Richard Kordel | Guest Blogger

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LMS Logistics

LMS Logistics

In this blog post on Learning Management Systems (LMS), and in several that are to follow, I will begin to expand on some of the ideas that were presented when I sketched the larger outline. The most logical place to start that expansion is with the core of why you might be considering an LMS which is managing your learning.

In this section, you will start to categorize your learning offerings in several different ways in order to help define what is needed in a system to manage them. This is something that works best without a computer – so grab a pencil, make sure it has an eraser, an old fashioned piece of paper, and start sketching.

Consider the following groupings as you think about your training classes:

1. Job function: What type of work does this class address? What kind of workers?

2. Delivery Mechanism: Is this a leader led class? An e-learning offering? Some blend of the two? Or, given the new Experience API (application program interface), something that does not fit in any of these categories?

3. Technical Requirements: What will you need for the class? A course in computer software will obviously need a computer, but will you need to access any backend systems? A course in forklift safety will probably need a forklift – are the factory guys ok with you using their equipment during the workday?

4. Required vs. Elective training. There is a growing category of training that must be taken to be “in compliance” with various government regulations, hence the term compliance training. This will actually become more important as we look to what you keep in the LMS.

There may be more that you have already thought of, but let’s start with these four. What you should have at this point is a confusing piece of paper that has a number of courses, some of them (or all of them) described in multiple ways. This is where you need to look at what you do, and how you do it, and determine what you would like to appear in a course listing saved in the LMS and how you will get to it.

But first, let’s go back through your listings and add some detail that might be needed as you prepare the necessary information to add your courses to the LMS.

Do you have a naming convention for your courses? This may sound like something too elementary to even think about, but a few moments of careful planning here can save you a lot of time later. I would like to take a few moments to consider the naming of courses as one way to bring the implementation of your LMS into focus.

One of the inputs into the naming of courses is normally the organization of your company. If you are organized into lines of business or departments this would be a logical starting point. However, as you think about this, consider also the four standard actions you might make on data, (often labeled CRUD). In this case the data is your course number, and how it will be listed in the LMS:

  • Create: what is needed to create a new course and who will do it? Walk this process from beginning to end, from the moment the course was requested, until the moment it goes live. When does it get a unique identifier and who is responsible for this? Does this mesh with what the LMS will need?
  • Retrieve: what should be retrieved when the course is referenced? Another way to think about this is to identify what travels with the course. If this is eLearning, does it have a multimedia component? If so, where is that material stored, and how long will it take to get it? In addition to the embedded media, I have worked on eLearning curricula that referenced additional and standard external reference materials such as glossaries. How will this be stored? In all cases, do you provide participants with additional materials such as books, job aids, and other artifacts? If so, where do you keep these materials? When are all of these items finalized and tied to the course number?
  • Update: What process do you use to update training materials? Do you need to track which version of a course was taken by different populations? If so, how is that done? Will you ever have a need to have both versions of a course live for different populations? How do you handle minor corrections in material, and do those corrections need to be reflected in the course number?
  • Delete: What is the process by which you retire courses? What needs to be tracked over the long term? In some instances, you may need to keep reference copies available for courses that have been retired. For example, you may need to keep old instances of compliance training available. How do you do this, and does the naming convention in the LMS accommodate retired courses?

Next time, we will continue to explore our course breakdown and how you can use it to explore the capabilities of the LMS you are considering.

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