5 Ways A Social Learning Management System Can Improve Communication

5 Ways A Social Learning Management System Can Improve Communication
Summary: Lost email threads, misunderstandings, foolish assumptions - they all add up to one thing: A huge hole in your organization's profits. Luckily, your LMS could be the perfect tool for conquering communication conundrums and boosting your organizational culture.

How To Improve Communication Using A Social Learning Management System

Communication is the lifeblood of any successful organization. Think of how many times simple projects have been delayed due to avoidable communication problems – be they lost emails, misunderstandings or dangerous assumptions. Because of the countless financial losses, it pays to invest in better communication.

If you’re a training manager, you might be wondering what that has to do with you. Surely, these miscommunications are rooted in systemic problems over which you have no control. You might just find it easier to step around these issues, rather than address them.

In fact, as the training manager, nobody is better placed to solve these communication conundrums. In this article, I’ll show you what your Learning and Management department can do to improve communication and create an online community with the sole aim of revolutionizing your organizational culture.

1. Plug Training Gaps

In addressing communication problems, the most obvious thing that training managers can do is provide training. Just like any training needs analysis, examine the big communication issues in the organization. Start with the problems that cost the company the most money, and make sure you can point to any savings when it comes to the next training budget assessment.

Once you know where the issues lie, you might find that they only require simple fixes. You needn’t assume that every learning intervention needs a protracted, months-long eLearning project. A micro learning unit about answering the telephone correctly might take a day to create and 5 minutes to consume, but could pay for itself tenfold. This is the low-hanging fruit that might just put your humble training department on the organizational map.

2. Get The Right Platform

Where do you want the big conversations to happen in your organization? Are you satisfied with exclusive email chains, or would you prefer something a little more 2017? The internet is becoming a space where individuals can join the discussions that matter to them and collaborate with their peers. For all you know, these conversations are already happening on third-party chat groups. Wouldn’t it be better if you could see what your people are talking about?

Today’s NextGen learning platforms might just answer your prayers. These new LMSs are chock-full of tools and features that are just perfect for encouraging collaboration. Social news feeds give everyone visibility over what’s happening in their organization. On top of that, gamification features subtly reward users for repeat visits or social activity. When they know they just need another badge to climb the leaderboard, they’ll have another reason to log in and share that big idea.

3. Create A Meaningful Environment

When you finally upgrade to a NextGen LMS, it’s up to you to create the best environment for your learners. Sure, you could make a wild guess about what that environment should look like, but that’s hardly in the spirit of communication! A social Learning Management System lets you get to know your people and find out what really makes them tick.

When you know what will inspire your people, you can customize your LMS to make it relevant and meaningful. This also lets you communicate on a subtler level. Incorporate your organization’s vision, values and brand in every element of the platform and reinforce its core messages. You may need to experiment to strike the right balance between what your people want and what matters to the broader organization, but once you find it, you can turn a simple learning platform into an engine for organizational transformation.

4. Generate A Sense Of Ownership

The best social platform in the world won’t help you if your people don’t want to use it. And why should they? Many learning platforms are created as top-down training dispensers. There’s seldom an opportunity for your people to contribute and collaborate. It’s no surprise, then, when these online dictatorships don’t get the desired traffic.

Today’s digital natives are used to having their say and making their opinions heard. If you want your LMS to become the central hub for communication in your organization, you need a more democratic solution that meets their expectations. Invite your learners to submit their own training material, or simply comment on the existing assets. Once they see that they can make a difference, they might just take over your learning platform and turn it into a hive of ideas.

5. Give Experts A Voice

If you had a burning question related to your business, who would you ask? Do you know who the real experts are in your organization? Chances are you don’t have a means of identifying these experts. Meanwhile, they hold on to their valuable knowledge, foolishly assuming that nobody is interested.

Here, a social Learning Management System is just what you need to uncover these hidden heroes. With the right tech, it’s surprisingly easy to achieve. All you need to do is create discussion groups for all the major topics in your organization and invite your people to join the ones that matter to them. Over time, the top contributors will show themselves, leaving you to assign 'expert' status to them. You can then add them to an 'Experts' area, letting everyone else find the right person to answer their questions.

Final Words

With the wealth of technology available to training managers, their role is evolving into something else. Instead of delivering training materials and ticking compliance boxes, they are becoming learning facilitators, creating fertile online learning environments. Even calling these platforms 'Learning Management Systems' doesn’t do them justice. They have turned into online hubs, buzzing with learner activity. With a powerful tool like this in your arsenal, your communication problems might just become a thing of the past.

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