WARNING: An LMS Is NOT One Size Fits All
Today I came to realize that much of the literature out there today regarding learning management systems is often written from the “utopia” perspective, rather than the practical. What I mean by this is that many of the descriptions and suggestions for LMS implementations are good in theory, but often nearly impossible to pull off. This isn’t to say that consultants should not strive to implement a robust LMS with a central interactive component to their culture – but they should be realistic.
I am reminded of a recent conversation I had with a client counterpart regarding their organization’s LMS. Long story short, she let me know that she only wants her LMS to do the following three things:
- Host/play eLearning without any known issues
- Properly records participation
- Run reports
My initial reaction?
“Wow, that’s pretty basic… borderline archaic”
It took everything in me to prevent myself from jumping onto a soapbox to start evangelizing the case of a modern LMS.
However, I think there was also a lesson to be learned: just because something is new and improved doesn’t mean people are convinced of its utility. This individual is a well-seasoned professional in the learning field, which goes to show that our industry faces similar inertia to new ideas as many other industries.
So what’s the solution here? I don’t really think there is one. I think instead this little encounter with my client counterpart just reinforces the fact that an LMS can’t be all things to all people. Some want “the works”…. while others just want it to work properly.
Some practical advice: before jumping into a sales brochure, make a list of must-haves for your LMS and ensure that those are satisfied. From there, determine how to enhance the LMS so that it can support your organization’s mission. Consult with different parties (preferably learning professionals), both internal and external, so as to form an educated roadmap for your LMS implementation. If something, or someone, starts to sound like a salesman, stick to your initial wish list. All of those other features can be scaled up or down over time as needed.
Similar to how you would not choose a personal computer without doing the proper research, the same can be said for choosing an LMS – you and your organization will be happier in the end.