Learning management system

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Jump to: navigation, search

A learning management system (LMS) is software for delivering, tracking and managing training. LMSs range from systems for managing training records to software for distributing courses over the Internet and offering features for online collaboration. In many instances, corporate training departments purchase LMSs to automate record-keeping as well as the registration of employees for classroom and online courses. Student self-service (e.g., self-registration on instructor-led training), training workflow (e.g., user notification, manager approval, wait-list management), the provision of on-line learning (e.g., Computer-Based Training, read & understand), on-line assessment, management of continuous professional education (CPE), collaborative learning (e.g., application sharing, discussion threads), and training resource management (e.g., instructors, facilities, equipment), are dimensions to Learning Management Systems.

Most LMSs are web-based to facilitate access to learning content and administration. LMSs are used by regulated industries (e.g. financial services and biopharma) for compliance training.

Some LMS providers include "performance management systems," which encompass employee appraisals, competency management, skills-gap analysis, succession planning, and multi-rater assessments (i.e., 360 degree reviews).

For the commercial market, some Learning and Performance Management Systems include recruitment and reward functionality.

LMSs are based on a variety of development platforms, from Java EE based architectures to Microsoft .NET, and usually employ the use of a database back-end. While most systems are commercially developed and frequently have non-free software licenses or restrict access to their source code, free and open-source models do exist. Other than the most simple, basic functionality, LMSs cater to, and focus on, different educational, administrative, and deployment requirements.


[edit] Characteristics

LMSs can cater to different educational, administrative, and deployment requirements. While an LMS for corporate learning, for example, may share many characteristics with an LMS, or virtual learning environment, used by educational institutions, they each meet unique needs. The virtual learning environment used by universities and colleges allow instructors to manage their courses and exchange information with students for a course that in most cases will last several weeks and will meet several times during those weeks. In the corporate setting a course may be much shorter, completed in single instructor-led or online session.

The characteristics shared by both types of LMSs include:

  • Manage users, roles, courses, instructors, and facilities and generate reports
  • Course calendar
  • Learning Path
  • Student messaging and notifications
  • Assessment/testing capable of handling student pre/post testing
  • Display scores and transcripts
  • Grading of coursework and roster processing, including waitlisting
  • Web-based or blended course delivery

Characteristics more specific to corporate learning, which sometimes includes franchisees or other business partners, include:

  • Autoenrollment (enrolling Students in courses when required according to predefined criteria, such as job title or work location)
  • Manager enrollment and approval
  • Boolean definitions for prerequisites or equivalencies
  • Integration with performance tracking and management systems
  • Planning tools to identify skill gaps at departmental and individual level
  • Curriculum, required and elective training requirements at an individual and organizational level
  • Grouping students according to demographic units (geographic region, product line, business size, etc.)
  • Assign corporate and partner employees to more than one job title at more than one demographic unit

[edit] Learning content management system

A learning content management system (LCMS) is a related technology to the learning management system (e.g., Murray Goldberg's WebCT), in that it is focused on the development, management and publishing of the content that will typically be delivered via an LMS. An LCMS is a multi-user environment where developers may create, store, reuse, manage, and deliver digital learning content from a central object repository. The LMS cannot create and manipulate courses; it cannot reuse the content of one course to build another. The LCMS, however, can create, manage and deliver not only training modules but also manage and edit all the individual pieces that make up a catalog of training. LCMS applications allow users to create, import, manage, search for and reuse small units or 'chunks' of digital learning content/assets, commonly referred to as learning objects. These assets may include media files developed in other authoring tools, assessment items, simulations, text, graphics or any other object that makes up the content within the course being created. An LCMS manages the process of creating, editing, storing and delivering e-learning content, ILT materials and other training support deliverables such as job aids.[citation needed]

The components of an LCMS are:

  • content authoring/editing
  • the ability to acquire and ingest externally developed assets
  • a centralized learning repository (ex. Question Pool, Shared Documents Library)
  • assessment development
  • versioning and history
  • metadata / taxonomy support
  • support for publishing of web, CD, print, presentation requirements associated with e-learning or ILT
  • standards support
  • development process management
  • a dynamic delivery interface; and,
  • student administration tools

[edit] Learning management systems (LMS) vs. learning content management systems (LCMS)

In addition to managing the administrative functions of online learning, some systems also provide tools to deliver and manage instructor-led synchronous and asynchronous online training based on learning object methodology. These systems are called Learning content management systems or LCMSs. An LCMS provides tools for authoring and re-using or re-purposing content (mutated learning objects) MLO as well as virtual spaces for student interaction (such as discussion forums and live chat rooms). Despite this distinction, the term LMS is often used to refer to both an LMS and an LCMS, although the LCMS is a further development of the LMS. Due to this conformity issue, the acronym Clcims (Computer Learning Content Information Management System) is now widely used to create a uniform phonetic way of referencing any learning system software based on advanced learning technology methodology.

In essence, an LMS is software for planning, delivering, and managing learning events within an organization, including online, virtual classroom, and instructor-led courses. For example, an LMS can simplify global certification efforts, enable entities to align learning initiatives with strategic goals, and provide a means of enterprise-level skills management. The focus of an LMS is to manage students, keeping track of their progress and performance across all types of training activities. It performs administrative tasks, such as reporting to instructors, HR and other ERP systems but isn’t used to create course content.

In contrast, an LCMS is software for managing learning content across an organization's various training development areas. It provides developers, authors, instructional designers, and subject matter experts the means to create and re-use e-learning content and reduce duplicated development efforts.

Primary business problems an LCMS solves are

  • centralized management of an organization's learning content for efficient searching and retrieval,
  • productivity gains around rapid and condensed development timelines,
  • productivity gains around assembly, maintenance and publishing / branding / delivery of learning content.

Rather than developing entire courses and adapting them to multiple audiences, an LCMS provides the ability for single course instances to be modified and republished for various audiences maintaining versions and history. The objects stored in the centralized repository can be made available to course developers and content experts throughout an organization for potential reuse and repurpose. This eliminates duplicate development efforts and allows for the rapid assembly of customized content.

[edit] Learning management industry

In the relatively new LMS market, commercial vendors for corporate and education applications range from new entrants to those that entered the market in the nineties. In addition to commercial packages, many open source solutions are available.

In 2005, LMSs represented a fragmented $500 million market.[1] The six largest LMS product companies constitute approximately 43% of the market. In addition to the remaining smaller LMS product vendors, training outsourcing firms, enterprise resource planning vendors, and consulting firms all compete for part of the learning management market.

LMS buyers generally report poor satisfaction based on survey results from the American Society for Training and Development (ASTD)[2] and the eLearningGuild. The ASTD respondents who were very unsatisfied with an LMS purchase doubled, and those that were very satisfied decreased by 25%. The number that were very satisfied or satisfied edged over 50%. (About 30% were somewhat satisfied.) Nearly one quarter of respondents intended to purchase a new LMS or outsource their LMS functionality over the next 12 months. eLearningGuild respondents report significant barriers including cost, IT support, integration, and customization. They also report significant effort[3] to implement with a median of 23 months being reported from requirements gathering to implementation for corporations with more than 2,000 employees.

Channel learning is under-served. For many buyers channel learning is not their number one priority, according to a survey by Trainingindustry.com[4] Often there is a disconnect when the HR department oversees training and development initiatives, where the focus is consolidating LMS systems inside traditional corporate boundaries. Software technology companies are at the front end of this curve, placing higher priority on channel training.

Most buyers of LMSs utilize an authoring tool to create their elearning content, which is then hosted on an LMS. Buyers, however, must choose an authoring software that seamlessly integrates with their LMS in order for their content to be hosted. There are authoring tools on the market, such as Lectora and ToolBook, which meet AICC and SCORM standards and therefore content created in tools such as these can be hosted on an AICC or SCORM certified LMS.

[edit] See also

[edit] Notes

[edit] External links

Personal tools