You need an LMS. Any questions?

by Del Stevens


Photo Credit: Jon Scherff via Compfight cc


Here's a shocking revelation - a Learning Management System isn't going to solve all of your problems, or answer all of your questions.

[theatrical gasp]

I can hear you, you know.

But the reality is, not only will the LMS not answer all of your questions, it's going to raise some pretty awkward ones of it's own.

Now don't get me wrong, if you're serious about learning and development, you need an LMS. In terms of L&D reporting, compliance audits, cost of training, time to train, succession management - if you don't have an LMS, someone's doing lots of unnecessary manual work with spreadsheets and bits of paper.

But once you've got your brand new LMS, there are some pretty gnarly conundrums that are going to need your attention.

Let's start with an easy one.

[OK - ready]

What's does your assessment strategy look like?

[My what?]

Most organisations I've dealt with have reached a fairly arbitrary conclusion that 80% is the right pass mark for 'training'. Which suggests that for compliance training, it's OK if Bill only knows 80% of the legal and ethical constraints that our organisation is bound by. Is that what you meant?

[Well I don't -]

And while we're on the subject, what happens if Bill fails the compliance test? Re-train? Re-Test? Fire him?

[Awkward silence]

OK - that was a bit trickier than we thought. Let's try skills training.

[Skills training - right - got it.]

Do we want Rona, our new employee, to know things? Or know where to find things?


In order to perform a specific task should Rona just 'know' the answer? Or is it OK if she refers to the training materials to get the job done? Because, increasingly, that's the way our workforce expect to work right? Google it, and get it done.

But if you want people to 'know where', then what you don't want to do is spend great quantities of money on externally developed eLearning content that gives you one massive flash-based SCORM object that doesn't support any kind of useful searching.

[I suppose not...]

So actually, the assessment strategy drives business rules, content design and practical direction about what is an acceptable assessment for the various knowledge domains of your business.

[I see.]

Great! Because once you've got that sorted, you'll need some policy.


Well, yes. Who owns the decision rights for what is suitable training for conversion to eLearning? What are the guiding rules for decisions about 'know what' vs 'know where'? Who is going to decide what we're going to do first? Then there are more tactical decisions.

[Oh for goodness sake.]

What does content quality assurance look like? Who will develop templates and style guides? Do you have an internal content development team? If so, do they have the tools, infrastructure and training that they need? Oh and here's a big one: how will we know when we've been successful?


It's gone a bit quiet. Are you OK? 

You're looking a bit peaky, maybe we'll save these other questions about mobile and learning metrics for another day.  

Do you need this brown paper bag to breathe in for a moment?

If you are hyperventilating, the good news is that Catalyst deals with these kinds of questions every day, in our work with Totara and Moodle.

From the up-front business analysis, business case support, policy and strategy development to technical integrations and deep specialist bespoke enhancements, Catalyst does it all. Our eLearning team is international, multi-skilled and operates in multiple time-zones, while offering the only Cloud service which is entirely built and hosted in New Zealand.

And wherever you are in your continuum of learning development, we have solutions that fit your organisation and your budget. In terms of technical solutions, at one end of the scale we offer 'as-a-Service' Learning Management Systems and trial arrangements for proof-of-concept experiments. If you want to start small, you can do so knowing that we are the experts who can help you grow that capability; because, at the other end of the scale, we provide comprehensive, integrated, Single Sign On systems, scaled for millions of users.

Hand in hand with the technology, we can help you design policy and strategy, templates and style guides, implement your existing branding guidelines within the LMS and help you embed eLearning within your organisation.

Why don't you get in touch with us? We can answer your eLearning questions.