In search of a learner-centred LMS

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Written by Sam Taylor on 20 February 2017

Anyone who has ever had to manage an LMS seems to talk about it with a resigned sigh. We in L&D usually don’t love them, so how can we expect our learners to?   

By the time this is published I’ll have completed the first part of a journey that began a year ago, inheriting a project to look at LMS provision for my business. It wasn’t a task I relished (it’s okay; my line manager knew this up front!) 

We needed a combination of the traditional - good reporting to support a safety critical business, and the forward thinking (learning not as just a course list, allowing access to scaffolded resources, just-in-time content and resources not (just) courses). It also needed to be comparatively simple to implement. Could one system ever do it all or did I just want the moon on a stick?

Core to my research was looking for a system which supported and could encourage colleagues to learn. And it still seems to be something the industry is truly lacking. Many sites touted being learner centric as about adding leaderboards or badges under the banner of gamification. Alternatively focused on forums which that aren’t ever really going to be a knowledge sharing hub if you have Yammer or an intranet, and in that case shouldn’t be. The final 'learner-centric approach' was focused on adding loads and loads of videos - which isn’t going to cover all development needs and isn’t really a cornerstone of a good learning blend. Learner centric is about making the content as simple and easy to access and consume. We do this for great websites, why not LMSs?

Learner centric is about making the content as simple and easy to access and consume. We do this for great websites, why not LMSs?

For a good three weeks I explored the possibility of doing away with needing a system altogether. To deliver content to our business could we use alternate means? To make use of learner record stores, and a content management system for content. And could be implemented in a sensible period of time…    

Having looked at a lot of different options and most of the top systems out there, I plumped in the end to implement something that allowed for a greater degree of customisation, and which met the majority of my list of requirements. 

And that’s where the journey began. And it is only a beginning. It’s about building this in several steps, especially when the business needs a window to content.


About the author

Sam Taylor is a Digital Development Manager whose passion is modernising learning. Sam can be contacted through Twitter @samt_el


Read more from Sam Taylor

Campaigns, scaffolding and avoiding the sheep dip – it’s all about the blend

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