LMSs - Finely Focused Tuition
by Logan Smith
The first important question is, why think about a Learning Management System at all? After all, there are plenty of other options available and, let’s be frank, a training DVD (for example) would be a fraction of the cost. It’s not that modern DVDs are poor quality recordings of dull old lectures either. With effective teaching methods and rich, immersive media they can offer excellent tuition. Excellent, that is, as long as your needs conform to their content. The thing a DVD can’t give you – and nor can fixed off-site lessons or even expensive, top-of-the-range boot camps – is teaching that responds accurately to an organization’s own particular objectives. However good off-the-shelf alternatives are, they were conceived and designed to give the widest range of answers to the widest group of customers. Content can never be tailored to address individual requirements.
There’s no defined period when a Learning Management System will cease to be useful, in fact with increasing regulation in so many areas it’s likely that an LMS will become more valuable over time.
But I’m getting a little distracted. The point of this article is the focus that an LMS allows. You can develop training that precisely targets your goals. You can tailor a basic course to numerous end-user groups who might have different needs. It has virtually limitless flexibility.
They are usually seen as a means of providing effective distance learning, but what does “distance” mean. In this context it could be a team who are spread around the world or it could be those who share your location but who need the ability to access learning when convenient for them. With a Learning Management System you get the advantages of individual design and the convenience of self-study.
If you’re not a trained educator, there are numerous tools to help you put together a professional product. If that’s too disruptive to your schedule, the open SCORM 1.2 standard allows for input from a wide range of independent sources and consultants who can help you create training that fulfills your needs.
There are excellent off-the-shelf solutions available whatever kind of skills you need to deliver and in whatever sphere you work. Learning Management Systems do not try to replace them, they enable you to go beyond them, to finely tune knowledge provision and to be adaptive and responsive to changing environments.