Saturday, July 10, 2004

Searching for an LMS?

Do not let 'what is available' dictate the functionality that you need. There are dozens (probably hundreds) of LMSs out there, and the one you pick should be the one that does the things you NEED it to do, not the one that does lots of things that are cool. So don't buy features, buy benefits that mean something to you. And don't fall into the trap of screening LMSs by factors that may not be important to you just because those factors seem to be in vogue right now (e.g. "if it's not SCORM conformant I won't consider it") .

Define your LMS needs based on the service you want to provide, the data you want to capture, the reports you want to run, the admin capabilities you want to use, the learning models and learner dynamics you want to support, the authoring systems and processes you want to use, the course vendors you want to be compatible with, the upgrade strategy you want to follow, and the ERP/HRIS systems you want to integrate with.

You'll find something off-the-shelf or ASP delivered that fits your needs. There is nothing especially complicated about coding an LMS, so I'd go beyond that and look at what it might take to develop your LMS internally, or what it might take to have an outside contractor build one for you. From what I have seen, implementing an LMS can cost more than the LMS itself, and the life expectancy of many branded LMSs is low -- in less than three years many companies find they need to get a new one. So having an internally developed LMS, and the expertise in your IT group to maintain and enhance it, may be a logical thing to do.

Opting for an ERP-systems provided LMS is another choice, but many training departments are wary of it. They are skeptical of the learning expertise of SAP or PeopleSoft. They assume they will be expensive and inflexible. And it will mean getting more involved with IT in the purchasing, implementation, and ongoing management phases than many traing people feel comfortable with. Get over it. In the medium term, learning management IS an ERP function, training needs to focus on its training expertise, IT needs to develop its e-learning systems expertise, and the sooner this all comes to pass the better.

1 comment:

amit said...

pls can anybuddy tell me the diffrence between various features of various lms