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22 August 2022

How to evaluate the impact of your LMS

Jonny McAlister

Head of Customer Experience

Discover ways to evaluate the impact of your LMS and demonstrate its effectiveness to key stakeholders within your organisation.

The benefits of your learning management system are probably clear to you and others working in HR or learning and development, but they might not be clear to everyone in your organisation.

If you need to justify the investment, demonstrate a return on that investment, or make a business case for further investment in learning technologies, it makes sense to evaluate the impact of your LMS so that this can be shared with decision makers and senior management.

How do you go about measuring the impact a new LMS has had on your organisation?

There are several ways in which you can evaluate the impact of your LMS. Some of these will apply to any learning platform, while others will be unique to your organisation.

Broadly, you can measure what effect your LMS has had through:

  • Direct statistical comparison with whatever system was in place previously.
  • Analysis of financial savings.
  • Analysis of resource savings.
  • Evidence of improvements in learning outcomes.
  • Evidence that it has achieved against objectives outlined at the start of the project.

With a wealth of user data to be found within the reporting systems of platforms like Moodle LMS and Totara Learn, it is often fairly straightforward to compile statistics that quantify the impact of your LMS.

You can start the process long before your new LMS launches by making sure you’re measuring key metrics from your existing ways of managing and delivering learning, so that it is easier to make like-for-like comparisons with your new LMS.

What those key metrics are will depend on the nature of your organisation, how learning and development serves the wider goals of the organisation, and your reasons for either launching an LMS for the first time or migrating from your existing LMS to a new platform.

Taking all of those things into consideration, here are some useful measures for evaluating the impact of your LMS on your organisation.

User logins

If you’ve swapped an unwieldy, inflexible platform for a user-friendly LMS, the number of user logins is often a useful measure. A significant increase in the number of logins in comparison to your old platform can be used to demonstrate increased levels of engagement.

After we developed its new LMS, the Office for Nuclear Regulation was able to show 100% user engagement with its new LMS because user login data showed all employees were using the platform.

Course completions

Another useful measure of learner engagement is course completions. Obviously, seeing users take and complete courses is a key aim of any LMS. The total number of course completions within a period of time is a good way to evaluate the impact of your LMS, especially if you can compare it favourably with course completions in an equivalent period before your LMS launched. It may also prove that a wider range of training can be delivered via your new LMS, or that course can be completed more quickly than was previously the case. Our customers Kuehne + Nagel tracked 2.5 million online course completions for training that would previously have been completed face-to-face.

Compliance levels

High compliance levels keep your organisation on the right side of the law and industry regulators. With automated learning pathways and automatically assigned mandatory training (as well as easy reporting to find those who have skipped refresher courses), a new LMS often results in a positive impact on compliance levels. This has the potential for a positive legal and reputational impact on your business, and far greater levels of accountability. A great example of this is East Midlands Ambulance Service, which increased its compliance levels from around 50% to 98% by launching an LMS.

Easier auditing

Following on from compliance levels, an LMS often makes auditing far more straightforward. Whether you’re creating reports for senior management or preparing data for external auditors, it’s far simpler with an LMS. This will play into some of the efficiencies mentioned below, but you might also be able to find something tangible to demonstrate how the LMS has made these processes less painful experiences for your organisation.

Resource savings

As we’ve just touched on, you can also evaluate the resource savings delivered by your LMS. A simple way of doing this is to look at laborious administrative tasks that are now automated? How much time was previously spent on uploading or updating user data? How much time was spent assigning learning or chasing learners to book in for training? How long did it take to compile audits or reports? Once you’ve thought about that, you could also evaluate the impact of your LMS by considering how those same resources are now deployed. Which new initiatives are only possible because of the resource savings created by your LMS?

And what about your learners? By undertaking learning at a time and place of their choosing, and without the need to travel, there might be a significant saving in their time, too. How many hours has that ‘given back’ to the organisation? Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service found that their Totara Learn LMS gave them an extra 100 days of frontline firefighting duties, while Kuehne + Nagel was able to take the aforementioned 2.5 million course completions and translate that to 500,000 hours of face-to-face training time and resources saved.

Financial savings

If you’re able to establish the number of hours saved by your LMS, you can then convert your resource savings into a monetary value. There are probably other financial savings, too. Travel expenses for trips to training centres, licensing fees for your old platform and spending unique to your organisation that has now been cut or completely removed. A big saving on the bottom line is a great way to demonstrate the impact of an LMS to senior management. Samsung cut its new product training costs by 40% by introducing an LMS.

Faster rollout

With an LMS, you can deliver new mandatory or important training to all learners more or less simultaneously. If you’ve got an example of delivering new training to your team quickly, that’s another positive impact from your LMS. If you can demonstrate how long the same rollout programme would previously have taken, even better. This speed of rollout was a key factor when Western Union started working with it. It can now deliver important training to 500,000 agents simultaneously, whereas it previously had to drip-feed training over a 12-month period. That’s a huge difference if you need to train your people on new legal requirements as quickly as possible.

Staff retention rates

Recruitment is expensive, so retaining staff is a desirable outcome for any organisation. A learning platform that engages and upskills your learners, particularly if it also illuminates and supports career progression within your organisation, is likely to do just that. Evaluating staff retention levels will need a longer sample period than most of the measures mentioned in this article, but it is worth monitoring. Kuehne + Nagel is using a piece of custom artificial intelligence (AI) in conjunction with its LMS to identify internal candidates for job vacancies and encourage career development within the business.

Something specific to you

You will know the metrics that matter most to your organisation. If it is vital for your organisation’s success that a particular piece of training is completed by as many people as possible, measure that. If a specific department or division has been lagging behind in training completions or compliance levels, measure how that changes. If seminar or workshop attendance is usually low, measure improvements in that. Whatever you wanted the impact of your LMS to be on your organisation to be, you can evaluate how well it achieved that.

Finding the evidence to evaluate the impact of your LMS

Learning management systems like Totara Learn and Moodle LMS have very powerful reporting capabilities. We always say the chances are that your LMS is capturing the data you want — it’s just a case of extracting what you need, when you need it.

Planning for an impactful LMS

If you’re still in the planning stages and want to make sure your LMS delivers the outcomes you need it to achieve, fill out the form below and we’ll be in touch.

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