It goes without saying that employee growth and education are essential for any company to succeed in today’s fast-paced working environments. But here's the thing: simply providing learning materials and resources isn't enough. We need to keep corporate learners actively engaged throughout the process, and that's where learning content comes into play. Well-crafted and captivating learning content delivered through a learning management system (LMS) is the key to hooking learners and motivating them to expand their knowledge and skills.
Moreover, supporting employees' ability to learn and adapt is more crucial than ever in today's continuously changing world. Organizations may assist their employees to remain ahead of the curve and succeed in their careers by investing in learning and development (L&D). According to research by Zippia, 92% of employees say employee training programs positively impact their engagement when well-planned – making learning a critical element of workplace motivation.1
This comprehensive guide aims to explore the definition, importance, and steps organizations must undertake to enable LMS content successfully. With this, companies can build a solid learning content strategy, create and organize impactful content, and evaluate its success.
What is LMS content?
Before we dive in, let's define LMS content. LMS content encompasses various resources and mediums to deliver learning experiences. These content channels engage your employees, streamline knowledge acquisition, and support enterprise learning objectives.
Regardless of your industry, having diverse and compelling content is key to capturing learners' attention and promoting knowledge retention. "We have found that to effectively drive learning and development within our organization, we must customize the communication to best meet the needs of each team member," says Beryl Krinsky, Founder and CEO of B.Komplete. "For example, some team members are visual learners, and other team members are audio learners, and other team members need both."2
Fortunately, most learning content management systems offer a variety of eLearning content types to suit the needs of individuals and organizations. Leaning into LMS content providers – companies that specialize in LMS content creation - for support can also help you diversify your content mediums. Some examples of training content formats include:
Text-Based eLearning content
Written LMS content is the foundation of many eLearning programs, leveraging words to convey information.
- Slides: Presentations are a common training content form and allow instructors to visually present information. Slides content can include text, images, charts, and graphs to enhance comprehension.
- Articles: Written pieces that delve into specific topics and deliver in-depth information. Articles also introduce new concepts, explain processes, or offer insights into industry trends.
- eBooks: eBooks are digital books that can be easily accessed and downloaded. For topics requiring comprehensive training, eBooks are an ideal eLearning content form.
Interactive eLearning content
Extending beyond passive consumption, interactive LMS content promotes participation and problem-solving among learners.
- Quizzes: A popular training content type to assess learners' understanding and test knowledge. Quizzes integrate into your LMS, allowing learners to receive immediate feedback.
- Webinars: As live presentations, webinars include real-time chat for trainers and learners to communicate. Webinars are also available as pre-recorded sessions for learners to watch on demand.
- Games: Elements like competitions or simulations can transform learning into a fun experience. By gamifying your LMS, you help to provide a competitive and immersive environment, further enhancing learner motivation.
- Observational checklists: Structured tools that evaluate and track learner behaviors and skills in corporate learning, ensuring consistency in performance assessment and offering targeted feedback to enhance learning outcomes.
- Peer-to-peer learning: A collaborative approach to training that encourages knowledge sharing and problem solving.
Video and audio eLearning content
Lastly, visual and audio content appeal to different learning styles and make complex topics more accessible.
- Videos: Videos elevate online courses and are highly effective at explaining complex topics using animations, demos, interviews, or real-life scenarios to make the learning experience engaging and memorable.
- Podcasts: One of the most rapidly growing training content forms is podcasts. Podcasts and audio recordings are accessible on-demand, offering the flexibility to learn on the go. Like video, podcasts can feature interviews, discussions, expert insights, or stories.
- Augmented reality (AR): Through technology, AR overlays digital information onto the real-world environment, enabling learners to interact with virtual elements, access contextual information, and participate in immersive training simulations or hands-on training scenarios.
- Virtual reality (VR): Similar to AR, VR creates immersive simulated environments for learners to engage with realistic scenarios, enhancing knowledge retention and skill development through experiential learning that replicates real-life situations.
As an added benefit, many of these training content types are self-paced, allowing learners to review material at their own speed while supporting organizational efficiencies. According to PwC, “Self-paced eLearning courses use 40% to 60% less employee time compared to Instructor-led Training, which often takes people away from their jobs for hours or days and can require travel costs. This makes more time available for employees to be productive.”3
Furthermore, several of these content types are available in both microlearning formats and in-the-flow learning formats. Microlearning offers bite-sized and focused learning experiences, allowing learners to quickly acquire and apply specific knowledge or skills, maximizing learning efficiency and retention. In-the-flow learning integrates seamlessly into the natural workflow of employees, providing them with immediate access to relevant information or resources, promoting continuous learning, and enhancing productivity.
By incorporating a mix of training content types into your LMS platform, you can provide a well-rounded learner experience. Moreover, combining content types either created internally or with the help of LMS content providers ensures learners with specific preferences and learning styles will find your training programs beneficial.
Craft robust learning and development with a content strategy
As you choose content types to pursue, your organization can begin building an L&D content strategy.
A comprehensive learning content strategy is the foundation of any successful training program. Your strategy ensures content aligns with company goals and optimizes the user experience. Three crucial steps to build your content strategy include defining a target audience, finalizing learning objectives, and conducting a content audit. It’s also important to mention that these three steps should occur before organizations dive into LMS content creation.
Define your target audience
To generate effective content, you must first determine who your target audience is. As you consider who your learners are, ask questions like:
- What are the roles and responsibilities of learners who will engage with the content?
- What is their existing knowledge and skill level?
- Do these learners have a preferred learning style or content type?
- Are your learners located in a specific geographic region or time zone?
- Do your learners have reliable internet access to participate in online learning?
Collecting this information early on will help you tailor the content to their specific needs, make it relevant, and align your training materials with your learning content management system strategy.
Finalize your learning objectives prior to LMS content development
Your objectives provide clear direction for LMS content creation. Clearly articulating your eLearning program goals is crucial before creating the content. Some examples of corporate learning objectives include:
- Compliance: Emphasize meeting 100% compliance and educating employees on legal and ethical guidelines relevant to your industry or organization, promoting compliance with regulations, and ensuring ethical conduct in their work, such as data privacy, anti-discrimination policies, or conflict of interest.
- Employee growth: Encourage continuous learning and personal growth among employees by delivering opportunities and resources for employees to expand their knowledge, skills, and capabilities within their current role or to prepare for future career advancement.
- Employee productivity: Enhance employees' ability to manage their time effectively and prioritize tasks by focusing on providing employees with techniques and strategies to optimize their workflow, set goals, prioritize tasks, minimize distractions, and efficiently allocate their time and resources.
When finalizing your objectives, list the knowledge or skills that learners must acquire. Furthermore, make them measurable and specific to accurately evaluate training content success.
Conduct a content audit
Finally, an essential step to creating a learning content strategy is conducting a thorough content audit. This allows you to assess your existing training materials and courses.
Evaluate your content’s relevance, accuracy, and effectiveness in meeting your learning objectives. Additionally, identify any content gaps or outdated materials that need updates. A well-executed content audit allows you to use existing resources, eliminate redundancies, and discover opportunities for improvement.
Ways to build your course by tapping into LMS content sources
When it comes to building your eLearning course, publishing high-quality content is crucial. To help you get started, it’s important to understand the various sources for training content and choose which route will best serve your learning content needs. Let’s explore the different options to source LMS content along with their pros and cons.
LMS content libraries are treasure troves of pre-built course materials including videos, slides, modules, and more. Content libraries are created by LMS content providers and cover a range of subjects, allowing you to curate relevant topics that align with your course objectives. LMS content providers create content specifically geared toward training, helping you rest assured that the educational content is high-quality and designed for learner engagement.
Pros of an LMS content library:
- Time savings: LMS content libraries can save you time, giving you access to resources and eliminating the need to start from scratch. As a bonus, your LMS will likely also integrate with content library software, speeding up LMS content development even more.
- Quality content: Created by subject matter experts and instructional designers, LMS content library material is often well-designed, professionally produced, and aligned with eLearning best practices.
Cons of an LMS content library:
- Customization: Because third parties create content libraries and take the reins in LMS content development, they may not always align perfectly with your learning objectives or company branding. For companies producing courses on niche topics, prepare to rework content library software material to fit your needs.
Internal course authoring
Another approach to LMS content development and course authoring is producing it internally. This method allows you to work with subject matter experts, human resources specialists, and designers within your firm.
Pros of internal course authoring:
- Flexibility: More than any method, taking a do-it-yourself (DIY) approach to LMS content creation gives you full control. It allows you to tailor content to your audience and learning objectives.
- Customization: A DIY approach ensures content reflects your organization's branding and instructional style.
Cons of internal course authoring:
- Time and resources: Producing LMS content internally requires considerable time, resources, and expertise. It involves assembling a team, performing research, and designing course structures. This is time-consuming, especially for organizations with limited resources or tight deadlines.
Artificial intelligence (AI) and crowdsourced content
Lastly, two content types that continue to revolutionize the LMS content creation space and set the stage for the future of organizational learning are AI-powered tools and crowdsourced content.
Pros of AI-generated learning content:
- Speed: More than any other eLearning content creation method, AI-powered tools boost efficiency, leading to faster course production.
- Scalability: AI tools generate content at a large scale. This helps organizations to meet demands for courses across various subjects and topics.
Cons of AI-generated learning content:
- Quality and accuracy: AI-generated content may contain errors, incorrect information, or biased content if not carefully reviewed. Human oversight is necessary to ensure the reliability of AI-generated content.
Pros of crowdsourced learning content:
- Diverse perspectives: Crowdsourced content brings together a variety of perspectives, experiences, and expertise, providing a rich and diverse range of insights and knowledge.
- Employee engagement and ownership: Involving employees in the content creation process increases their engagement and sense of ownership in the learning experience, fostering a culture of active participation and knowledge sharing.
Cons of crowdsourced learning content:
- Quality control: Ensuring the quality and accuracy of crowdsourced content can be a challenge, as there may be variations in expertise and reliability among contributors.
- Resource management: Managing the process of gathering, selecting, and organizing crowdsourced content can be time-consuming and resource intensive.
Tips to empower learners with organized training content
Properly organizing and delivering content within your learning content management system makes navigation effortless for your learners and sets employees up for success. To categorize and launch your content, there are a few key steps to take:
Define categories for training content
To facilitate easy searchability, it's essential to define clear categories for your LMS content. Consider organizing based on criteria such as departments, topics, or skill levels. For instance, you can create department categories like "Sales Training," which cover topics such as "Marketing Fundamentals," or designate courses "Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced" to match your learner needs.
Create a content hierarchy
Establishing a clear hierarchy is vital to intuitively structure your LMS content. Begin by identifying overarching themes and then breaking them down into subtopics – this can be as simple as incorporating headings, subheadings, and numbers to visually represent your content hierarchy. Taking a strategic approach will help your learners navigate content and logically progress through learning. If you’re leveraging LMS content providers to help you develop training material, they may also deliver relevant themes and subtopics to break down your courses.
Assign learning paths
Learning paths are predetermined routes that guide learners through a series of courses. By assigning paths, you give learners the opportunity to build foundational knowledge before advancing to complex topics.
Before assigning learning paths, assess the skills, objectives, and roles of your users to create a learning experience tailored to their needs.
Give users LMS access
The way you deliver LMS content plays a major role in engaging and supporting your learners. Although giving your learners LMS access sounds like a simple step, a smooth LMS implementation requires thoughtful consideration and strategic planning, including how you:
- Communicate your LMS launch: Clear instructions, well-organized menus, and prominent search functionality are all must-haves to help learners find content.
- Enable user access: Many enterprises implement single sign-on (SSO) integrations so that users can access your LMS with existing credentials, streamlining the login process.
- Plan system updates: It’s also important to proactively plan the approach you’ll take to keep learners informed on new courses, updated on deadlines, and recommended content. Regular communication encourages learners to stay active within the LMS.
Unveiling the insights: Evaluating eLearning content
Congratulations! By this point, you’ve successfully launched your LMS content. But the work doesn’t stop here – continuously evaluating your training content is critical to maintaining its effectiveness and relevance. Collecting LMS user feedback, reviewing relevant metrics, and updating content based on feedback, data, and best practices, allows you to consistently enhance the learning experience.
Collecting learner feedback provides valuable insights into the quality of your LMS content. To learn about your users’ experience, implement mechanisms like surveys to gauge satisfaction. Alternatively, incorporate a rating system where learners can write comments on specific courses. Both tactics offer valuable insights and assist your leadership by uncovering pain points, preferences, and suggestions for content updates.
On top of gathering user feedback, LMS reporting supplies valuable insights into learning content performance. For example, learner analytics like completion rates, quiz scores, and course progress can help you identify trends in learner behaviors to assess content effectiveness and improvement opportunities. Other examples of useful data are user interactions such as completion time and click-through rates. Insights like this allow you to find areas of high or low engagement and guide content updates.
Based on user feedback and data collected, implement a systematic process to update and improve your LMS content. Regular content revisions allow you to address learner feedback, clarify confusing sections, or incorporate interactive elements. Furthermore, decide your process to find content gaps or courses with high interest so you can remove or expand on content as needed.
In general, LMS content development is an iterative process. It’s not part of your business that you can set and forget. Your LMS content requires regular updates to ensure content stays relevant and effective.
Finding the right LMS to support your learning content development is equally important. But with so many LMS options with different pricing models available, it’s often challenging to determine which is the right fit. If you’re in the process of selecting an LMS, check out our breakdown and comparison of common LMS pricing models in The Essential Guide to LMS Pricing.
Final takeaways for LMS content creation
In conclusion, strategic LMS content development is essential for delivering effective online learning experiences. But to create top-tier content, organizations must take the time to develop a strategic enterprise learning strategy, produce meaningful learning content, and update on a regular basis.
In the future, we expect further advancements in eLearning content delivery and personalization through emerging tech like adaptive learning and augmented reality. Organizations can stay ahead of the curve by experimenting with new learning content creation opportunities.
According to Stella Lee, PhD, Director at Paradox Learning, “While the page-turner e-learning courses and the utilitarian LMS are here to stay for the next little while, there’s an opportunity to pilot more varied L&D activities and tools: personalized learning content using recommender systems, push content via chatbots, peer-based knowledge sharing on collaborative platforms, and the integration of curated external content (third-party content) with custom internal in-house content.”
To maximize the potential of your learning content management system, take action by exploring innovative LMS content creation methods and new LMS content providers, leveraging user feedback, and staying informed on emerging trends and tech in online learning. By doing so, you can keep your LMS content engaging, effective, and impactful to meet learner needs.
Unleash enterprise learning potential with Absorb
If you’re a growing enterprise seeking a trusted partner to support your learning needs, look no further than Absorb Software. We empower enterprises to provide comprehensive and compelling learning experiences to employees, customers, and partners. With a platform that streamlines the learning process from start to finish, we deliver robust course creation tools, a user-friendly interface, and advanced reporting to help you foster a culture of learning and focus on what matters – your people.