Apps and Your LMS

A fact of life is that everyone with a smartphone has their face glued to the screen waiting for the next message to arrive.   We are all becoming more adept at keeping one eye on what we’re doing and our ear tuned into the chime that signals another communication.  Pavlov’s dogs?  Whatever you think philosophically about the “slaves to technology” argument, witness the panic that sets in when people misplace their smartphone.

What does this have to do with eLearning and LMS development?  Everything, according some recent research on what makes people happy in the workplace.

A mobile apps publisher based in London and New York has conducted a survey that purportedly demonstrates that workplace users of apps find that they can get their work done faster and more efficiently.  Not a surprising result given the source of the survey.  But very relevant when designing your LMS platform.

According to the survey, task management apps are UK employee’s most popular workplace performance tools followed by travel and professional networking apps like LinkedIn.  The apps, according to the survey, save companies time and money.  Presumably LinkedIn and the travel apps are used to find candidates for employment and travel apps to save money on business travel.

So what would happen if you used your corporate LMS to notify people about a task management app that would save time?  On its simplest level, along with the downloadable app comes an instructional video on how to use it.  It is a way of using the LMS as an internal networking device to improve performance rather than solely as a repository of learning content in well defined courses.  Both have their uses.

Think of your LMS as a mini-search engine resource centre for work efficiency tools as well as necessary skills training. Performance resources overlap with the more structured learning content.   Don’t know where to turn for the tools?  Start by asking your employees where they get their information.  A lot of internal knowledge is apparently being side-stepped.

Other research from the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), a UK-based professional association, found that corporate L&D developers aren’t networking internally to improve their learning and development expertise.  An example would be using the marketing and advertising departments to find out how to generate snappy multi-media content that can be deployed in a learning context. You don’t have to always go to the drawing board.

Also, don’t underestimate links to existing content, like TED talks.   TED is a vast resource of inspirational, out-of-the-box lectures and interviews that are on You Tube.  Let’s say for the sake of extreme argument that  you are trying to get your managers to better handle ADD staff.  There is a wonderful interview with super-entrepreneur Richard Branson who talked about how he coped with Dyslexia and a short attention span and admitted to not knowing the difference between net and gross revenues.

Here is a man running highly successful companies and sending passenger rockets into orbit who dropped out of school when he was fifteen because his mind wandered quickly unless he was interested in something.  Yes there are plenty of lock-step courses to handle difficult employees.  But this brief interview gives viewers a snapshot into the mind of one of the most highly successful business leaders in the world.  Humour and pathos in a 2:08 clip.  Free!

What not start using the social networking capabilities of your LMS to notify your user groups about free resources like the Branson TED video.   It would be simple enough to do on Moodle or Totara:  Send a message to check out the Branson video during the day.  Hardly disruptive.  Unless you are operating a dump truck at a mine, this would have relevance.  And guess what?  TED is also a downloadable app.

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