Your LMS content strategy is the core foundation of your training programs. Top-tier pieces of content and learning objects are what drive engagement, knowledge retention, and positive user experiences so that your audiences never stop learning.
If Spotify, Netflix, or YouTube didn’t refresh their arsenal with updated and fresh content, we probably wouldn’t continue to frequent their sites (let’s not even think about how we would supplement quarantine then).
The relationship between your LMS and your content is sort of like a slingshot and the launch object (weird, but bare with us). You can have a fabulous slingshot, but if you’re trying to shoot long distance with a cotton ball instead of a rock, you’re going to fall short.
Your LMS might be the bee’s knees, but your content is equally important too.
What is e-learning content? 📝
Think of your learning management system as Netflix, Roku, or Hulu (after all, who doesn’t love thinking about these favorites).
All of these platforms operate similarly – they host different TV shows, movies, and broadcasts.
Likewise, an LMS is a home and vehicle for different pieces of content so that you can distribute learning activities to different audiences.
Whether you’re looking to train customers, partners, members, or internal employees, training content is what powers your learning programs. There are several different types of LMS content that contribute to different learning experiences in the world of corporate training, but the LMS is what allows organizations to diversify the types of content they use and how people engage with it.
For example, an LMS allows you to push training videos that lead to a multiple-choice quiz at the end, conduct webinars, play with blended learning or microlearning approaches, or even adopt gamification. All of these are just some of the different ways to meet different training needs with the functionality of an LMS. The content, on the other hand, serves to bring those online training programs to life inside of the learning environment that the LMS maintains for you.
If you’re building content yourself, oftentimes you’ll need an authoring tool that is SCORM and/or AICC compliant that most LMS vendors offer with their product. That usually comes with the ability to build tests, assessments, PowerPoints, and different storyboards. Depending on how sophisticated you’re wanting your instructional design to be, it may require an integration plug-in to get the job done as well.
What are the different types of e-learning content? 💡
We’re glad you asked!
If you think about it this way, there are different types of content that we consume in our free-time. Everything from bite-sized YouTube videos, to two hour-long movies, TV shows, e-books, podcasts, etc. are just some of the ways we are used to exploring content mediums.
In the e-learning industry, this can look like a few different things.
- Off-the-shelf e-learning content
Otherwise known as a content library, different LMS vendors offer this option and there are also 3rd party content providers that provide course content. This means that you are able to select e-learning courses that are relevant to your industry, audiences, and certification needs without going through the hassle of attempting to build them all out in-house. With off-the-shelf e-learning content, you don’t need to be an award-winning instructional designer to make online courses available to your people. Win-win!
This right here, friends, is the YouTube approach. This is where people inside of your organization can contribute videos, audio recordings, etc. in real-time to your learning management system. They contribute to your knowledge bank or content library internally to share best practices, highlight product demonstrations, and contribute their share of knowledge to others in their field. User-generated content makes it easier to literally leave teaching to the experts themselves. A lot of these courses even include the assessments at the end as well. Doesn’t get much better than this, folks.
These are bits of content that you can build sometimes right inside your LMS or inside of authoring tool technologies that connect to your LMS through (not-so) fancy integrations. These make it possible for instructional designers to create courses that contain videos, graphics, and animations. It also allows the creator to structure the courses into a cohesive sequence or story that the storyboard takes the learner to in order to communicate new information. All of these different mediums make for engaging learning experiences so that the audience is able to easily digest and retain the information.
- Training videos
Videos, whether standalone or in a series of related videos, help learners retain new information and meet different learner needs. You can record these yourself to highlight objection handling in a sales pitch, demonstrate how to operate the office coffee maker – the options are endless. You can also embed videos instead of creating them yourself if needed! Videos are particularly helpful for tutorials, software demonstrations, and screen-recordings.
- Webinars and live training
This is a great way to facilitate blended learning, where you take instructor-led training and make it available inside of your LMS in addition to social learning and micro-learning. This is great because you can provide recordings of classroom instruction, whether it was live or virtual, inside of your LMS. This type of training helps cut travel costs related to training and development, and is accessible over and over again.
At the end of any bit of training material, it’s important to assess the knowledge that your audience has taken away, and also provide feedback to your learners! Assessments like short answer, multiple-choice, and full-blown certification tests are ways that we ensure our learners were able to master their training content. This is the content that makes that possible.
Why is high-quality e-learning content so important? 🌟
All of the above-listed forms of content are fantastic ways to facilitate learning and drive knowledge retention, but like anything else, people need different options of high-quality content to keep their learning experience fresh and stimulating.
The reason people have strayed away from movies that live on VHS tapes or air in black and white color is because more modern viewers want an experience that is more high definition. Learners are quite similar, so long are the days where we can deliver our training solely in one medium and expect it to land with all of our learners (this also means maybe we don’t need to deliver training on VHS tapes anymore either).
It’s also worth noting that off-the-shelf e-learning content makes life easier for your learning and development team because they become less solely responsible for delivering content that is beautiful, engaging, and relevant to their learners. An LMS that offers a content library in addition to functionality that lets your learners play with user-generated content creates an atmosphere where you have the best content coming in from every avenue instead of your L&D team spending too much time on content that does not land as well.
Final thoughts 💭
We love to see fantastic content – whether it’s on Netflix, social media, or our LMS – people need to feel engaged with what they are consuming. Learner’s who are paying attention and are interactively participating in content consumption are going to retain more knowledge, pick up new skills more quickly, and seek out more training. End of story.