Webinars and virtual classrooms (sometimes referred to together as "live online learning") have always been a viable part of an organization's training delivery options. But with COVID-19, the need for social distancing, and a lot of workers working and receiving training from home, webinars and virtual classrooms are being used more and more for workforce training.
That's led some organizations to wonder about how webinars can work with learning management systems (LMS) and, in particular, whether you can use an LMS to assign webinars, grant credit to workers for completing webinars, and store records for those employee completion records after webinars have been conducted.
Short answer: yes. We'll explain more in the article below.
Let's start by defining our terms:
Learning management system (LMS)--this is a web-based software application that allows you to import and/or create training; assign training; deliver some of that training online; manage training that occurs offline, such as instructor-led classroom training; create completion records for training; store those training completion records; and run reports on training completion and other training-related metrics. For more, check out our What Is an LMS article?
Webinar--A webinar is what you're thinking it is. It's a way to talk with and see people in different locations over the internet. It allows for basic chat functionality, some Q&A, and screen sharing. Webinars are best used for broadcasting information as opposed to training and skill development.
Virtual classroom--A virtual classroom is like a webinar but a lot more design and effort has been put into it in order to duplicate many of the active, evidence-based learning activities that occur in effective classroom training. You can conduct a virtual classroom with the same platform that you use to conduct webinars, but you've got to do that up-front design to figure out how to facilitate real learning that leads to skill development and later use of those skills on the job. Read this article to learn more about the distinction between webinars and virtual classrooms (and good luck in your efforts to create virtual classrooms that really help your business attain its organizational goals).
So if you have been doing a lot of instructor-led, classroom-style training (ILT), you may wonder if you can convert some or all of that training to webinars and virtual classrooms and use an LMS to assign and track employee completion of those live online learning events. And the answer is yes.
There are three basic models for doing this, depending on the LMS you have:
Each of these options are pretty simple and will help you integrate webinars and virtual classrooms into your training. And that ability to track completion records for webinars and virtual classrooms may be especially important for you if you're dealing with compliance-based training.