How would you grade your business’ training in 2015? Have you improved leaps and bounds since the previous year, or is it a case of “could have done better”?

Unless you rate yourself as an A+ genius in staff training, you should be looking at ways to be top of the class in 2016. Luckily, you won’t be short of help, thanks to the proliferation of cloud-based learning management systems (LMS). With these tools stuffed into your company’s digital Trapper Keeper you can transform the way your staff learn, turning them into highly engaged, enlightened, and effective workers.

Learning management systems are booming, with research released this year indicating that the industry will hit $11.34 billion by 2020. Having kept up with the latest LMS trends in 2015 and we’ve learned a few interesting things about its impact on company training. Here are some of the biggest takeaways that are worth ruminating on over the break for the holidays:

Lesson #1 – You need to scale up your in-house training

Despite the range of learning tools available these days, companies are still behind when it comes to offering their staff the right training. A sizeable one third of SMBs fail to offer any kind of in-house training, according to GetData research published this year. And this is not good news, as a further survey revealed that as many as 40 percent of workers who get poor training leave their jobs within the first year.

So if the extent of your in-company training still consists of PowerPoint slides and corny corporate training videos – or worse still, you aren’t offering any form of training – you risk sending employees rushing for the exit.

Lesson #2 – Learning management systems work

But is an LMS really the key to plugging the training gap? Most businesses that have tried this type of software think so. According to a Software Advice study published this year, 94 percent of businesses feel very positive about the impact of LMS on employee engagement. The same research reveals that 90 percent of businesses expected to spend the same or more on LMS during 2015 than they did the previous year, a sign that companies are seeing a return on this investment.

Lesson #3 – Extended enterprise is the next step in corporate training

The idea of the extended enterprise is something we’ve heard a lot about in 2015. When LinkedIn acquired for $1.5 billion back in April it created what Talented Learning calls “the world’s largest (for-profit) extended enterprise learning site”. Extended enterprise goes beyond employee learning to include a wide range of users, such as partners, vendors, and consumers.

By implementing an extended enterprise learning system your business gets more control over what is taught and the quality of the training than if you were to simply dish out training manuals to external companies you work with and have them incorporate them into their own training plans.

Lesson #4 – It’s time to get your staff coding

Why should programming just be for programmers? Many digital businesses these days are beginning to embrace the idea of training their non-tech staff in the dark arts of coding. Online learn-to-code services such as Codecademy and Treehouse are flourishing, and businesses are beginning to embrace them as a means of helping employees get a deeper understanding of the data that’s powering their business, and to improve communication with tech staff.

Lesson #5 – Training works better when you make a game of it

Encouraging employees to participate in company training will always be a colossal challenge. But today’s learning management systems offer smarter ways to engage learners. One of the most effective techniques is ‘gamification’, which takes elements of video games and applies them to business processes.

‘Gamified’ LMS software such as Academy LMS, TalentLMS, and Accord LMS offer features such as badges, points, levels to reward learners when they complete certain course objectives. And it’s effective, too, with research by University of Colorado revealing that students scored 14% higher after taking a gamified course, as opposed to those who took a traditional course.

Take these lessons on board and you’ll have a workforce that is keener to learn, and more highly engaged with your company than they were in 2015.

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