Learning and development (L&D) is crucial in keeping organizations competitive in today’s crowded markets. Upskilling employees helps them adapt, evolve and perform better — and let’s face it, who doesn’t want a top-performing team?
But delivering successful learning experiences to a large or globally dispersed audience can be tricky. Traditional in-person training (ILT) methods simply won’t cut it. That’s where learning technology solutions come in!
In this article, we explore how digital tools like learning management systems (LMSs) can help engage learners at scale and support globally dispersed training programs.
Organizations have a wider reach than ever before. With the rise of international trade and investment, organizations continue to expand into new markets and regions.
While advances in communication and technology have made it easier for companies to connect with their distributed workforce, the rise of globalization still has its challenges.
In fact, organizations now have to contend with widely spread, multinational and multilingual teams and corporate learners. This can cause some grey hairs for L&D teams!
Pros and Cons of a Globally Dispersed Learner Audience
Going global can bring a wealth of diversity into your organization. Similarly, you can tap into talent from around the world, which is essential in industries that suffer from skills shortages.
In addition, you can embrace innovation by encouraging cross-functional collaboration and knowledge sharing. And by understanding local customs, regulations and business practices, it becomes easier to expand into new markets.
However, if you are used to delivering L&D initiatives in person, you’ll soon notice that this is much more difficult with globally dispersed teams. After all, you are likely to face language and cultural barriers, differing time zones and a lack of resources.
With this in mind, let’s explore how learning technology solutions can support a globally dispersed learner base, from user provisioning to analyzing training outcomes.
How an LMS Can Support a Globally Dispersed Audience
An LMS is a software application that allows organizations to administer, document, track, report and deliver L&D initiatives. It’s one of today’s most popular tools for delivering online training.
After all, an LMS comes with vast benefits. For instance, you can offer training that is personalized to your learners’ unique needs. Similarly, an LMS enables you to train a large number of learners, regardless of their physical location.
Ultimately, these benefits are what make learning technology a helpful aid when delivering training to a globally dispersed workforce. But let’s dig a bit deeper.
1. User Provisioning
User provisioning is the process of creating, managing and revoking user accounts and access privileges within your learning platform. When it comes to training a globally dispersed audience, an LMS with powerful user provisioning tools is a lifesaver.
After all, administrators can manage user accounts from a single location, no matter where your learners are in the world. In addition, with automated provisioning, you can get learners up and running lightning fast.
An LMS ensures that learners can then access training materials from anywhere, at any time. They simply access training materials online through their platform, using their preferred device.
As such, you no longer have to try and gather your learners into a physical classroom location. Your admins also have access to a wealth of information about your learners and can easily track their progress.
To ensure your learners get the most out of their training materials, you need to deliver content in a language your learners understand.
In a classroom setting, this can quickly become an administrative nightmare and an expensive process as you have to translate each training unit into various languages.
Luckily, an LMS makes localization easier. It can support multiple languages, allowing learners to access content and courses in their preferred language.
4. Personalized Learning
An LMS allows you to create customized learning pathways for learners. These pathways can be created based on learners’ unique learning needs, skills gaps, interests and abilities.
As a result, they will receive personalized training content. Similarly, the pathway guides your learner through content in a logical order, ensuring they are only focusing on relevant and useful training.
5. Immediate Feedback
Depending on the nature of your training program, you can use your LMS to provide immediate feedback for learners. This feedback can take place, for instance, after completing a training unit or an assessment.
This feature is perfect for global learners, as you can avoid the hassle of having to give face-to-face feedback. As a result, learners can identify areas where they are doing well or focus on areas that need improvement.
6. Centralized Tracking and Reporting
Like centralized user provisioning, an LMS allows organizations to track and report on learner performance in one digital location. This simplifies and speeds up the analysis process compared to traditional methods.
This is useful when you provide training for a large and global audience. After all, you can filter reports by individual, team, department or organizational level. Having all this information in one place helps you to get to the nitty gritty quicker.
7. Social Learning at Scale
Social learning is extremely effective. In fact, according to the 70-20-10 model, 20% of everything we learn comes from observing and interacting with others.
But trying to get people together in one place for a global learning community can quickly become a logistical nightmare, not to mention expensive.
Thankfully, most LMSs come with social learning features, like social feeds, discussion forums or chat rooms, that allow you to encourage social learning and collaboration. As a result, learners can collaborate with individuals around the globe.
8. Learner Engagement
Similarly, to social learning, engaging a large and widely spread learner audience is difficult when using traditional training methods.
On the other hand, an LMS not only allows you to create regular and personalized learning experiences, but it also comes with engaging features and content. For example, most LMSs are gamified, which means using game elements to motivate and engage learners.
As a result, you can create gamified training experiences that are personalized to your learners’ unique needs, regardless of how many learners you have in your audience.
What To Consider When Implementing an LMS for Global Training
Implementing an LMS is a relatively easy process. However, implementing large, global and multinational learning experiences requires a bit more consideration.
In fact, there are some technical aspects you need to understand when it comes to the performance and availability of your LMS, such as:
1. Server Location and Scaling
Server location refers to the physical location of the servers that host your LMS software. The location can affect the speed and reliability of your LMS.
Scaling, on the other hand, refers to your LMS’s ability to handle an increasing number of users and data without it impacting the performance. This makes it essential for an LMS that serves a large and globally distributed audience.
With this in mind, you need to pay attention to your server location and create a scaling strategy. This is something that is typically handled for you by your LMS vendor.
2. Content Delivery Network
A content delivery network (CDN) is a network of servers that are distributed across multiple geographical locations to deliver content to learners worldwide.
With a CDN, you can cache and distribute your awesome learning content across multiple servers in the network. This allows your learners to access content from the server closest to their physical location.
This, in turn, improves the speed, reliability and user experience of your content delivery, making it an essential component of any globally distributed training program.
3. Content Localization
Content localization involves adapting or translating content from one language or cultural context to another. As such, it helps you to ensure that your content remains relevant and engaging to every learner.
In addition to translating text-based content, localization can involve adapting your graphics, images and multimedia content to ensure it’s culturally appropriate, relevant and representative.
An LMS is a wonderful tool for organizations that are looking to train and engage learners at scale. What’s more, today’s modern learning technology is particularly useful in providing training for a globally dispersed workforce.
After all, you can provision, engage, educate and track your learner audience in one centralized digital location, regardless of where your learners are in the world. What’s not to love?