Every business goes about training in their own way – some formalized, some not. If you’re in the latter group, you might have various content stored in multiple files and possibly in various locations. But, what works now may not in the future.
No matter where you go or what position you take in the learning realm, most likely you’ll be inundated with recommendations about SCORM training and/or purchased libraries available to use.
Now, these types of content might make your job quicker and/or easier but before you get too excited and go shopping, consider this:
- SCORM content and/or purchased libraries are designed to work specifically with a learning management system
- And, some LMSs might not ‘play nice’ with your current content
So, there are a couple of issues that can happen.
First, you could spend hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars on SCORM content or off-the-shelf libraries only to find out you can‘t use them because you don’t have an LMS.
Or, in an effort to solve that problem, you might hastily purchase an LMS only to find out you’ve now lost all of your previous content because the system won’t accept it. Or, you back to square one having to recreate it all.
And, if that weren’t problematic enough, now you’re faced with a domino effect of employees not getting trained, compliance following through the cracks, reduced productivity…and the list goes on!
So, features make an LMS more flexible when it comes to content?
. Versioning control of content will be an important feature to have, especially when it comes to compliance.
2. All File Types Accepted
. Whether you have PowerPoint presentations or Word documents, videos or anything else, the LMS should be able to easily upload any and all types of files right into the system, not just SCORM and AICC content
3. Quality of Content Support
. It’s important that the support offered by your vendor extends to content. For example, if you use an authoring tool with your LMS, your vendor should understand the tool and its outputs
4. File Size.
Video is gaining in popularity but usually comes with very large files. An LMS should be able to easily handle a large amount of data and/or link to external video sources like Ted Talks, YouTube or other video serving technologies
5. Integration. One thing is for sure, no matter where your content is stored, it must be able to easily upload into the LMS. Integration plays a critical role to make sure this happens
The LMS selection process gives you the opportunity to address potential issues before they happen. So, it’s important to put flexibility of content on your priority list.
First off, you have to know what you’re working with. Some questions to consider include,
• What kinds of content do you have or will be purchasing in the near future?
• If your future learning goals involve video, what kind of space requirements will it need?
• Do you plan on switching from longer format learning to micro learning etc.?
• Where will your content be stored? Is learning happening outside the LMS?
Content is never a one-person job either. Most likely there is a team of people and experts that may contribute to courses and the LMS should allow the correct permissions to access content or pull a report for example, not just the administrator.
But, think about all the different resources in addition to what the training department creates. These could, and should, be treated as learning objects.
Wouldn’t it be an added bonus if you could use what subject matter experts have created, SOPs, work instructions , presentations, flow charts etc. and use them all within the LMS?
This is definitely something to think about when choosing an LMS.
In addition, it’s important to ask any potential LMS vendor what their roadmap is for handling changes in the industry. For instance, first there was SCORM and AICC, then Tin Can xAPI emerged in recent years. Having open communication with your vendor is a plus so that you can talk about these types of issues and discuss exactly what your needs are and in the future.
The bottom line is, the more you can prepare the better off you’ll be and happy with the LMS you purchase. When your LMS has content flexibility you’ll reap the benefits of a cohesive training ecosystem that is time and cost beneficial. And, your learners will have content that is reliable, interoperable and of better quality.