A Knowledge Base Is a Must-Have LMS Feature. Here’s Why.

Your LMS — your learning management system — is the heart of your eLearning ecosystem. That means it should be the first place learners turn when they have a question, can’t remember how to do something, or seek deeper knowledge about your products, services, and processes.

Your SmarterU LMS understands the need for a single learner-friendly library to house all of your online training, workflow learning, and performance support content and resources: That’s why a key LMS feature is the ability to implement one or more knowledge bases.

What is a knowledge base?

A knowledge base is a collection of documentation and resources on a specific topic or area of expertise. This essential LMS feature extends your library of SCORM training courses by connecting it with the entire organization’s institutional knowledge, in a wide variety of formats:

  • Training course materials
  • Documents & manuals
  • Articles, guides & white papers
  • Spreadsheets
  • Flow charts & process diagrams
  • Templates for PowerPoints, proposals, and printable forms 
  • Product specs and info sheets
  • Infographics & FAQs
  • Videos
  • Podcasts
  • Records of chats
  • Recorded webinars and virtual classroom sessions

 … and much, much more.

The audience for your knowledge base might be internal — your employees and learners; or external — your suppliers, customers, franchisees, or contractors. Either way, the knowledge base offers a one-stop shop for any information and assistance they need.

Benefits of implementing a knowledge base

Close-up of a hand touching a digital tablet, laying on a table. Overlaid on the tablet is a search bar and various icons: a video play button; speech bubbles; a key; a target with an arrow; an envelope; arrows.

Providing assistance can be costly, whether in-house or to customers or partners, especially when the same questions come up again and again. A knowledge base solves that problem. For common issues that are relatively easy to resolve, providing easy access via a knowledge base can save enormous amounts of support personnel time and resources. It provides the type of assistance your learners, customers, and partners want:

Self-directed

Today’s learner is accustomed to self-directed learning and nearly always tries to find answers on their own before calling on other assistance. A searchable, mobile-friendly knowledge base, integrated with your SmarterU LMS, meets them more than halfway.

Consistent and correct

You vet the content that’s in your knowledge base and update it as needed. The information learners find there is current, accurate, and of high quality. Each learner or customer with the same question or issue gets the same response, ensuring consistency and quality.

Always available

SMEs, support personnel, and your favorite colleague might not be available at the moment of need, but the knowledge base is always on. Help is available in every time zone on every day of the year.

Familiar interface

Using the same familiar interface that they already navigate for training and certification, and a powerful search tool, your learners can easily find the information they need when they need it.

Reinforces training

A knowledge base is an essential element of a continuous learning and knowledge retention strategy. It enables learners to look up and review material they’ve covered in training, seek deeper learning, and reinforce their knowledge.

Meets learner preferences

Your knowledge base can include materials in a variety of formats and media, allowing learners to choose the materials that fit their learning preferences.

Setting up your SmarterU knowledge base

Your SmarterU knowledge base is completely integrated with your training content and other LMS features and functions. You can even configure permissions to control access  for different populations of learners or customers.

Within the knowledge base, you can create a structure with folders and levels of content arranged by topic, type, or other configuration that makes sense for your organization and target audience. Our implementation team will guide you through choosing the optimal setup — and help you set it up and populate it with your documents, resources, and content. Your knowledge base can include PDF documents, video files and links, and other types of content, such as wikis.

When planning a knowledge base, consider maintenance — and be sure to allocate resources for periodic review and updating curated resources.

Also, consider the learner experience: You can design templates for content creators to use that ask them to tag content with common search keywords, for example, to make content easy to find and use. Ensure that new content is added frequently and consider offering a way for learners to request content on particular topics or connect and collaborate with colleagues while using resources from the knowledge base.

SmarterU’s social features and forthcoming integration with Microsoft Teams make it easy for learners to integrate social and collaborative learning into their training — and access the knowledge base while using their favorite social channels to work with their peers.

Common uses for knowledge bases

Let your imagination run wild as you consider how to enhance your organization’s online training and performance support with a knowledge base. Some common uses include:

  1. A central repository for product specs, enabling sales professionals and customer service personnel a consistent,  up-to-date reference
  2. An onboarding and human resources support library of forms that new employees need to download and fill out as well as forms covering ongoing needs, such as requests for time off, benefits enrollments and updates, etc. 
  3. A repository for recorded webinars and corporate updates
  4. Reference documents, including infographics and flow diagrams, explaining common procedures
  5. Archived newsletters and other regular communications for internal or external audiences, including info about promotions and product releases
  6. New product and service offerings, such as recipes and descriptions of the season's new menu items, specs on the seasonal yard-care equipment, etc. 
  7. Easy access, central location for safety data sheets (SDSs), standardized information sheets on the safe use and handling of chemicals and other hazardous products

Let our expert learning consultants help!

Enlisting the help of an expert learning consultant to design and implement your knowledge base will reduce the stress and ensure that you end up with the optimal solution for your learners. Contact us today to find out more about implementing a knowledge base in your SmarterU LMS.

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