eLearning professionals invest a lot of time in the design of courses, but is this time wasted when we upload them to a generic, unbranded learning management system (LMS)? Quite possibly. Every single stage of your learner journey is an opportunity to engage your learners, build your brand and create a consistent learning experience – and this includes your LMS.
So, rather than downing tools when your course is designed, this blog is going to explore design considerations for your learning management system – enabling you to create a consistent and ‘on brand’ learning experience.
- Visual style
The visual style of your LMS is probably the first thing you thought of when reading the title of this blog. Although branding and design is about much more than colour schemes and fonts; it is still hugely important.
You should consider two things when it comes to the visual style of your LMS; how easy it is to use and how it reflects your organisations identity. As always, we need to put the learner at the forefront of our decision-making process: Would they immediately recognise the LMS as a part of your organisation? How should logging in make learners feel? How easy is it to find the course they need? And finally, what does this process say about your organisation?
Ensuring your LMS echoes your brand is a sure-fire way to create a familiar and comfortable experience for your learners.
Alongside creating a visually appealing experience for your learners, it’s important the experience they have is in line with their expectations. When your learners are logging into your LMS they are expecting to learn – if you overcomplicate the experience, with over-the-top branding and difficult navigation, you are likely to confuse them. Keep it simple and clean, and you should be well on your way to meeting learner expectations.
However, it’s not only the expectations of learners that need to be portrayed. Your LMS should also reflect your organisation’s expectations of learners. A well-designed, well thought-out learning management system will show that your organisation is taking digital learning seriously – and you expect your learners to do the same.
- Know your audience
I cannot stress how important it is to know and understand your learners. What is the age range of your learners? How familiar are they with the software used? Are they likely to have used an LMS before, or is this their first time? Are they digital natives or adopters?
The answers to these questions will define how you brand your LMS. If your learners are digital native millennials, maybe you could comfortably use a hamburger menu on your LMS without too much concern. However, if your learners are new to digital learning and are unlikely to have encountered the three-lined menu before, perhaps you'd opt to use the word 'menu' instead, to avoid confusion.
These small design considerations are paramount when it comes to your learning management system. We must but our learners first and consider how they will navigate the LMS and mitigate any possible confusions.
In addition to this – your learners’ relation to your organisation would also have a huge impact on the branding of your LMS. For example, if you are a retailer and depend on independent sales reps or partners, you might consider the look and feel of your LMS more critical, as it is a ‘shop window’ to your organisation.
- Mobile optimise
Mobile learning has been on our radar for a long time now, here at Omniplex we’ve been blogging about it since 2012. However, not all of us have dived head-first into the mLearning pool just yet, and it might not be the top of your learning priorities. But this does not mean you can completely disregard mobile use throughout your learning strategy.
If you give your learners a link, the chances are at least one of them will try to open it on a mobile device – whether you intend them to or not. Therefore, you need to consider each of the aforementioned points with a ‘mobile’ hat on. How will your visual style work on a mobile device? Will your imagery look neat? Or will a mobile responsive LMS alter your design? Do your learners expect to access your learning content on their mobiles? If so, is it easy to use and navigate? Are your audience on-the-go and needing learning at the point of need? Are you making it as easy as possible for all learners to access learning when they need it?
- Easy updates
This is the one point in this blog that isn’t putting the learners first – but it is equally as important for your learning strategy. Depending on your business, you may need to regularly review and adapt your LMS branding. For example, many of our retail clients require quarterly brand reviews and redesigns in keeping with their seasonal trends. If you outsource your LMS branding, quarterly updates could quickly become expensive. You need to ensure you can be self-sufficient if frequent changes are needed.
So, there you have it, 5 points you should consider when branding your LMS. Of course, this is not an extensive list, but it should give you some food-for-thought when it comes to ensuring your learning management system is on-brand and fully functional for your learners.