October 24, 2009
learning 2.0

The Standalone LMS is Dead

This past week, I attended the SharePoint 2009conference in Las Vegas. I’ll provide some feedback on that particular release in another blog posting (read Bill Simser for now)¬†but what the conference itself got me thinking about was that, thankfully, the standalone LMS is definitely going to become redundant. Dinosaur. Soviet Union. Saturn Car. Hierarchy. (you get the picture)

Those organizations (and frankly public learning institutions) that are clinging to their standalone learning management systems as a way in which to serve up formal ILT course schedules and eLearning are absolutely missing the big picture. Sadly, there are too many organizations like this out there.

The LMS should no longer be thought of as a destination for the learner. This is the nuclear fault of the LMS itself and of antiquated thinking from our learning leaders; it encourages standalone learning by driving people to register for an event … be it an ILT class or an eLearning module.

Sure, clever instructors, faculty and learning administration management/leadership teams may find unique, albeit independent, ways in which to embed some form of informal and/or social learning before as well as after the event, but this is merely triage as opposed to a lobotomy.

When you hear people say ‘we need Facebook for the organization’ … I don’t think that’s exactly what they mean. Jon Husband does a good job of illustrating this over here.

Facebook for the organization implies three things:

  • A¬†development platform that serves up formal, informal and social content & connection for all
  • A single ‘window into the org’ versus many separate applications and systems
  • Learning happens naturally, by osmosis, and without care for how it happens

The LMS insinuates the notion that you ‘go to training’. This is asinine in today’s world.

If you want to change the culture (as Will Kelly describes here) it’s surely not just about the technology. But … to change the culture, you also need to drive an organization to believe that training does not only happen in an event (ILT and eLearning) and thus, by keeping the standalone LMS alive and kicking, you exacerbate the issue.

Employees need to constantly connect, they need to constantly share, and they need to learn from one another. This cannot happen solely in an ILT class and it surely does not happen in an eLearning module.

Set up your ‘Facebook for the organization’ by embedding an LMS (or LMS like features) into your enterprise-wide collaboration platform. Coaches, mentors, online buddies need to coexist within the wiki’s, blogs, discussion forums, webcam meetings, online presence, etc. which needs to coexist within the list of formal classroom and eLearning offerings which needs to coexist with your documents, knowledge management, videos, podcasts, which needs to coexist with the profiles, skills, and recent activity-feed happenings of all employees.

Blow up your LMS. Find a way to integrate it into your collaboration platform.

This is where the future is taking us.

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