Implementing a Learning Management System is still considered a step only reachable for large construction companies with budgets big enough to invest in the technology.
However, as we move into a more tech-accessible world, that step is getting much smaller; opening doors for smaller construction companies when it comes to complex tenders and, ultimately, changing how we demonstrate and share knowledge and expertise across the industry.
Although Learning Management Systems (LMS) have been used by large corporate organisations for the last few years to document, track, report and help deliver training requirements, their use by the SME market has been extremely limited because of the high cost of implementing the software.
Add to this a lack of awareness amongst smaller construction firms on the benefits of an online learning management process and it is no great surprise that LMS platform shave not yet shaken up the sector in any notable way.
We believe that 2017 will be the year this starts to change.
Technology develops and moves quickly and there has been a significant shift to what are termed disruptor technologies; systems which break the traditional mould and create an accessible, affordable model that is attractive to small businesses.
This trend has created a desire for better business support products and software in the SME market and presented a suitable platform for training specialists to build an LMS which works for micro businesses and the lower end of the SME sector.
When we think about productivity we think of improved manufacturing processes and lean working. Until now, training, knowledge sharing and learning have been mutually exclusive from productivity but this is where the adoption of an LMS would be game changing for small businesses.
Take the requirement to record the individual competencies of workers. This is often still completed using paper records, stored in ling cabinets and manually checked. It is time consuming and inefficient.
Adopting an LMS would automate this process, turning half a day of admin into a few clicks which brings all the information to hand. A prime example of how this could bene t an SME is during the complex tender process; within an LMS, competencies would be recorded and easily accessible for each member involved in the project being tendered, including all relevant dates, levels and certi cations.
It makes completing specific sections of the tender process far simpler and, therefore, much more appealing to smaller construction firms who may have been put off by the time investment needed to collate a large volume of information.
Easily accessible information is one of the core benefits of any quality LMSand that should also extend to sharing information internally.
A well designed and implemented LMS is suitable for promoting best practice, sharing updates and giving staff the ability to take responsibility for their own training. New techniques can be captured on smartphone cameras, screen grabs or PowerPoints and uploaded and shared with all staff in just a few seconds.
These new capabilities support and reinforce more traditional face-to-face training (which still has a place in construction) allowing staff to access the latest information directly at a time that suits them as well as co-ordinating more formal, classroom-based learning.
This ownership over learning is all but unheard of within the construction industry, which is why the advent of Learning Management Systems is such an influential development for SME businesses for both their external and internal processes.
The current systems launching in the market are also scalable, which means that, as an organisation grows, the LMS will grow with it; continually supporting and meeting the changing learning needs of staff and other stakeholders.
The wider availability of Learning Management Systems at a price point which is viable for smaller businesses is delivering a more level playing eld; allowing SMEs to compete for larger contracts which would previously only have been available to large-scale organisations. As we progress into 2017, we will see a growing awareness and adoption of these platforms within the sector as business leaders realise the multiple benefits an LMS has to offer.
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