LMS: Evolution or Extinction – 8 trends that change everything (Part 3 of 8): Compliance

Trend #3: Compliance
(Part 3 of 8)

Don’t Be Caught Unawares

Multinational and global companies deal with different regulations and various regulators around the world. Training records are nearly always reviewed during an inspection or audit by regulatory authorities to check that employees have received the appropriate training and their competencies or certifications are current and valid.

SOPs & Training Records

In environments where personnel are required to work according to written procedures, documented instructions or standard operating procedures (SOPs), there needs to be a set of guidelines that define the tasks to be done and what has to be documented to demonstrate that the activity was actually performed. If any deviations to the procedure are made, they have to be documented at the time of the deviation, not later.

Training plays an important part when implementing a new or updated SOP since the training is what teaches employees on the new procedures. This is where the learning management system (LMS) plays a vital role — being able to schedule and track the training of individuals on the SOP’s. It is critical that organizations are able to keep accurate records of individuals and their training plans.

Electronic versus Paper

There is no regulatory requirement that dictates whether organizations must use paper or electronic media to document their personnel training records; it is left to individual companies to make that decision. The major differences between the two media are:

Item Electronic Paper
Training Plan Generated in LMS, stored easily and accessible to all appropriate personnel Manually written and requires physical presence of the person to read the document
Training Class Individual signs on to a training class and is recorded in the LMS database Presence is recorded manually on an attendance sheet
Training Completion Completion is automatically recorded in the LMS database Course completion certifications have to be gathered and recorded manually
Real-time Data Always current Not always up-to-date as records are manually updated at a later point after the training is completed
Training Records Can easily view records online or printed as a report Reports have to be manually generated from certificates that have been gathered, which may be incomplete
Data Integrity Before each important operation in the LMS, an electronic signature (e-signature) is required before the operation can happen Manually signed or initialed documents are not easy to verify or prove as valid
Version Control Electronic training records are accurately updated with the  exact version of courses taken; course revisions can automatically trigger required training to maintain compliance Paper-based document control is prone to mistakes; paper records are difficult to control, may be lost/misplaced or changed without anyone knowing and version control is hard
Audits Changes made to sensitive data are audited in the database with info on the type of change, who made it and when. Changes include any creation, update or deletion of sensitive data. Physical checklists, manually recorded

Compliance-LMS3of7
LMS Compliance Considerations

  • e-signatures in audit tracking
  • competencies and certifications
  • proactive reporting, dashboards, and analytics
  • easy access to compliance content

Given the above, are compliance checklists and reactive reporting enough from a risk perspective versus true workforce readiness and proactive compliance dashboards?

This is the third of an eight-part series on LMS: Evolution or Extinction — 8 Trends that Change Everything.