7 Key Differences Between A Traditional And An SMB Learning Management System

Are all Learning Management Systems created equal? Read on to learn how an SMB Learning Management System might be the best choice for your small to medium-sized business.

This post was first published on eLearning Industry.

The True Cost Of A Learning Management System

Too many businesses only consider up-front costs when looking to switch Learning Management Systems. But the truth is that every LMS costs both time and money, and calculating the real cost of a Learning Management System can be a complex task. Here's why we should be considering hidden costs in the LMS equation.

This post was first published on eLearning Industry.

5 Easy Steps To Get A Learning Management System Quote Tailored To Your Needs In Less Than 3 Minutes

Are you having a hard time finding the right LMS vendor? The process is inarguably difficult considering the great number of Learning Management System Vendors in the market. In this article, I’ll guide you through 5 easy steps to get an LMS quote tailored to your needs in less than 3 minutes.

This post was first published on eLearning Industry.

Exploring The Learning Management System Market

Schools and companies alike are looking for turn-key solutions to help them make the leap from paper to digital. With hundreds of LMSs on the Learning Management System market, how do you start the journey of finding the right one? Read more to find out.

This post was first published on eLearning Industry.

Choosing A Learning Management System: 9 Things To Consider If You’re New To The LMS World

Confused about what you should be looking for when choosing a Learning Management System? Let us help you out by running through some must have features, so you are prepared as you head into the market.

This post was first published on eLearning Industry.

The 4 Minute LMS Buying Guide: Deployment And Customer Types, Features And Tips You Need To Know

The 4 Minute LMS Buying Guide

Choosing the right Learning Management System can be one of the most challenging aspects of creating a corporate online training program. This is primarily due to the fact that everything is built upon your LMS platform, and a shaky foundation can put your entire Learning and Development strategy at risk. The Learning Management System is going to be responsible for developing, deploying, managing, and tracking your online training courses, which means that the Learning Management System must be up to the task. But how do you determine which LMS is ideal for your company's online training needs and budget? In this 4 minute LMS buying guide, you'll find key considerations to keep in mind when choosing the best and most beneficial Learning Management System for your corporate online training initiatives.

Basic Deployment and Customer Types Of Learning Management Systems

  1. Open Source LMS
    Learning Management Systems that include open source codes. eLearning professionals can modify and customize virtually every aspect of the code based on the organization's online training needs and corporate learners. The drawback to open source Learning Management Systems is that they are typically require more experience and coding knowledge. They may also lack support services. However, many do have active online communities where you can find FAQs and forums.
  2. Enterprise LMS
    Otherwise known as commercial Learning Management Systems, enterprise LMS platforms are usually much easier to use and offer a wide range of support services. These solutions tend to have an intuitive user interface and possibly even asset libraries that allow for rapid development and deployment of the online training material. Enterprise LMSs can be divided into two distinct categories: SaaS (Software as a Service) and Installed.

    • SaaS LMS
      These are usually web-based platforms that include free upgrades and are completely scalable. The vendor provides support services to the organization and is responsible for storing all of the data on the Cloud.
    • Installed LMS
      Hosted locally on the organization’s servers, which makes it easy to fully customize every aspect of the Learning Management System. However, the internal IT team is responsible for maintaining the system and making any necessary upgrades.
  3. Industry-Specific LMS
    This LMS solution is geared toward a particular industry and features all of the corporate online training materials and assets that organizations require. It will typically include certifications, online games, and other corporate training activities that center on industry-specific skills and tasks.

5 Key LMS Features To Look For

  1. Gamification
    Learning Management Systems may also appeal to the competitive nature of employees by offering full gamification. Badges, leaderboards, serious games, and points are just some of the gamification features that you may want to consider.
  2. Responsive Design 
    Responsive design systems automatically adjust your online training content based on the device that is being used. For example, the LMS platform might move the images or text blocks to make it more accessible for mobile users.
  3. App Compatibility
    Ultimately, you need a Learning Management System that will be compatible with other apps, plug-ins, and third party software. This allows you to easily integrate online training content from other tools into your online training course design, as well as make the LMS more functional.
  4. eCommerce
    A Learning Management System that offers eCommerce features, such as a marketplace or built-in checkout system, is ideal for eLearning professionals who wish to sell their training courses online. Some eCommerce platforms even allow organizations to purchase your online training courses in bulk or use a discount code.
  5. Compliance Certifications 
    This feature is key for corporate online training programs. It gives organizations the opportunity to ensure that every employee is up-to-date with their compliance online training and that they receive the necessary certificates.

3 Tips For Choosing The Right LMS

  1. Create a strategic plan beforehand.
    There are a variety of LMS solutions to choose from, which makes it exceedingly difficult to find the one that’s just right for your organization. This is why it’s so essential to develop a strategic plan in advance and identify exactly what you need from your new LMS. Figure out how you are going to use it to achieve your performance goals and fill the gaps. You should also speak with your IT team to determine their level of experience and expertise. Otherwise, you may end up with a Learning Management System that is too advanced or does not offer enough flexibility.
  2. Identify features you WANT vs. features you NEED.
    There are going to be LMS features that you absolutely need in order to create effective and engaging online training courses; then there are those that are optional. Consider creating a two-column list that includes all of the must-have features for your new LMS on one side, and those that are "luxuries" on the other. This will help you find a Learning Management System that is ideal for your needs and your budget. For example, you may want a Learning Management System that offers an impressive asset library, but do you really need access to thousands of different cut-outs, images, and graphics, especially if it comes with a higher price tag?
  3. Determine which support services you require.
    Support services usually come at a cost, but they can be a worthwhile investment for organizations who need that extra assistance. Figure out how much support you actually require, and then pinpoint which LMS solutions offer that level of service. Typically, LMS vendors will offer email or phone support for an additional fee, and most have online communities that can offer assistance without any charge.

Use this 4 minute LMS buying guide to choose the Learning Management System that's a perfect match for your company's needs. Keep in mind that the first step in any successful LMS strategy is creating a solid plan. So, have a clear idea of your goals, objectives, and performance gaps before you embark on your LMS search.

Now you have read this 4 minute LMS buying guide, you might also be interested in learning more about how LMS vendors typically charge for the LMS platforms they provide. Read the article The Insider's Guide To Learning Management Systems' Pricing Models to discover the LMS pricing model for both cloud and hosted options.

This post was first published on eLearning Industry.

In And Beyond The Classroom, Which Learning Management System To Choose?

In And Beyond The Classroom: 3 Categories Of eLearning Solutions 

Any eLearning solution should be categorized in one of the following according to their features and components:

  • Virtual Learning Environment (VLE).
  • Learning Management System (LMS).
  • Learning Content Management System (LCMS).

In And Beyond The Classroom: 3 Categories Of eLearning Solutions

It is obvious as shown in the above figure, that the Virtual Learning Environment is the core of all eLearning solutions. On the other hand, the Learning Content Management System is the highest categorization. That is every Learning Management System is a Virtual Learning Environment and every Learning Content Management System is a Learning Management System. But the most important question every institution must ask prior to choosing the proper categorization is:

“Which solution must be chosen to work in and beyond the classroom?”

In order to answer this question, we have to know the difference between the three categories.

VLE: Virtual Learning Environment For In And Beyond The ClassroomVirtual Learning Environment For In And Beyond The Classroom

LeftQuoteA Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) is a software system designed to support teaching and learning in an educational setting, as distinct from a Managed Learning Environment (MLE), where the focus is on management. A Virtual Learning Environment will normally work over the internet and provide a collection of tools such as those for assessment (particularly of types that can be marked automatically, such as multiple choice), communication, uploading of content, return of students’ work, peer assessment, administration of student groups, collecting and organizing student grades, questionnaires, tracking tools, etc.RightQuote

LMS: Learning Management System For In And Beyond The ClassroomLearning Management System For In And Beyond The Classroom

LeftQuoteA Learning Management System (LMS) is a software application for the administration, documentation, tracking, and reporting of training programs, classroom and online events, eLearning programs, and training content.

Learning Management Systems range from systems for managing training and educational records to software for distributing courses over the internet with features for online collaboration. Corporate training use Learning Management Systems to automate record-keeping and employee registration. 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 online learning (e.g., computer-based training, read & understand), online 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 all dimensions to Learning Management Systems.RightQuote

Some Learning Management Systems are web-based to facilitate access to learning content and administration. Learning Management Systems are used by regulated industries (e.g. financial services and bio-pharma) for compliance training. It is also used by educational institutions to enhance and support classroom teaching and offering courses to a larger population of learners across the globe.

Some Learning Management System 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).

LCMS: Learning Content Management System For In And Beyond The ClassroomLearning Content Management System For In And Beyond The Classroom

LeftQuoteA 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 a Learning Management System. A Learning Content Management System is a multi-user environment where developers may create, store, reuse, manage, and deliver digital learning content from a central object repository. The Learning Management System cannot create and manipulate courses; it cannot reuse the content of one course to build another. The Learning Content Management System, 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. Learning Content Management System applications allow users to create, import, manage, search for and reuse small units or “chunks” of digital learning content and 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. A Learning Content Management System manages the process of creating, editing, storing, and delivering eLearning content, instructor-led training materials, and other training support deliverables such as job aids.RightQuote

LMS vs LCMS: Learning Management System Vs Learning Content Management System

Learning Management System Vs Learning Content Management System 

Some systems have 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. Learning Content Management Systems provide tools for authoring and reusing or re-purposing content MLO (mutated learning objects), as well as virtual spaces for student interaction (such as discussion forums, live chat rooms ,and live web-conferences). Despite this distinction, the term Learning Management System is often used to refer to both a Learning Management System and a Learning Content Management System, although the Learning Content Management System is a further development of the Learning Management System. 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, a Learning Management System is software for planning, delivering, and managing learning events within an organization, including online, virtual classroom, and instructor-led courses. For example, a Learning Management System 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 a Learning Management System 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, a Learning Content Management System 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 eLearning content and reduce duplicated development efforts. In the remote AICC hosting approach, a Learning Content Management System may host the content in a central repository and allow multiple Learning Management Systems to access it.

Do I Recommend Going To Learning Content Management Systems For In And Beyond The Classroom?

Do I Recommend Going To Learning Content Management Systems For In And Beyond The Classroom?

The simple answer is YES. Rather than developing entire courses and adapting them to multiple audiences, a Learning Content Management System 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 re-purpose. This eliminates duplicate development efforts and allows for the rapid assembly of customized content. Therefore and simply, the Learning Content Management System has what Virtual Learning Environment and Learning Management System have, and in addition provides:

  • 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.

This post was first published on eLearning Industry.