Trends change with the blink of an eye and it’s no different in the world of learning and development. How we learn has experienced drastic changes - from traditional classroom training to elearning. And, how we manage and analyze learning has changed as a result. Do I need a CMS, LMS, LRS or all three? It can overwhelming to say the least. But, in this blog we’ll will break it down in simple terms so you can make the right choice for your business.
eLearning is expected to increase by leaps and bounds which means there will be a huge uptick in content needed. A content management system (CMS) is designed to support the creation and modification of digital content and generally supports multiple users working in a collaborative environment.
Once digital content is created, it gets pushed to a learning management system (LMS). The software streamlines the learning process by offering administration, documentation, tracking, reporting and delivery of elearning courses or training programs.
What we now know is that learning doesn’t just happen in a controlled environment, within an LMS for instance, but it happens everywhere. The most recent trend word in elearning is the LRS, or learning record store. Unlike an LMS, the information recorded in a learning record store primarily concerns extracurricular activities and social interactions that take place outside the traditional learning system.
So, as you can see, they all play a different role in the learning process.
The enterprise learning ecosystem
It’s easy to get into the habit of ‘this system does this, this system does that’ and treating them all as separate entities. However, the organizations that recognize that they’re all interconnected, a learning ecosystem, will reap the most benefits in time and money.
In a recent white paper we wrote about content management, and discussed how important it will be in the future to have your content management system and LMS connected. There are a host of benefits for this, including:
For example, let’s say a company has significant investments in SharePoint for their content management. Instead of adding yet another system into the mix, it would make sense to utilize a SharePoint-based LMS that was complimentary and made better use of the software already in place. This is an example of big picture thinking!
Now, another wrench has been thrown into the mix with the introduction of the Learning Record Store (LRS). What we know is that 70 percent of learning comes from informal methods. And, because of this, there is a lot of learning happening outside of the traditional LMS. Learning record store can capture additional learning information that will give trainers a bigger and more accurate picture of the learner.
Tracking informal learning is relatively new in the elearning industry but one that will continue to grow.
At this point, an LRS isn’t an absolute for training but definitely a ‘nice to have’ feature. It can be either a standalone system or integrated with an LMS.
The learning record store essentially tracks informal learning and provides statements that states “I did this or I did that.” Then a report is generated. Ideally, integrating the LMS learning records with the learning record store information would give the most complete picture. However, if the resources aren’t available, it is possible to improvise.
Let’s look at our previous example of the company that utilized SharePoint for both their content management and learning system. Extending SharePoint capabilities even further, as a learning record store, would make sense.
Lots of informal learning happens in SharePoint. People view documents, they look at videos, they collaborate with others through forums or using SharePoint social features, they search or they might launch learning activities from SharePoint as a portal.
Recording these activities outside of an LMS can be done in SharePoint with additional customization. This would be the most basic way to dip your toes into the LRS world for this particular company.
Of course, when they have outgrown the basic learning ecosystem and need to upgrade, choosing an LMS with LRS functionality would be the next step.
The complete learning package of a learning management system and a learning record store.
If you’re currently utilizing SharePoint, consider what ShareKnowledge has to offer your business. A complete system, ShareKnowledge seamlessly ties to all of your content, provides a full learning and talent management system and built in LRS that provides comprehensive reporting that will give the most accurate picture of your learners training goals and objectives.