As the modern learning ecosystem continues to evolve, the many different technologies, tools and strategies available to engage the modern learner have grown exponentially. With the sheer amount of resources and technologies that are now available to help individuals learn and collaborate, it is increasingly difficult to not only stay aware of these new technologies but to determine which to incorporate into your learning ecosystem in order to meet your organization’s and learners’ specific needs.
Fortunately, the learning management system (LMS) can provide a centralized hub to track and deliver training programs as well as integrate with your existing technologies to streamline workplace learning. Let’s explore the current state of the learning ecosystem, the evolving role of the LMS, and the best practices for digital learning that enable learning and development (L&D) managers and LMS administrators to create a best-of-breed training program that effectively connects and educates the workforce.
The Learning Ecosystem: The Old Model Versus the New Model
For years, proprietary – or closed-source – learning management systems have prevented administrators from taking full advantage of learning technologies. These platforms often allow only proprietary features and functionality, preventing easy connectivity to other systems or third-party tools and minimizing flexibility for users. These technologies force customers to use the LMS’ own preferred tools, which may not allow users to customize or incorporate other methods, programs or analytics that may be better suited to meeting specific industry or business needs.
On the other hand, open-source learning management systems provide the flexibility and interoperability to customize, scale and integrate training programs with other tools, encouraging the creation of a learning ecosystem. Open-source LMS solutions integrate well with third-party solutions, enabling L&D professionals to extend LMS functionality by integrating tools that meet their needs and budget.
With this new open learning ecosystem model, administrators can incorporate a “plug-and-play” model to select the best tools for their needs and plug them into the LMS hub for a dynamic, robust and impactful experience for their learners. Furthermore, as new tools or even new product categories emerge in the learning marketplace, managers can easily incorporate them into their platform, allowing for a scalable and future-proof training solution.
Leveraging an Open-source LMS to Amplify Your Training Programs
For an LMS to provide an effective eLearning experience in today’s learning environment, it must sit at the center of the ecosystem and facilitate an effective learning environment through seamless integrations and single sign-on with additional tools. With this approach, administrators can incorporate and track various forms of learning, enabling them to make educated decisions on best practices; managers and mentors can dictate learning paths for their team; and you can deliver training across your organization, regardless of size, department or geographic location.
In order to leverage open-source technology and enhance the learning experience, you’ll need to employ the right tools and solutions to pair with your LMS to create a comprehensive learning ecosystem. Here are a few features and tools you’ll want to consider in order to amplify your training programs and create future-proof solutions:
Experience API (xAPI) and Learning Record Stores (LRS)
In order to continuously enhance your training programs and improve the return on your L&D investments, you’ll want to track and report on all learning efforts, regardless of platform, location or type. An experience API (xAPI)-enabled learning record store (LRS) collects both formal and informal learning data for a comprehensive analysis of which methods are proving most effective in educating and engaging your learners. The result is a more extensible, flexible and future-proofed eLearning ecosystem.
Learning Experience Platforms (LXP)
Standardized onboarding and training processes are, arguably, becoming an outdated practice for retaining top talent. L&D administrators and learners want personalized learning paths that are tailored based on a learner’s role, activities, or previous knowledge and expertise, rather than a stiff, out-of-the-box training program.
Fortunately, you can add a learning experience platform (LXP) on top of an existing LMS to aggregate courses and content within the LMS using machine learning. This approach provides learners with the opportunity to take courses and participate in activities that specifically support their skill set, encouraging engagement and collaboration in online learning.
Creating high-quality online training materials requires both time and resources — two things many companies do not have much of. A third-party content provider can provide a wide range of solutions for eLearning, from basic skills and compliance training content to custom content built specifically for the needs of the organization. With an open-source LMS, administrators can easily import off-the-shelf or custom content solutions into your learning platform using open-source technology.
Many organizations seek an LMS that provides opportunities for extended enterprise training, such as content on how to use products. With a seamless single sign-on and the option to offer subscriptions, vouchers or profile-based memberships, integrating an e-commerce solution with an open-source LMS can give individuals or groups of learners easy access to courses while diversifying the functionality of your solution.
Creating a Future-proof Learning Program
An open-source LMS enables learning managers to improve their training programs by providing a dynamic, scalable and future-proof solution for their organization. When designing your training programs, consider the technology you plan to use — be it open-source or closed-source — and which plugins, learning methods, and additional hosting or support you might want to incorporate in order to reach your goals. By eliminating the restrictions of proprietary platforms and allocating budget toward a fully managed LMS approach, you’ll create a best-of-breed content model that puts your team on the path to sustained performance and employee success.