In the last entry we took a look at naming conventions for learning management systems (LMS) and how your LMS might look after sorting your training library into four categories: job function, delivery mechanism, technical requirements, and required vs. elective training. This time, I would like to start with a similar idea, but perform the separation or categorization approach according to some of the distinctions that relate to job functions.
What type of work does a particular class address? What kind of workers? Some different categories of training that you might note here are sales training, product technical training, internal computer system training, or training in the safe handling of factory equipment. Each of these categories is going to combine a number of different types of materials and different instructional requirements which will help you define what you need from any prospective LMS.
Start with sales training: While this catch-all phrase seems so clear and self-explanatory, it actually covers several different types of training, all of which have different requirements.
A worksheet that lists the various requirements that you need to track for each class you offer will be helpful. On this worksheet, list all the things that “just happen” before a class can take place. For example, for Sales Training, you will need to schedule the sales staff to be in one place and out of the field for the requisite time. What reminds you to do this? You should also think about other people who might need to be involved to deliver a consistent message, such as the Vice President of Sales. Does the LMS have some mechanism that will allow you to do this type of scheduling?
For product technical training, when you introduce a new product, you are probably going to need a couple of different classes. One will be for existing sales staff who already know the product line but need to know where this new product will fit. Another will be for newly hired sales staff who will need to build a mental model of the product line from scratch. Can this training be re-sequenced or restructured so one development effort can be targeted at multiple populations? What requirements does the delivery of this training put on the training staff and does the LMS contain those requirements?
Next time we will continue to slice and dice the various training categories.
One final word, I am not suggesting that there is one, ultimate, perfect LMS solution for your needs - one that does everything I have been outlining. The reason for this exercise is to help identify and define your existing training processes before you start talking to LMS vendors so that you have a good picture of what you need to do as opposed to what the various systems will allow you to do.