Setting the tone for your LMS starts with the way you customise it, keeping it in line with your business or organisation’s brand and styling makes the entire learning experience feel more engaging, relevant and less like a generic ‘tick box’ exercise.
By using the term ‘customisation options’, we’re not talking about adding potentially expensive plug-ins or bespoke development, we are referring to the range of options readily available within your LMS. The feature rich LMS you have invested in is capable of a number of customisation options. To ensure the best ROI and to create the most effective user experience, it’s worth making the most of all of them. Take the time to familiarise yourself with the available features and if you’re not sure where to begin or are exploring possibilities then read our top 10 favourite options below.
One of the easiest ways you can make your LMS feel like it’s part of your business or organisation and not a third-party piece of software, is to customise its appearance to reflect your branding. This is typically a straightforward task as you’ll hopefully already have well-established brand guidelines. If you’re not sure where to begin, you could try mirroring the look and feel of your website. In doing this you’ll create a sense of continuity and familiarity for your users who should recognise your branding.
There are several ways you can achieve this through your LMS, for instance by simply including your logo in the suggested areas (usually top left/right on all pages).
Next, you can look at the overall appearance of the site, at changing the theme, fonts, heading styles and adapting the colours to match your organisation’s existing colour palette.
2. Site navigation
Spending a decent amount of time on mapping out and customising your site navigation can make a significant difference on the user experience and the overall look and feel of your LMS. Perhaps start by looking at what to include on your main menu or adding a ‘quick access’ menu to speed up the navigation process. Similarly, you could also add a search function which allows users to more easily browse for courses/lessons.
Adding a ‘user menu’ which contains elements such as user profile, messages and grades allows learners to easily access their personal information. With some LMSs (learning management systems) such as Totara Learn, you will have the option to add and customise a ‘My Dashboard’ area. This is an excellent feature which allows you to present the necessary content to your users, here you can customise your LMS by adding blocks such as ‘last course accessed’, recommended courses or quick links. Once again this not only improves the user experience but also makes it feel more tailored to their individual learning needs.
It’s important for users to feel ‘at home’ with their LMS in terms of recognising it as an extension of your business or organisation but also giving them a more comfortable user experience while using the platform. Thanks to customisation tools, users can personalise the platform through their own personal profiles. Here they can update user preferences, how they receive notifications or messages or add an individual user photograph.
Just as the dashboard function can be customised to suit the administrator’s preferences, an individual user can also customise what they want to see on their dashboard and its layout. For example, they may want to see their certifications, a calendar, a countdown feature etc. There are a whole host of customisation opportunities that can help improve engagement through personalisation.
Content is the most obvious way to customise your LMS. It’s important to personalise your learning content as generic content generally doesn’t feel as engaging and relevant to individual learners.
Even if you don’t change the wording, you can easily change the layout, appearance, and delivery by exploring the available themes in your LMS.
As an example, you can personalise the delivery of your content with the use of the available video functionality. Having your staff or instructors deliver short teaching videos is an ideal way to keep learners engaged whilst ensuring they are using an e-learning platform that feels like the organisation they are a part of.
Incorporating a gamification element into your e-learning platform is also a great way to make the learning experience feel more personalised and engaging. This is easy to achieve with the use of various features in your LMS such as a quiz/test function.
Creating some healthy competition amongst your learners can really boost your learning programme - and you can further use customisation tools to create a score table and badges for high-scoring users.
6. Social features
Another terrific way to increase engagement and encourage teamwork and communication is by incorporating social features into your LMS. Creating a custom discussion forum for specific topics or groups means that users can interact with others and share views or exchange their experiences with the learning programme.
Totara Engage is a brilliant example of an LXP which facilitates this kind of shared working environment, where community areas can easily be created to encourage interactive learning where users can rate, comment, and share the courses they are studying.
Your LMS should be able to facilitate the use of multiple device access. In particular, the use of mobile learning is beneficial as it feels more personal to the user, giving them the opportunity to learn anytime or anywhere at their own convenience on a device they use daily.
With your LMS you can customise your platform so that it can be easily adapted to suit mobile learning, you need to consider variables such as the screen size and offline use.
If your organisation has users in different countries across the world, you can use LMS customisation tools to localise your site. The time zone can be adapted accordingly and, most importantly, you can enable the use of multiple languages so that training across your organisation can be standardised, whilst being offered in local languages.
This can completely transform the learning experience for users as having the option to learn in their native language means they can get the most out of the programme and you are able to keep costs to a minimum.
9. Role based customisation
Audience management tools allow user groups to be populated using customised rules based on information such as HR data.
With this function, administrators can use the automation features within modern LMSs to automatically carry out previously manual tasks such as assigning different users to their assigned courses and learning plans.
Expanding on the idea of role-based customisation, you can also use this functionality to mirror the infrastructure of your business or organisation. Entire groups can be created based on their role/rank/department and permissions can be set so that only certain groups can see relevant content.
This means a hierarchy can be created within your LMS so that managers can view specific content such as reports on employees. When compared to building this type of infrastructure manually, the money and time that’s saved when using an LMS is invaluable.
Getting the most out of your customisation options
A modern LMS should be able to facilitate all the customisation features mentioned in this article. However, it’s not always easy to know how to optimise these features, particularly if you’ve not used an LMS before. With this in mind, it’s really important you choose an LMS provider who will help you make the most out of all the available LMS features and help you understand how to use them to your advantage.
As a Totara Platinum Alliance Partner and Moodle expert, we design and deliver high quality e-learning solutions for leading UK businesses and organisations, building lasting relationships so that they can realise the full potential of their learning and development projects.
Contact one of our experts today to find out how we can help you achieve your L&D goals.