It’s true, we’re always looking for the next best thing in training. But that doesn’t always mean ‘better.’ SharePoint has been around for a very long time and for good reason – earning many accolades in the training space. In fact, we’re going to go out on a limb and declare a SharePoint Learning Management System the dark horse that will change the way we train. This blog will discuss the Next Gen LMS ‘buzz words’ in the industry and the answer from a SharePoint LMS point of view.
Many professionals in the eLearning industry are familiar with Craig Weiss’s blog, eLearning 24/7. Each week he discusses the latest and greatest in the industry, including a forecast of what the future holds for learning management systems - from micro learning to mobile, gamification and social.
Nobody wants to be left behind so they invest aimlessly on the promise of newer and better training platforms. But those that think strategically will find ways to utilize the tools they have more efficiently. SharePoint is the perfect example.
While other systems quickly go out of date, SharePoint is in it for the long haul. SharePoint is essentially a set of web parts that can easily be customized to suit your needs. Scalability and adaptability are crucial features for an LMS.
With Office365, there is also a version for everyone – from big corporations to small business. Many have already said that SharePoint Server 2016 is the most reliable, scalable, secure, and highest-performing SharePoint Server release ever.
Another unique proposition of a SharePoint LMS is that it ties in all of your business platforms into one cohesive system – training, CRM, HRIS, IT, document management. This is a major problem for other LMSs because they don’t ‘talk’ with other critical business systems. How will you know if your training methods are resulting in positive sales or the onboarding process is working?
Business agility is a major topic of late and the faster a company can make changes, whether in training or other business processes, the more competitive they’ll be. SharePoint allows businesses to be one step ahead of the game at all times because of features such as document management, HR portals and social to name a few.
Workers also value a SharePoint Learning Management System for its simple, familiar user experience. Most employees know Microsoft products, so a SharePoint Learning Management System removes the stress of learning yet another new system and simplifies how people interact with content, processes and business data.
Craig Weiss of eLearning 24/7, also an LMS expert, says these standard Next Gen features are the ‘must-haves’ when choosing an LMS. Let’s see how a SharePoint Learning Management System stacks up!
Modern User Interface
One thing is for certain, you can have the greatest system in the world, but if the learner can’t navigate around easily, then it is worthless. A SharePoint LMS has an advantage right off the back because it’s based off of Microsoft Office products. One less system to learn is a big plus for your employees.
Having a home learner dashboard is also a must. Once logged into, using the same user name and password as their work computer, they will immediately see their home learning page where they can see their assigned courses, upcoming events individual learning paths, calendars and much more.
The home page should also have personalization such as being multi-lingual. Each learner can choose what language they’d like to use the system in.
With today’s busy schedules and the rise of remote workers and extended enterprise, it’s a no-brainer to have mobile functionality. If you’re using SharePoint 2013, 2016 or Office 365, you can access all your files via mobile. What’s better is that a SharePoint LMS, like ShareKnowledge, has an app (MyLearning365) that allows simple training to be conducted such as course management and view/take courses.
Gamification is a feature that is nice to have and engaging for learners. Things like a leaderboard, points and badges all provide benefits. SharePoint provides a very basic gamification feature in its social community area. The more a user contributes to a community site for instance, the more they earn badges that identifies them as an expert or moderator.
Social communities are a major component of NexGen learning platforms. A SharePoint LMS inherits all the social elements of SharePoint automatically – MySites, Community Sites, Team Sites, Wikis, Blogs, Forums and more. What’s better, you can even link social features with a course within the LMS.
In the next two years there will be more NextGen features to look out for and a SharePoint Learning Management System is already meeting expectations! Let’s take a look at some of these features.
With SharePoint’s superb content management, it’s a natural fit that content curation would be the obvious next step. Already, SharePoint is set up so that multiple people can work off of the same document.
With content curation, it isn’t about getting links and pointing to stuff. Rather, it’s about the ability to build content blocks. For example, maybe a manager shoots some video about how to drive a forklift. Then another employee says ‘hey, I can show you a safer way to do it,’ and uploads their video. Then Joe says ‘hey, I have developed some best practices on a pdf,’ and they upload it to the same area as the first two.
With a SharePoint Learning Management System, this concept is made much easier because you house both your content and training under one umbrella, i.e. SharePoint. It’s also easily controlled by setting permission levels and utilizing auditing features to see how a document has changed.
The ability to share content (docs, PDF, audio, video) with any other learner will be another big feature. But, did you know that SharePoint already utilizes this with its My Site?
Your My Site in SharePoint provides:
Coaching/Ask an Expert
Again, this is a great feature to have in an LMS in the future. A SharePoint LMS is lucky that SharePoint already has this ability currently by accessing community sites.
Millennials especially want that one-on-one interaction with managers and peers. If they’re in the process of taking a leadership course in the LMS, they can immediately visit a community site to ask an expert on their thoughts on a particular subject. A variety of experts on the subject can chime in. Of course, the more someone participates in community sites, they will earn badges that identify them as experts.
Administrator Modern UI
Usually we’re obsessed about the UI for learners in a modern LMS. But, trainers and administrators ease of use is just as important. Things like an admin dashboard and add-ons are very useful.
ShareKnowledge makes it easy for any role within the company with a role-based interface. The system includes the following roles: Learner, Instructor, Observer, and Administrator.
There are a unique combination of tabs for each role. Functions have been provided within the learner role to manage their learning plan. For the instructor - the ability to manage learning activities and analyze results. Or the Administrator - managing the organizational structural model, user roles.