The Learning Management System or LMS originated from the requirement of being able to store and deliver eLearning courses to the workforce, via the internet and company intranets. This, alongside the introduction and adoption of the AICC and SCORM standards for eLearning, became the core purpose and the only functionality of the LMS to be understood and effectively used by the organizations. The LMS of “Now” is a different beast that has evolved and grown to offer a whole lot more, however, the conventional mindset and perception about the LMS has stunted its use and limited organizations from harnessing its true power.
So, what is this LMS of “Now”? What else can it do? How do we leverage all its features to create a learning ecosystem that not only manages the ‘training’ part but more importantly, enables a learning driven workforce? Let’s take a look.
The great divide between eLearning and Classroom is a thing of the past. The LMS of “Now” brings them together, allowing the management of learning without differentiation! Its capabilities extend to the management of more complex and dynamic resources including training inventory, trainer and external vendors, training rooms and venues. Training management typically involved juggling multiple training programmes, planning and administering training sessions through the year, running, tracking and recording myriad assessments pre and post sessions and making available a host of training materials was always a nightmare. Well, at least till the LMS of “Now” showed up and made it so easy! It even manages attendance and reporting, send email notifications and reminders – if used correctly; you have a winner on your hands!
Globalization and ‘virtual proximity’ has become the environment in which we live and work today; and being able to connect people across the world is an integral part of this. The ability to talk to and see each other virtually, conduct meetings, share materials and resources and yes, even run training sessions has not only advanced at a rapid pace but has become a necessity.
The LMS of ‘Now’ have either their own virtual classroom technologies or have ready APIs for the most popular ones. A few clicks allows you to manage this from within your LMS, enables you to expand and extend organizational reach and access to training resources, conduct ‘live’ training sessions and much more. And because it is all integrated in your LMS you can keep an eye on things through the reports the LMS of ‘Now’ generates.
You Tube, TED, the Khan Academy, have made videos a way of life and a significant part of the learning process. The LMS of ‘Now’ allows you to pull together all these exciting mediums of communication to provide a learning experience that is richer and far more interactive than ever before – well at least for now! Bandwidth and video technology have made this so easy and we, in the LMS world, have kept pace, making the incorporation and use of video an integral part of the LMS of ‘Now’! Are you enriching your learning environments with powerful videos?
Informal and Social Learning
In 2009, we were talking about Social Learning and its place in workplace environment; today it is no longer a concept or a trend – it is a reality. Social Learning goes beyond the conventional method of storing content and creating access rules around it. It gives the power of creating content [that helps others learn] to the learners themselves. Despite having a multitude of courses, videos, etc. available as part of training material, learning by sharing is certainly very powerful. The exchange of anecdotal and real world experiences, tips and tricks and connecting with each other in real-time makes learning contextually rich and meaningful, allowing learners to collaborate and learn from one another. Communities around subject areas, common interests and better still, linked to training resources available on the LMS, help us create a sustainable pool of knowledge that makes the training function itself very effective. It also takes the concept of performance support to a new level as learners can find what they need and when they need it easily and instantly.
A sea change in the way we learn has been the empowering of the learners. The LMS of ‘Now’ can provide the learning environment for learners to ‘structure and assemble’ their own learning by pulling learning materials and resources together to form a curriculum that is customised to their learning needs and indeed to their learning styles. It allows the learners to strive for improvement and personal development that creates a more productive and happy workforce.
Oh yes! The LMS of ‘Now’ still does eLearning too….!