How Learning Management System Key Features Reduce Cognitive Load

How Learning Management System Key Features Reduce Cognitive Load


Pamela S. Hogle


With all the stressors of today's workplace, eLearning shouldn't be one of them. Logging on to a learning management system and picking up a new skill should be an oasis in a learner's hectic day. An attractive, intuitive platform is the key to making your LMS a pleasant place to visit.

Reduce cognitive load—the amount of brainpower applied—by leveraging learning management system key features that make it easy for learners to find and use training content. This includes LMS tools that allow learners to adjust the appearance of content or offer intuitive automated assistance.

Learner choice eases access

Learners usually have some degree of appearance control while using an LMS. For instance, letting learners adjust the size of text aids anyone with aging eyes or who uses glasses. Other ways to reduce eye strain include offering control over colors or contrast and including a "colorblind-friendly" mode for viewing content. These measures show your organization strives for inclusion and works to accommodate learners' unique needs.

If your content includes videos, add optional closed captions and consider including interactive transcripts as well. A study published in the Journal of Postsecondary Education and Disability reports these features aid comprehension and retention—and that a majority of people who use them are not hard of hearing.

Intuitive navigation facilitates learning

When designing course navigation, don't reinvent the wheel. Use conventions familiar to your learners. Ensure buttons, drop-down lists and menus are identifiable at first glance. Take advantage of LMS navigation conventions throughout course content to ensure a consistent user experience.

This can include some automated features, like showing and hiding some navigation elements based on the content. If scrolling isn't available, for example, scroll bars should be hidden. A search box might automatically appear in a prominent spot on the screen when learners might need or want to search for content.

Creating an intuitive learner experience extends to your content library as well. Build a robust library of curated content and supplementary resources. Then include a strong search function to locate those resources. The ability to quickly find content and refresh their memories empowers learners to develop or polish key skills.

Apply automation creatively

Automatic features based on artificial intelligence (AI) can also reduce cognitive load and improve learner experience.

Options that personalize the learning experience are a great place to start. Many LMSs enable you to create role-specific learning paths that only show learners courses and content relevant to their specific needs and career goals.

Your LMS might also offer custom dashboards, enable designers to use color to highlight recommended or mandatory courses, or offer other ways to target and personalize the content each learner sees first. Making it easy for learners to find required courses improves engagement and directs their energy toward mastering the content.

Teach learners to use the LMS

No list of learning management system key features is complete without mentioning training on using the LMS itself. Your LMS should offer navigation assistance to all new learners in the form of a chatbot, pop-up tips, tutorials or optional on-screen guidance. Of obvious benefit to new employees, these aids are also handy for learners who haven't completed training in several months and need an efficient refresher.

Reducing the effort—and cognitive load—required to find and use the right training content does more than improve the learner's experience. It makes learning more productive and effective, a net gain for the entire organization.

See how Absorb LMS champions intuitive learner experience. View the demo then reach out to an Absorb representative.

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