I know this is completely out of context, but when I saw the title of what this week’s blog post would be, I couldn’t help thinking of the quote “I’m not bad, I’m just drawn that way” … delivered of course, by the inimitable celluloid personage of Jessica Rabbit in the 1988 movie, Who Framed Roger Rabbit. (And if you haven’t seen it, it’s a fun one!) I draw the parallel here because it’s all about impressions. And in regards to this topic, “bad” may just mean bad for YOU… or your company… at this particular stage in your eLearning lifecycle.
Let’s face it, way back when we first started exploring Learning Management Systems some of our first questions were probably “Will it track my Instructor-Led Classes?”; “Will it automatically send the students an e-mail confirmation when they enrol?”; “Can I integrate it with my HRIS system to automatically add new employees?”… You get the picture. What LMS these days is likely NOT going to have that functionality? But as the eLearning and technology landscape has grown, and development tools have become more powerful with an exponential decrease in their learning curves, a lot more is expected of the systems that are supporting that online learning.
It’s already past the “season” but, I came across this fun and interesting quiz from the website Towards Maturity asking what you think would be on your learners’ Christmas lists. One of the results stated that over 70% of learners say that they are happy to engage in online learning without prompting! Click here to read the brief article and take the quiz. When you are done it will provide you with a link to the results. So you see, what we provide our learners really does make a difference, not only in content and effectiveness, but even in engagement.
And of course these days, there is a real need for companies to support the move to a very mobile workforce. And from an LMS perspective we all know what resultant challenges that has brought us in regards to early generation eLearning development tools that publish to the longstanding preferred medium of choice… Flash! Yes, mobile technology-wise, it’s taken a while before anything with an “i” as a prefix became friendly with our old ubiquitous content. Now please don’t get me wrong; I’m not at all knocking or casting any aspersions to technologies or products that served us quite well for a long time… and still do to a large degree. (As an aside, if you’re interested, here’s Steve Jobs’ April 2010 letter titled “Thoughts on Flash.”) But a lot is changing now, aided by the increase in popularity of HTML5, and with more and more growing interest, the Tin Can API. So with that in mind, is yours one of those companies with an expanding mobile workforce? Does your LMS not only need to accommodate HTML5 published content, but might it also be helpful for it to be built on an HTML5 design itself to further facilitate that information exchange? If you answered “yes” to that expanding mobile workforce question, then is your current LMS “bad for you” now? Is it hindering you from keeping up with the needs of your business?
Even if you aren’t facing the mobile workforce head on yet, do you perhaps have workarounds in place with your LMS that may have been doable with your employee base of 100-200?… but is draining time and resources now that you’ve grown to 500?… 1000? Again, maybe it’s not “bad”, just bad for YOU!
Anyway, so what should you do about all this? Well I’m not suggesting you jump ship right off the bat, but certainly you may want to consider starting to do some due diligence exploring. I’m sure LMS vendors are scrambling to keep up with current demands, so it’s even possible they already have a plan in place that will address your concerns. But get a dialog going. Step back and look at your processes. Maybe do some cost analysis projections. (Come on; you know you’re eventually going to have to do them anyway!) And in the end maybe you will end up switching your LMS provider. Who knows? Hey, it might even be healthy for your company to force you to relook at your workflows, content, processes, resources… which might not be a “bad” thing after all!