When someone takes an online course they often only experience the end result of countless hours of work and configuration.
Creating elearning courses takes a considerable amount of time, but that’s only part of the equation. The other component is the learning management system in place.
The LMS makes sure that courses are delivered and the appropriate data is recorded. In some cases the LMS itself can allow for course creation, as is the case with the LearnDash WordPress learning management system.
There are many instructional designers who go their entire career without ever administering an LMS. In many situations the LMS is managed by another team entirely – often the IT department of the organization.
The IT department is a logical place for the LMS. There are often a set of technical specifications that have to be met and who better to handle these than the people with this background, right?
An LMS Had Different Needs
While on the surface having an organization’s IT department handle the LMS makes sense, I think we are at the point where it needs to be further separated.
ELearning programs are playing a more important role in organizations across a variety of industries. In the past, the LMS was an afterthought managed by a junior technician in IT (among many other responsibilities). With so much relying upon the LMS today, it really demands full-time attention.
At the very least IT departments should have an LMS administrator with primary job of managing and maintaining the LMS. However, the LMS is more than the technical components, it’s also the organization (and relevancy) of the entire course library, role management, data tracking, and so on.
This being the case, it makes more sense for the LMS admin to be part of an internal training team. The administrator (or administration team) of the LMS should have a solid understanding of key training principles so that they are better prepared to evaluate the effectiveness of the LMS to their organisation’s training goals.
I realize that not every company has the resources to make this happen and this is very much a “perfect world” scenario. The point is that we need to reevaluate how we look at the administration of an LMS. Just because it is a piece of software doesn’t mean it is equal to all the others and should be managed the same way.
Grouping the LMS with all things “techinical” is short-sighted.
There are very important business objectives tied to the training programs, and as elearning’s influence grows so does the role of the LMS.