Site icon By Craig Weiss

Employees and Your Learning System

The other day, I went to Tombstone, the tourist trap of the Old West. Of all the amazing things you can see, and get, uh, ripped off (when did the Old West start pricing a meal like it was Vegas?), was the number of reenactors, walking around. I should note, that there is one street, that has remained the way Tombstone used to be, building wise, etc.

I digress.

Anyway, I assumed that all these people wearing clothing from the 1880s were employees. What I learned though, was that half of them were residents of Tombstone and surrounding areas, who everyday/weekend, dress up in their old west best, and walk around. Each of these people paid for their own costume, including those who actually are reenactors and those in the shops and restaurants.

I wondered to myself, what if Tombstone, purchased a learning system, to provide learning and training content to their employees, reenactors and even townsfolk on everything from customer service, to communication, to dealing with groups and teams?

Would they need certain functionality in the system for the days to come, or rely on what is in existence today or in the past?

Would they as frontline workers need classroom management or would vILT suffice? Would they want content/courses assigned to say only the Wyatt Earp lookalikes or for anyone who is a gunfighter? (I learned that the locals, were using real guns). For the professional workforce (i.e. in the office, or a part-time office via a hybrid workplace or working remote – hey who is to say Virgil Earp lookalikes prefer remote?), did they require certain functionality? The old west wasn’t known for internet connectivity, and even modern-day Tombstone looks like it isn’t on the bandwidth speed of many of us. Thus, issues such as video content and the ability to view it and perhaps read the transcripts would make sense.

Restaurants in the 1880s were mainly gambling halls, where they served food and a lot of people got killed, one in fact over asking a Clayton to have a drink with them. He declined, then shot him in the head.

If they had a learning system back then, they would have been able to keep metrics and reporting around such incidents, after all, the barkeep would need certain skills to uh, clean up.

Present Day

I hear all the time, features and functionality folks want in their learning system when it comes to employee training/learning. There are features who make absolutely complete sense, then there are others, who while, they have frontline workers, focus on capabilities for their in-house workforce (again, hybrid, all office or works remote).

Then there are people who seem so focused on security, they forget the basics, such as net connectivity issues (which is relevant) and support (another reason why the customer excellence pledge is so important).

Security? I know and understand why customers focus heavy on it, but be aware that the majority of vendors are on AWS, plus have 256 bit AES (minimum) and numerous fail safes. I’ve been in the e-learning industry for over 20 years (yowsa) and to date, I know of only one vendor in all those years, who has been hacked. They were not on AWS btw.

Thus, submitting to a vendor hundreds of questions around security, while understandable, isn’t necessary to that extent. I mention this, just as an fyi, and sure you can argue what does have to do with employee training and my learning system?

Well, from a security standpoint since most white-collar professionals (pre COVID) were already taking courses from home, and now they are definitely are either 100% or hybrid, and even those in the office, likely will still access the system from home, and/or courses, the security questions that must be asked include:

Reportedly, according to a source, the hacking breach that occurred with their system, the client wasn’t immediately notified.

Doc Holliday loved to gamble. But trust me on this one, he wouldn’t want to gamble here.

Employee Learning System Features you must have

This isn’t about “oh, maybe I need this, ” or “I do not need this now, maybe later” approach, because let’s remember a few items, we all tend to ignore (as the head of L&D, Training, etc.)

Onto the functionality.

If they are specific for say frontline and/or blue-collar you will see (F, BC). Otherwise, it is for all employees. I won’t be going into all the functionality a system has. Based on my data, overall industry-wise, I find that systems tend to be in the 85% range of features to one another. Now how good it is versus someone else is completely different.

Information is presented via the following

Learning Environment – This is what the Learner sees

Administration – The Administrator (if you have like a super admin, that is this person, it can also be sub-admins, but the main admin sets the rules)

Additional Functionality – Again, these are musts, and I will include a couple (I) which means ideal. One such is a custom domain. A vendor may say yes we have a custom domain, but that does not mean custom as in (i.e a true custom domain, like The majority of the time, what they are referring to is your name, then their name in the domain, like – For the record, you can purchase a custom domain for like $12 on most sites, and then a URL mask if they do the above with their name as part of the domain (the site hosting the domain, will have directions on how to do this). I had to go this route many times.

Learning Environment

How could anyone miss? The Earps and Doc Holiday are wearing black. Not visible, Kurt Russell.

I’m sure your learners feel the same way of the Claytons. Surprised, confused and realizing that it is a no win situation, but darn it, let’s go out with a bang. I refer to this, when it comes to the learning environment, after they log into the system. Who doesn’t love “I do not know how to navigate” inquiry or the “I can’t figure this out” retort. Then you have learners, who use only partially the front-end (what they see), and thus your data is skewed because they are ignoring all that wonderful assigned learning, just as the Claytons ignored the fact that they were up against serious gunslingers, and uh, Doc had a shotgun.

The front end of the system (i.e.) Learner side is crucial for employee training/learning regardless if the employee is white-collar professional, frontline or blue-collar. It is what they see first, every time they go into the system. It is where the courses/content they are taking, regardless if assigned or not, is placed. If there are playlists – they are there. Some vendors show progress bars, others show circles of progress, and plenty do neither.

Some learning environments have announcements for the employees on various subjects. Some LEs are widget based where the learner can change the placement or turn them off (admin decides). Other systems have LEs that can change in terms of where the widgets are placed or what is added – but it appears across the board for everyone, not individual.

I am a huge fan of a system whereas it has widgets or blocks, and the learner can move them around anywhere they want and add/remove. This is true personalized experience. The OK Corral picture above, and where these folks are placed is based on the personal experience of one said, Wyatt Earp, in the 1920s.

Learning Environment as a whole


Playlists/Channels with “assigned” (for those who want this), “recommended”, “most popular”, “based on skills of interest or skills tied to job role”.

You also want a system that has a clean and modern crisp look. This is what your employees see every day when searching the net, watching Netflix or visually experiencing. Cluttered never looks good. And a dated look, is well, dated.


This is the view and capabilities seen by the administrator. NOT THE LEARNER. Or James Earp, the one brother who wasn’t at the OK corral or Tombstone for that matter.


Classroom Management

If you have frontline workers, or blue-collar workers you must make sure to have a classroom management capability. Classroom management refers to physical ILT (Instructor Led-Training), on-site. This will be crucial for these employees. For your workplace professionals, not a need, but vILT (Virtual ILT) will be.

Classroom management features

Instructor View

Regardless if you are going on-site or vILT, always make sure your system has the following (all are essential for employees)

Some customers want the instructor to see some metrics. Again, this is doable via your administrator creating a rule around it, and what the instructor can access. Personally, I’m not a fan of this. I mean, you as the administrator can create a report and send it to them.

Manager View – A must for employee training/learning

And as noted above earlier, you can decide what the manager(s) see – so some might see all below, others may not – your choice.


Mobile as it relates to OJT

The internet is not the greatest when it comes to the warehouse, manufacturing site, plant, retail, restaurant, and so forth. Thus, a mobile app is crucial here. Remember when a vendor says mobile first! or Mobile Learning, it does not mean they have a mobile app. All it means is that you can access the system via a mobile web browser


Bottom Line

I could write a long list of everything you want in a system for employees, from reporting and metrics with segmentation – including KPIs, to a coaching capability (a nice plus for onboarding and frontline), to content curation, playlists, even machine learning. Skills is now a must – a reason I created a template specifically for skill capabilities in a learning system.

Event management is related around webinars and seminars (ILT), you want this. For frontline, you will want SMS notifications beyond just e-mail. Forget password is a must, same as self-registration. Social is a must, but how much you need is totally based on your employees.

Some systems offer communities tied to groups, the system itself, a piece of content, skills and so forth. These are nice to have, and can spur engagement, if they are utilized correctly. Compliance is essential if your are a company whereas employee compliance training is a requirement or in an industry whereas compliance attributes with a system is a must. Such as FS or Life Sciences.

There are two key takeaways in this post.

  1. The features and functionalities employees need and are must for you, are presented
  2. Tombstone wasn’t a great place if you decided that Morgan Earp was overrated as a gunslinger and that there is no way the rest of his brothers and Doc Holiday will show up to protect him, in a small area known as the OK Corral.

Only $10 to see the show.

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