The importance of talking to your users and using their feedback to build your LMS in a way that’s going to engage them.
You can call upon your in-house learning and development experts and HR professionals. You can talk to learning technology experts like us. But an important type of expertise is often overlooked or sidelined when a new LMS is in the planning stage: the people who are actually going to use it.
Your learners are a valuable resource when you’re building an LMS. It’s vital to listen to them to learn:
- What they want to learn, so you can plan your courses accordingly.
- How they want to learn, so you can structure your site and content accordingly.
- What technologies, content types or other features they want to improve their learning experience.
In short, the success of your LMS depends on a high level of engagement from your learners so listening to them to find out what will make the site engaging to them is perhaps the most important factor in the entire planning process.
A flawed counter argument
The argument against putting your learners at the heart of the planning process when you build your LMS is perhaps best summed up by the famous Henry Ford quote relating to his invention of the car: “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.”
That’s wrong on several levels. Firstly, there is no evidence of Ford having ever said it.
Secondly, in the fictional universe in which Ford had received that feedback, the issue is more likely to have been that he wasn’t asking the right questions or giving people the right support to articulate their needs to him.
Thirdly, while the need for speed was not the main driving force in the creation of motorised vehicles, if it had been then “faster horses” should have been enough to push Ford in the right direction. If we bring it back to your LMS, your learners might not know all of the latest learning technologies, but they will know what they would like to be able to do on the site and what would help them to learn more effectively. As long as you’re helping them to articulate what they need correctly, you can then run with that information and apply the best technologies to make it happen.
Finally, Ford did actually say this: “If there is any one secret of success, it lies in the ability to get the other person’s point of view and see things from that person’s angle as well as from your own.”
So, there you go: even the poster boy for the counter argument says you need to listen to your learners!
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