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Monday, January 24, 2011

Learning Content Management Systems (LCMS) for Managing Course Assets

I received an inquiry from a reader at a large company that is continuously working on large projects with lots of course content running around.   They have Articulate courses, classroom courses, SharePoint sites, etc.  They have an LMS but not an LCMS.  And they currently manage all of this using what I’ve seen at a lot of companies: network drives, naming conventions, some SharePoint.  Of course, it’s still a bit of a mess.  Sound familiar?

A long time ago, the goal of an LCMS was to help to manage all of these kinds of assets.  Along the way, a lot of the LCMS products on the market have become more about a kind of authoring approached with content stored in a database that is transformed into courseware.  This is valuable for large scale authoring and translation of content. 

They also handle asset management, but I really have not been seeing the kind of large scale adoption of LCMS products for that purpose.

Here are some specifics of what this reader is going for:

  • We need to figure out a way to get information from other departments to make sure we have the most current information available.
  • We need to set up a process to determine all courses the information will impact.
  • We need to make the changes. 
  • Save the previous version in the archives for discovery requests.
  • Save the current version for future updates.

These are classic requirements for learning content management.  But I’m not sure they line up with what most LCMS packages provide – unless you decide that you will use it as a super-authoring tool.

In Digital Asset Management – LCMS, ECM and SharePoint, I talk to how ECM (Enterprise Content Management) solutions might be a better fit for parts of this.  But I’ve seen organizations cobble together solutions using SharePoint more than I’ve seen LCMS solutions.

This seems to be backed up by The LCMS at a Crossroads:

Our research has shown that content management needs vary widely from company to company, and some organizations are well served by some combination of social and collaboration platforms, portals, and the lightweight content management functionalities now common to rapid development tools. In fact, because content management is now so ubiquitous in almost all social networking systems (including Microsoft SharePoint), many companies are finding ways to leverage these tools to help aid content development.

In LCMS – Not Just a Technology: It’s a Strategy, Bryan Chapman really nails a key issue going into all of this discussion: you need to think about your overall strategy and then make sure your systems support that strategy.  Some key elements in the learning technology strategy that Bryan talks to some of the bigger pictures questions that organizations need to think through.  This is exactly what I discuss in eLearning Strategy.  Without an eLearning Strategy defined and the specific objectives defined, then you can’t possibly figure out the right systems.

  • What are you trying to achieve here?  Is it lower-cost development?  Easier translation?  Faster time-to-market of learning?  Greater re-use?
  • What’s the ROI for spending time doing this?

This is what Dawn Poulos talks about in How NOT to adopt an LCMS

Okay, this is probably too much motherhood and apple-pie.  Yes, you need to figure out the larger strategy, value proposition, what you are really trying to achieve, etc.  Let’s assume you’ve done that.  You still do get back to the core questions:

Are people using an LCMS to manage content assets and workflow across the enterprise?  Or are they really using SharePoint or other ECM products for that?  And LCMS products are more a different kind of authoring tool?

Curious to get reactions to this.  What are you seeing out there?  Any advice for this person?

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Examples of eLearning–Ten Great Resources

I was just asked for some examples of eLearning.  I had collected up eLearning Examples a couple years ago, but thought it was worth going back to look for more.  The following are some very good lists of widely varying examples of eLearning.

  1. Elearning samples
  2. eLearning Examples
  3. Examples of E-Learning
  4. Where are Examples of eLearning? Lots Right Here!
  5. Two examples of elearning
  6. Elearning example: Branching scenario
  7. eLearning Examples
  8. 100+ Free Websites to Find out About Anything & Everything
  9. 100+ places to learn a language online
  10. 100+ free sites for learning about business

The last three provide a glimpse into the great variation that exists to learn and get help on particular topics.  While a lot of people think of eLearning as being a course, notice how few of the resources in those last three are actual online courses.  Instead, most examples of eLearning actually fall outside of that realm.