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Don't limit your LMS for training. Use it to uncover new leaders.

Rita Azevedo
Strategic Learning Partner Manager

Your learning management system (LMS) might deliver your inhouse training sessions perfectly. But if that’s all you’re using it for, you’re missing a trick.

Your LMS can be so much more. The right LMS can be the conduit to creating a company-wide culture of knowledge sharing and decentralized learning.

A decentralized learning culture needs experts. It needs committed learners who can see what the business needs. People who want to stand up and say “I know this, why don’t I share it with my peers and build seniority while I’m at it?” With the right LMS and processes in place, you’ll find new leaders and empower them to take the spotlight. Here’s how.

Find employees who want to lead

Start with your most engaged experts

Subject Matter Experts, or Experts for short, power decentralized learning culture. Finding Experts, in my experience, is surprisingly easy.

Simply see who’s joining optional training sessions, who’s asking interesting questions. Ask team leaders — who’s looking for promotion? Who wants more visibility?

People invested in their own learning and development are more likely to be interested in a new opportunity to share their knowledge. By cultivating Experts, you’re allowing people’s skills to shine. You’re allowing people to share their expertise and step into leadership. Your new leaders can bring your vision to life.

Encourage more experts with career development

If you want more employees to share what they know, connect it to your performance development strategy. Hours spent joining, creating, and leading training could become part of performance assessment; feedback from training sessions could impact learner’s performance reviews. This shows your employees that performance is about more than hitting KPIs — it’s also about competence and contribution.

What better way to support career development than lowering the bar to leadership? 94% of employees would stay at a company longer if their company invested in their career. Your LMS should be able to help you here — not only by empowering people to share expertise easily, but also by demonstrating the impact of each leader. We’re showing how progress is rewarded. The easier it is for an employee to see their impact through learning and sharing, the more likely they will keep doing it.

Unlock expertise with frictionless tools

Your Experts need the best tools to create the content you need. That means our L&D tools must be accessible and intuitive – a pleasure to use.

Fellow design theory nerds know the lessons of Donald Norman. In his seminal work ‘Design Theory’, Norman uses the example of poor door handle design. How many times have you pulled a door handle towards you, only to realize it’s a push door? So annoying, right? But when a designer uses a push-plate on a push door, the door is completely frictionless to use. It’s a gift to every person who uses it.

The same logic applies to an LMS. As soon as learners identify a knowledge gap, they know that they have the tools to help their team to move forwards. As they log into the LMS, your learners should find the templates they need to create the training. The UX and UI should be optimized so that your new leaders can simply create a new learning, without needing extensive training and support from L&D.

For many of us, the hardest part of leading is standing up in front of our peers. All while navigating multiple tools. It can be incredibly stressful. You only need one bad experience for people never to return. So look for an LMS platform which builds in frictionless facilitation tools. Then allow your new leaders to deliver their training with ease, all with minimal help from L&D.

Enable quantity and quality

I sometimes hear concerns that decentralized learning programs can allow poor quality content to slip through the net. But when we set our learners up for success, the quality will follow.

In a decentralized learning culture, part of L&D’s role grows into finding and growing new leaders. We guide the new Expert through their first experiences with content creation. We can scale the output of learning across the company, allowing everyone to increase their knowledge.

In practice, that means L&D creates course templates. We host facilitation training sessions. We teach our aspiring leaders how to make their content inspiring, interactive, and engaging. We make it possible for everyone to create – but not without one final approval. We teach every new Expert to understand what success looks like. We coach new leaders to success and drive business success.

The best part? When L&D adopts this coaching role, we also expand the scope and skills of our own discipline. And that’s a beautiful thing.

Open the door to continuous learning

By investing our time in building new leaders, L&D can launch a true learning culture that facilitates and enables continuous learning. We can facilitate a culture that allows people to know that their voice is wanted and needed. We can make sure that engaged learners and teachers reap the results of their efforts.

Allow your Experts their chance to shine. Give them the opportunity to own the spotlight. Lowering the barrier for people to step up is powerful. Make it easy.

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