Many training centers view the monthly or annual payment to their learning management system vendor as a pure expense. The truth is, your learning managent system is an extremely valuable asset. In order to understand the value of your learning management system you may have to change the way you think about training.
1. Training is Never Free.
Just because your training center doesn’t charge participants or their business units an actual “price” to attend a class doesn’t mean the training is free. “No Charge” simply means your training center isn’t recovering the cost of training. Training centers need to break the paradigm that they are simply an expense category. The training department is rarely a consumer of the training it produces or conducts – other business units are. The training center is more accurately a custodian of corporate funds, charged with using and dispersing funds in ways that – you guessed it – improve the bottom line. Your learning management system should be keeping up with three basic financial elements: the cost of training, any revenue generated, and the overall value of training. Your learning management system should demonstrate that Revenue + Value ≥ Cost. Your LMS is the key to demonstrating that even though every class you offer is “No Charge”, your training center is making money for the corporation.
2. Market Your Activity.
People can’t take training classes they don’t know about. Your learning management system should a significant component of the marketing platform for your training center. If the training programs you teach require annual renewal or recertification, your LMS should be sending automatic reminders to those who need renewals. Provide a direct link to your next upcoming class. Let your students know about new or updated training programs. Did everyone just complete a six-week training program? Use your LMS to deliver a study guide for the certification exam. The ability to deliver specific, customized communications directly to a student helps build both personal and professional value.
A learning management system is the ultimate target marketing tool – make use of it.
3. Stop the Printing.
Printing and mailing information is one of the most expensive processes you can undertake. Use your learning management system to provide the same type of high-quality certificate you’ve been printing – only provide it by e-mail. Some learning management systems such as TrainingForce allow for self-service printing by the student – no more phone calls asking for duplicates! For example, a training center that teaches 25 classes of 30 students annually winds up printing and mailing 750 certificates. The printing and mailing of these will cost you over $3,450 per year (including labor). The staff member assigned to the task will spend at least 62 hours on certificates alone, assuming it takes less than an average of five minutes per certificate. What else could that staff member be doing for those 60+ hours?
There are a number of other items your learning management system can help with. Almost any document your center needs can be sent by e-mail. Instead of printing a copy of your latest metrics report, save it as a PDF file and send via e-mail to your management team. With the cost of paper and printing consumables on the rise,
Miscommunication costs time and productivity. When a class location or time changes, everyone needs to be informed. Staff members should be able to easily identify and resolve scheduling or resource conflicts. Your learning management system should automatically inform the correct person when certain changes are made. Using automated communications also helps avoid the proverbial “I didn’t know!”, since there should be an audit trail available to training center staff. Little things like sending an appointment reminder that can be inserted directly into your calender make a huge difference.
The goal is to use your learning management system to both minimize miscommunication and communicate change. In doing so, you reduce inefficiency and lost revenue.
Don’t look at your learning management system as an expense. When you use it to track your return on investment, market training and activity, and gain efficiency you will find that it is one of the most profitable elements of your training center.