Training Technology

3 LMS Features That Help With Upskilling Employees

Published by in Training Technology

Does your skill supply fall short of your skill demand? These three LMS features can help you start closing the skills gap at your organization.

Person with learning management tool on their phone

In a recent Capterra survey, more than 900 employees were asked if they’ve had to develop any new work skills since the COVID-19 pandemic started; 49% said no.

This isn’t just a U.S. problem. We also surveyed small-business employees in eight other countries and many reported similar results. In Germany 70% said they haven’t had to develop any new skills, in France 64% said no, and in Canada 54%.

The real eye-opener comes when you pair these findings with the fact that the total number of skills required for a single job has been increasing by 10% year over year since 2017 (Gartner, full content available to clients).

With the need for new skills growing and employee self-development at a stalemate, businesses have to start upskilling their workforce. And with more than a a third of employees currently working remotely, the most logical option is using technology to do it.

3 LMS features to incorporate into your upskilling strategy

In our survey, 57% of U.S. employees said that they’re currently using at least one learning management tool.

Small business learning management tool usage

If your business is one of those that already has a learning management system (LMS), you’re in a good spot. An LMS is a powerful tool that can help you upskill your employees if you use it correctly.

That’s why we’re here: to help you get the most out of your LMS tool. Below, we’ll cover three LMS features that can aid your upskilling efforts, as well as how to incorporate them into your upskilling strategy.

Are you part of the 42% that don’t have a learning management tool? Learn more about these systems—including what they do and how much they cost—with our complete buyers guide.


1. Personalized learning paths: Build a step-by-step plan for your employees’ development goals

Unfortunately, there is no “one course fits all” approach to upskilling your workforce. Even within the same department, employees may need to focus on obtaining different skill sets in order to meet your organization’s needs.

Luckily, learning management tools frequently include a feature that sets learners on their own personalized learning paths. In some cases learners can create these paths themselves, while in others admins set the paths for them.

For example, SAP’s Litmos has a function called competencies, which gives admins the ability to identify skill gaps in their learners and create a training program to fill those gaps.

Adding skills via the competencies function in SAP Litmos
A list of skills added to a learner’s path to competency in SAP Litmos (Source)

How to incorporate personalized learning paths into your upskilling strategy:

When it comes to creating a personal learning plan for your employees, there are two things to consider: 1) what skills your employee wants to develop and 2) which of these skills could contribute to business needs down the line.

A great first step is asking employees to create their own individual development plans (IDP). Once done, have them share the IDP with their manager who can help determine which skills would be the most beneficial to pursue.


2. Course libraries: Save time with premade courses from subject matter experts

Creating a custom course takes time and creativity, not to mention extensive knowledge in the subject you’re trying to teach to others. In most cases, there is already a virtual course out there for the skill or subject you want to impart on your employees.

In fact, many learning management systems come with a library of professionally designed premade courses that can help you upskill your workforce with minimal effort.

Skillsoft is just one example of an LMS with a robust course library specifically designed for upskilling your employees. It offers courses on everything from cloud development to customer service.

A Skillsoft course on Agile development
A course on Agile development from Skillsoft (Source)

Some LMS course libraries even give your employees access to courses that help them obtain certifications in their field such as Six Sigma, Project Management Professional (PMP), or Professional in Human Resources (PHR).

How to incorporate the use of course libraries into your upskilling strategy:

Start by getting a feel for what courses related to the subject your employee is pursuing are out there. Learning management systems with course libraries will frequently group related courses together, which makes this a fairly simple task.

If your LMS has personal learning path functionality, add relevant courses to your employee’s path in the order that makes the most sense. If it doesn’t, your next best option is to design your own path by listing courses in the order they should be completed in a shared document.


3. Social learning: Boost knowledge retention through collaboration

Simply put, social learning is learning that happens from or with others. In a traditional learning environment, social learning happens from pure circumstance; a classmate may ask a question that you benefit from hearing the answer to. In a remote context, social learning has to happen much more deliberately. Luckily, many learning management tools are designed with social learning in mind.

Docebo, for example, encourages learners to connect with subject matter experts through its “Ask The Expert” functionality. Other learning management systems have discussion boards, internal messaging capabilities, and gamification functions such as leaderboards that give learners a virtual community to bounce ideas off of.

Docebo's "Ask The Expert" feature
“Ask The Expert,” part of the social learning functionality of Docebo (Source)

How to incorporate social learning into your upskilling strategy:

Social learning should be woven throughout your employee’s upskilling journey. From a managerial standpoint, the best thing to do is connect your employee to their coworkers with experience in the skill or subject they are pursuing.

From there, encourage them to take advantage of any social learning functionality available in your LMS.


Additional steps to make sure your upskilling strategy is airtight

When it comes to building an effective upskilling program, Gartner recommends combining individual study with social learning and reinforcing both with a real-world application of the knowledge gained (full content available to clients).

On a similar note, the 70:20:10 method is a principle based around the idea that 70% of learning comes from experience, 20% comes from working with others, and 10% comes from formal training or learning.

All of the above means that your upskilling strategy needs a mix of formal, social, and hands-on learning. Your LMS can help you achieve two of the three, but the hands-on part is up to you.

Here are some final recommendations to round out your upskilling process:

  • Once your employee has closed the tab on their eLearning lesson, give them an opportunity to work on an assignment or project that will help them put their new knowledge to work.
  • If possible, pair the learner up with an experienced employee who can help them apply the concepts they learned to work-related scenarios.
  • Follow up with your employee about their progress on a routine basis and make sure they feel confident with their skill set.

Related resources:

From identifying what skills would be most valuable to your business to finding the right learning platform, there is a lot left to learn about upskilling your workforce. We’ve rounded up a few resources to keep your reading going:

Note: The applications selected in this article are examples to show a feature in context and are not intended as endorsements or recommendations. They have been obtained from sources believed to be reliable at the time of publication.

Survey methodology

The Capterra HR in the New Era Survey 2021 was conducted in January 2021. We surveyed employees at businesses with 2-500 employees in the following countries:

  • Germany (1,098 responses)
  • United Kingdom (1,050 responses)
  • Canada (1,012 responses)
  • France (1,001 responses)
  • Italy (1,000 responses)
  • Spain (999 responses)
  • Brazil (994 responses)
  • United States (922 responses)
  • Netherlands (883 responses)

The responses are a representative sample (by age and gender) of each country’s population. We worded the questions to ensure that each respondent fully understood the meaning and the topic at hand.

Looking for Learning Management System software? Check out Capterra's list of the best Learning Management System software solutions.

About the Author

Sierra Rogers

Sierra Rogers

Sierra Rogers is a senior content writer at Capterra, covering human resources, eLearning, and nonprofits with expertise in recruiting and learning and development strategies. With a background in the tech and fashion industries, she has extensive experience keeping her finger on the pulse of the latest trends and reporting on how they impact our world. Sierra enjoys cooking and dining out, collecting vintage designer goods, and spending time with her pets at home in Austin, Texas.


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