systems. It can help you understand the capability you have in your organisation and match it to the capability you need.

    And here’s how:

    Create competency matrices

    Populate your LMS with your behavioural matrix as well as hard skill, binary competencies. You will be able to create a very strong visual of what skills are where, what the gaps are, where critical failures can occur.

    Gamify skill/competency achievement

    You can start with the badge thing (“Tin Can API light”, where your employees collect badges for achieving capabilities) all the way through to the creation of multiplayer-online-role-playing-game-style levelling. It will make things a lot more fun.


    Map all that to job profiles and roles

    Create a transparent network of what skills contribute to which job in the organisation. The reporting from here will give you the clearest succession planning tree you could ask for. It will also serve you a much better talent matrix than our traditional 3 x 3.

    Give people autonomy to manage their own learning

    Let people manage their own completion and achievement. Let them log in what they do in their spare time. Let them have as much access as you can to as much content as you would have.

    Reward people for being “overskilled”

    Especially if they progress their skills through internal means, meaning, if they use the LMS and the competencies and badges you have on offer there.

    And always…


    LMSs can do a lot more for you if you relinquish some of the control to the end users and the system itself. Map your processes, see what your LMS can do for you and see how your LMS can reduce your workload by a factor of ten.


    Don’t keep reporting, analysis and audit powers to yourself. Empower other people and functions to see data that will be critical to them, allow them to create and manage their processes through the LMS.

    Overlay people data

    Take your bums on seats numbers and overlay them with organisational demographics, such as structure, or levels of pay, or department.

    Take your completion rates or completion scores and overlay them with demographics, or talent scores, or managers.


    I know some of these are more easily said than done. I’d love to hear what you think about it. Will it work in your organisation? If not, why?

    As always, ping@ me an email or @ping me on Twitter


    Photo credit to anitab0000 via sxc.hu.

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