Think Outside the Box: 6 Creative Uses for Your LMS
Did you know that over 90% of organisations now use at least one learning management system?
However, many of us just aren’t getting the maximum benefit from our systems. It’s easy to fall into the trap of using the LMS purely as a way to deliver e-learning courses, and neglect to explore the range of features and functionality available to us. But getting to know your LMS can unlock so much hidden potential and allow you to come up with some really creative solutions to inspire your learners.
If you’re stuck in a rut with your LMS, then read on for our five top tips for getting creative with your LMS…
1. Draw from your ‘real-life’ interests
LMS inspiration can come from all sorts of places. Think about ideas that have captivated or inspired you in the ‘real world’.
For instance, let’s take Harry Potter. You may have read the books (or just watched the films - no judgement here) and thought that the Hogwarts house system seems like a really good idea. Sorting people by their values and interests ensures that they receive a learning experience tailored to their needs.
You can then think about how to apply this system to your LMS. For example, you can use audiences to split learners into different groups. You could even take it a step further and gamify the learning experience by awarding points to each group based on learning activity within the LMS. 10 points to Gryffindor!
2. Play with plugins and extensions
A major advantage of choosing an open source LMS is that you have access to an array of existing plugins and extensions. Instead of spending hours and hours developing your own solutions, why not take a look at the LMS’ extensions library to see what’s already out there?
Taking this approach also means that you can try new solutions out without having to fully commit, meaning you can see what works and what doesn’t. Plugins can simply be removed with minimal consequences, so you can experiment with gamification, video software, learning analytics, mobile access and much more. And if the solution to your ‘unique’ problem already exists, it could save you a lot of time and money!
3. Borrow inspiration from others
There are already so many great learning management systems out there, so why not see how other people are solving the same challenges as you?
Reading LMS case studies, joining webinars and staying in touch with your industry peers can be a great way to stay on top of the latest innovations. And don’t just stick to your own sector - who’s to say that the solution to your learning challenges doesn’t lie in a totally different organisation? For example, in the Totara Community, you’ll find government organisations sharing tips and tricks with healthcare professionals, and everyone is happy to share their expertise.
4. Run a training session
One really effective way to improve your own knowledge of a topic is to teach others about it. It forces you to think differently about your LMS, and may encourage you to explore areas you may not know much about just yet.
And this doesn’t need to be a formal training session! You could invite your team to a meeting where you demonstrate your favourite parts of the system, and allow everyone to ask questions. This could also be a knowledge-sharing session, where everybody brings their own nuggets of wisdom and shares them with everyone else.
Talking everyone through the LMS will help you clarify your own understanding of the system, and other people’s questions will often prompt you to master new features and functionality to find the right answer. Once the session is over, you can write up your notes, including any new discoveries, and share them with the group to see if your discussion prompts any further thoughts or ideas.
5. Tweak LMS permissions
Familiarise yourself with the roles available in your LMS, and take a look at how you can change permissions to facilitate more collaborative content creation.
For instance, if you spot that only LMS admins have the power to create quizzes, experiment with allowing learners to create their own quizzes for others. One simple role override can kick-start engagement with the LMS, as user-generated content is created and accessed across the site. You could also try something similar with uploading resources, creating videos or adding to a collaborative wiki to increase involvement in the entire learning experience.
6. Get your hands dirty
There’s no better way to learn more about your LMS than to actually use it, so don’t be afraid to get stuck in and try things out. There’s no self-destruct button in your LMS, and almost everything can be undone. Have a click around in your settings, and see what you can find - many LMS success stories started life as happy accidents!
Senior Partner Marketing Manager, Totara