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Learning Management Systems for Staff Induction

Staff induction is one of the most time consuming and occasionally most troublesome processes encountered by organisations. Staff retention and worker compliance, happiness, and success, as well of organisational efficiency depend on a great deal on how well employees fare during the first days and weeks of employment. Zahhly and Tosi (2006) found that “formal collective induction contributed to higher job satisfaction and lower work/family conflict” when compared with informal induction processes.

induction-training-leeuwinAn electronic learning management system provides a controlled, consistent platform that includes all information required by new hires, is easy for trainees and trainers to access, provides solid interaction between trainers and trainees, and assists in reinforcing learning for better retention, all contributing to higher initial job confidence. New employees who feel more confident beginning a new job are more productive, happier, and appear to remain on the job longer.

A learning management system is a “platform” onto which information is loaded and managed whereby learners access information, communicate with instructors and one another, and engage in learning practices and behaviours by means of a computer connected to a local system (such as a network in a school or a business) or to the internet. The information is usually constructed as a “course” organized into chapters to break down the information presented into logical and coherent segments. Each chapter provides several means for learners to encounter and work with the information so that it is thoroughly absorbed and retained.

Newly hired personnel are often nervous and apprehensive: there is considerable paperwork to be filled out, they find themselves in an unfamiliar environment surrounded by too many new people with whom they must interact professionally in order to make a good impression. A group orientation is more a distraction than helpful, and much of the information provided is often lost in a blur of stress and too many tasks. Retention of important directives may be limited during the orientation phase, causing a loss of confidence from day one, which can impact employee confidence, ongoing comfort or discomfort, and even job longevity. The use of a learning management system has been found to eliminate some the difficulties listed here through reducing several of the stress factors involved.

One of the primary values of utilising a learning management system for staff induction process is that all the necessary paperwork can be loaded onto the platform, completed by the new employees electronically, then automatically saved into the company filing system. The new employees are able to take the time necessary to verify that information entered is correct and complete, which saves Human Resources staff considerable time and confirms that nothing is lost in the process as often happens when paperwork is handled by several people.

The learning management system also allows the new employees to access and learn vital information on their own terms, in their own time. The system provides readings, examples, questions for consideration, and other learning tools, as well as quizzes and exams to assist student learning as well as track and save learning progress for certification or accreditation processing.

While some learning management systems are self-contained, whereby learners simply work alone to access and integrate orientation information, other learning systems also provide the means for interaction, questions, and discussion both learner-to-learner and learner-to-trainer. This allows new hires to meet electronically with one another or trainers and to comfortably learn about one another and the new work environment, discuss important information necessary to individual success within the company, and gain knowledge of company structures, goals, and procedures in an environment less stressful than traditional orientation before they begin their new jobs.

Learning management systems may also be of great value long after new employees have been successfully integrated into the company. One of the most important advances in education at all levels has been the implantation of electronic learning. From preschool to graduate school, students may take entire courses or complete degrees in an online environment supported by a learning management system or take electronically based courses integrated with classroom learning or on the job training. Because training is such an important part of every business beyond the induction stage, from initial skills necessary to learn a new job or to trained for advancement, to ongoing training for certification attainment, introducing new employees to a company specific curriculum accessed the learning management system stabilises anxiety not only in regard to the first day on the new job but also develops a comfort zone with regard to a highly efficient in-house training protocol that employees can access on their own in groups to hone old knowledge and skills and learn new ones.

One of the most valuable aspects of learning management systems is their ability to increase information retention, both in the system and by its human users. Since information is loaded onto the platform, it is always available and can be accessed as often as is necessary by the employee, who can go over it as many times as necessary, to increase recall and clarity. Information can be updated as necessary to allow training updates and policy changes, and be made available to any specific employee on a one-time basis or all employees simultaneously. Learning modules can easily be updated with the most recent information in real time which is particularly important in companies in particular industries such as the financial industry where numbers change second-by-second.

Finally, a learning management system can be used to track ongoing processes for individual jobs, for work groups or teams, or for the entire organisation. In many organisations, it is essential that updates to ongoing work be made available to designated individuals, work groups, departments, management or other in-company entities. While such information is often stored in a static filing system, a learning management system can be adapted to update information daily and access through the learning platform for any employee designated to utilise the material.

Learning management systems are an ideal means of processing newly hired employees. These systems are both a data retention device and a complete learning system that eliminate many flaws in the traditional HR induction process as well as in-house training procedure. Utilising a learning management system in HR induction smooths record keeping and provides a less scattered and easy to access method to orient and train new employees who research shows are much happier and more efficient through the use of the system.

Source:
Zahhly, J. and Tosi, H (2006). Journal of Organizational Behavior 10:1, 59-74,

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