A Learning Content Management System or LCMS manages all the learning content of an organization in one place. The primary business problem a LCMS solves is to create just enough content just in time to meet the needs of individual learners or groups of learners. It gives authors, instructional designers, and subject matter experts the means to create e-learning content more efficiently. In an LCMS, content managers can create, store, reuse, and manage learning objects from a central object repository. A learning object can be thought of as a small, self-contained re-usable unit of content that can be used to support learning. Some examples of learning objects include Microsoft® Word or PowerPoint files, PDF files, video, and audio.
The Evolution of Learning
Since people have easy access to technology which they use to continuously acquire information in different forms, learning has widened its scope to become a more continuous and complex process. When a person watches a video explaining Formula one rules, shared by her friend on Facebook, isn’t she learning? Or a financial neophyte, who wants to brush his basics on accounting by watching videos from Khan Academy or reading Investopedia pages, isn’t he learning too?
Today, the ability to create content is with every individual. We produce and consume content at a rate where there is no time to define an objective and a content flow. The lines between work, learning and fun are progressively blurring. Why? Because people are making constructive use of the ubiquitous technology for their knowledge building, which is also to the benefit of the organizations they work for.
Do We Still Need an LCMS?
Imagine an employee who has not used the “learning objects” posted on the LCMS by the esteemed instructional designers, because he has already learnt those concepts by viewing YouTube videos. Extrapolate this imagination to all employees who use different devices and use multiple sources of information. Now ask yourself: How are we going to cater to the large amount of content employees and students consume outside the traditional learning? And if we can, does it not nullify the purpose of an LCMS?
Well the truth is, LCMSs are slowly becoming irrelevant in the face of ever changing user generated content. The idea of categorizing and maintaining a content repository at a central location managed by a set of administrators is making the content less dynamic and difficult to update. Suppose an employee has a video that he captured all by himself. The video teaches an important best practice which is current and more interesting than a Lectora training video hosted on the LMS on the same subject with 96 frames. What we need is a mechanism to credit any user with the knowledge on the best practice if he could view that video and pass an assessment. An LMS like Konnect could smartly handle such learning activities, giving users the freedom to explore on their own without having to worry whether the formal ‘certification’ will be given or not. Consequentially, the employee who posted the video need not take the course at all as he already proved his ability.
With Tin Can/ Experience API which can track learning activities outside the LMS it is time to question the need for learning specific systems and instead acknowledge all the content management systems as possible sources of learning. A robust LMS eliminates the need for an LCMS in this era when learning has become more user-driven.
Time to think.