Learning Management Systems: Helping Improve Employee Training Retention


You invest in training your staff, but the question always remains: Are they really applying what they’ve learned? Employee training retention, and subsequent application, is always at the heart of training strategies.  Learners are usually “pumped up and charged” immediately following a training session, but how do you ensure they carry that training and apply it on the job – weeks, and even months later?

Learning Management Systems (LMSs) can play a vital role in employee training retention.

LMS and Effective Employee Training Retention

Throwing frequent training at a group of people isn’t a great measure of how well trained your employees are. It’s all about making training “stick” that counts! With the help of an LMS, employee training retention, and the subsequent use of that training in the workplace, can be ensured.

Here’s why:

1. Personalized training

Most online training deals with learners as a homogenous group. This approach doesn’t take into consideration individual learning preferences. For example, ignoring a learner’s preferred way to learn, type of content they wish to ‘digest’, or when, where or how they want to learn, can impact their attitude towards learning – and hence retention. Even Facebook founder, billionaire Marc Zuckerberg is betting big on personalized learning (albeit in an academic context!).

LMSs make designating specific training for individual or groups of users quick and easy. For example, a group of sales users could all be assigned a course library with sales-specific training while the customer support team only sees a library of customer relation-building courses. Both sets of courses are available within one LMS, but admins can specify who sees what making the learning process more personalized.

2. Better retention assurance

When it comes to monitoring and assessing a learner’s post-training job-readiness, canned online courseware often lacks specificity. The use of LMSs to create personalized learning paths for individual learners, means that those paths can then be monitored too – which is often difficult to do in the non-LMS world.

When the LMS detects particular lack of training absorption or understanding from a learner, personalized remedial courseware can be introduced to ensure learning gaps are quickly plugged. This unique feature goes a long way in assuring employee training retention.

3. Frequency matters

The old adage that “Practice makes perfect”, is more easily done than said using LMSs. There are ample studies to support the fact that frequent drills and tests help with training retention. However, doing so in a non-LMS training environment is often a challenge for time-constrained instructors and course moderators.

With an LMS’s ability to more frequently “whip up” unique pre-programmed tests and retention exercises, employee training retention initiatives can be deliberate and targeted.

4. Leveraging data to support retention

Most LMSs include a treasure trove of data, which they generate, store and analyze through various training phases and milestones. This data can be leveraged to highlight aspects of each learner’s learning and retention challenges. Personalized training retention strategies, such as revisions, re-training or remedial training, can then be put in place to facilitate employee training retention.

5. Blending learning needs

Training retention is a direct function of how well the content is understood and absorbed by the employee. Some employees respond well to training where they have an opportunity to interact with “real people” – other employees, supervisors, instructors. Others learn well in a self-paced online environment.

With LMS training modules, blended learning courses can easily be configured, giving employees the best of all worlds. Additionally, the use of multi-media content, live casting, and on-demand audio and video content makes employee training retention and post-training readiness a key focus of LMS solutions.

6. Real-world experiences

There is a Chinese saying (famously attributed to Chinese philosophers and thinkers Confucius or Xunzi): “I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand”. The “Gamification” of learning, and the ability to use an LMS for competitions and/or role playing in training, goes a long way in preparing employees for real-world experiences.

Employee training retention is about ensuring key concepts and principles are taken away by each learner when they complete their training. LMS-based interactive training approaches such as these will help employees remember and understand their training when they go back to the work place.

With an LMS, training doesn’t just become something that the company invests in to enhance employee’s abilities as high-performing workers. It becomes part of the company’s continuous process improvement initiatives, and employee training retention is crucial to those improvements.

Measuring learning retention

So how do you measure employee training retention?

Well, The Kirkpatrick Model offers us a highly scientific approach for doing just that! It is a measurement model created by Dr. Donald Kirkpatrick, which applies its principles across a continuum of pre, intra and post training events, to judge the effectiveness of training. In summary, the Model uses a 4-level measurement system:

  • Level 1 – Reaction assesses the learners’ opinion of the training
  • Level 2 – Learning measures whether learners learned what has been taught
  • Level 3 – Behavior is the measure of employee training retention through on-the-job application of knowledge and skills that were learned
  • Level 4 – Results quantifies the overall impact that training has on the organization

Measuring the impact of employee training retention, through credible approaches such as the Kirkpatrick Model, not only validates a particular training initiative or approach; but the results can also be used for Business Cases and Return on Investment (ROI) justifications for future training.

Employee retention versus training retention

There is an old joke about training and employee retention, which goes something like this:

Two executives were overheard talking at a training event for their employees:

“What if we invest all of this money to train them, and they leave?” asked one. The other replied “What if we didn’t invest in training them, and they all decide to stay?”

There is a Catch-22 situation in training and retaining good employees. Retaining good employees is vital for the success and survival of any organization. However, turning “ordinary” employees into “good” ones depends on the training a company provides to its staff, and the opportunities to apply information from these training courses. Learning Management Systems are the best tools available on the market to ensure employee training retention.