If you deal with training or education, you have probably heard the acronym LMS, which stands for “learning management system”. Learning is a major factor for improvement and competitiveness, regardless of what industry you are in. Acquiring new skills is a must in this fast-moving economy, especially if you are applying Lean principles. Lean can be applied to any management system, so it should come as no surprise that you can apply Lean principles to a learning management system. First, let’s look a little deeper into what defines an LMS.
What is an LMS?
Although “learning management system” could describe any complete set of administrative tools for education, “LMS” typically refers to software. Such systems were first developed in the 1980s, but it wasn’t until widespread adoption of the Internet that such programs gained a large audience. One likely reason for this is that learning management is about more than content delivery; it is about communication. Specifically, it is about back and forth communication between students and instructors. This social component is a vital part of the modern LMS, and it would not be possible without the Internet. Today’s learning management systems also feature tracking and evaluation tools that allow instructors to monitor their students’ progress and provide feedback from anywhere at any time.
What makes an LMS Lean?
Open communication and the instant visibility of key metrics are just a few of the things that make online learning management systems compatible with the Lean approach. The most important thing to look for and utilize effectively in a Lean learning management system is flexibility. Your system should be flexible enough to apply the Just-in-Time approach to training, just like you would to production in a manufacturing setting. Students should have access to the knowledge and skills they need, when they need them, in the amount that is needed to reach their goals. Books, seminars, workshops, and stand-alone videos cannot provide this flexibility on their own. These forms of media are designed for the masses, and they are difficult to adapt in response to unique training requirements. Your top priority should be customizing curriculum to meet the individual needs of trainees in alignment with the overall needs of the organization. A flexible LMS leads to a flexible and multi-skilled workforce. You can find a wide variety of Lean focused content on our sister website uttana.com. They can also help you upload your own content that can be mixed and matched with theirs to provide custom-made learning paths.
What are the alternatives to an LMS?
One important thing to keep in mind is that a learning management system does not constitute a complete training program on its own. As exciting as this technology might be, learning is more than just a transfer of information and evaluations. You still have to “go to the gemba,” as they say, and experience things firsthand. Knowledge is important, but you must also put that knowledge into practice in order for it to stick. “Knowledge into practice”: That sounds like a good slogan. Enna offers a number of training videos created to help teams effectively develop lean skills. If you’re not quite ready to get set up with a full online LMS, we offer many of üttana’s Lean video courses on DVD. And of course, we have a many workshop training packages to compliment the learning done online or in the classroom.
Please let us know your experiences with learning management systems, and how you think they can be used to spread knowledge of Lean concepts in different industries.