LMS Tips: May 2012 training tips: Creating a fully-functional learning management system

May 2012


Making Your Own LMS?


Some organizations entertain the idea of creating their own in-house Learning Management System (LMS). Undoubtedly, they are intrigued with the potential cost savings and thoughts of a custom online training solution, designed just for them. This do-it-yourself approach may appear, at least superficially, easily achieved, but the project itself can be fraught with unexpected pitfalls and risk.


Let’s look at this endeavor from another point of view. Total cost of ownership for a home-grown LMS systems is elusive at best, quality often becomes inferior and future proofing is non-existent.


Generally speaking, an LMS is a specialized and sophisticated enterprise software application, usually with built-in course creation tools and a multitude of management features for the learners and administrators, including content files and extensive tracking capabilities. Course creation tools provide many options due to the different types of training applications and preferred methods for teaching and testing. Home grown systems typically embrace one way of doing things with few alternatives, leaving training administrators at the mercy of their IT team. This rigid end-product easily stunts creativity with course creation. As many people are impacted by any broadly deployed LMS, ask yourself, “Does my IT department have a strong track record in developing enterprise-wide software applications, and does it have the time and collaborative E-Learning technology expertise to guide me down the right paths?”


Software development cost is almost always under-estimated. In the “old days” of software development, people often recommended tripling cost estimates of those given by programmers for creating software. Creating a highly effective LMS from scratch should begin with an extensive needs analysis for most of the organization. Let’s assume the task force conducting the needs analysis has the necessary skill set, including organizational development, teaching and learning technology expertise, plus software development project management. Each additional stage of software development has its own associated cost, including the cost of software bug fixes that most assuredly crop-up over time. Also, if you expect your new enterprise application to remain up-to-date, make sure to include the cost for your team to track and plan for on-going improvements and upgrades.


Overwhelmed? There is another option! You can purchase a fully supported, off-the-shelf LMS; one that is mature, cost efficient and proven effective across small or large enterprises, or access it via a cloud subscription service. Target a system with the broadest matching application, one that reaches the furthest, vertically and horizontally, through your organization and distribution model. Consider a system that allows “skill sets” for content creation so it accommodates the flexibility of an ever changing staff. 


The FlexTraining LMS, and our Login & Go renewable subscription service, offers the most up-to-date and integrated features that will improve your productivity and maximize your return on investment. Total cost of ownership of FlexTraining calculably fixed with high quality and dependability. The FlexTraining total E-Learning solution is one of the best technology investments you can make.








Training Tips



What Your Students Can Expect From Online Training


You have a learning base of internal employees, the sales team or external customers, and the training needs vary with new hire orientation, safety and compliance, new product roll-out, product certification and so on. Learning is a continuous, integrated part of work, and training is no longer distinct from work or considered an additional burden. It simply has to happen. An E-Learning program will ensure your learners have just-in-time access to knowledge with the most up-to-date information.


There are characteristics of E-Learning that make it a unique and better choice over traditional classroom training. With E-Learning, training can occur anywhere, with substantial travel, time and cost savings. Learning can be easily directed to targeted teams, and online training is holistic and blended, enhancing the learning experience.


Instruction becomes learner-centric with online training, with students taking more responsibility for their success. Whether your learners are internal or external, what should they expect when logging in?


First, your learners should encounter a login screen that is easy to use and offers password assistance and language options, if applicable. The Student Home Page should offer a catalog of scheduled classes along with a syllabus for each, with a key word search option. Students can use a personal, secure student menu to access courses, instantly enroll in available courses and measure progress against a training plan.


Second, scheduled tasks and/or news announcements should be a click away, along with viewing and downloading assignments given by an instructor. Students might also review, update and download a personal online student notebook, plus view progress in a defined skill group, competency or curriculum. Learners should have one-click email messaging options for the course administrator or instructor, and have access to course evaluations to provide feedback to developers.


Finally, your learners should expect to navigate course content while their progress is tracked. They can access and take online tests that are automatically graded and recorded.


With varied learning screens, numerous content formats, multimedia and frequent learner interactivity, E-Learning addresses the needs of all learner types while information retention rates increase.


Your students deserve the most from their online training experience. The FlexTraining Total E-Learning Solution utilizes a one-screen student control panel that includes all of this functionality and more.

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