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Neil Pitts

Contract L&D Consultant

Learning & development consultant

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I have a training environment ripe for some kind of control and was wondering what people's thoughts were in relation to LCMS's

All the training we provide is delivered to external organisations and tends to be classroom based and is often delivered in remote locations using stand-alone servers. We don't, currently deliver much E-learning, though that will change I hope.

I am keen to get some ability to standardise my courses, complete on-line assessments and testing as well as providing the ability to effectively update courses, which are constantly evolving due to the nature of the technology we train, from a central datase. I and am looking to use a LCMS that helps me with all or most of this.

We currently do things the old fashioned way. Give 'em a feedback form, input the data onto spread sheets in order to provide stats for customer feedback and the same idea for formal assessments. This is an archaic way of doing things and methinks tis time to move on.

My side of the business is pretty small so I am looking to use free software if possible. Moodle looks good but seems to me to be designed very specifically at E-learning. Ilias looks good too but the community forums seem short on discussion which makes me wonder if it is used that much. (My German is pretty rusty too but I suppose that would be a useful learning curve). I took a look at EFront, which looks great but isn’t SCORM compliant unless you pay to upgrade and in the current climate it is unlikely I will get any funds for that.

 To cut what is becoming a very long story short I wondered what people’s thoughts and/or suggestions might be?

The up-side is that I have a pretty clean sheet from which to start.

3 Responses

  1. Learning administration support systems

    Hi Neil,

    Your title confused me because you started talking about Learning Content Management Systems, but then moved on to using a number of Learning Management Systems as examples.

    There is an important, but subtle difference… An LCMS is usually designed to manage the content used within your courses – so things like authoring workflows, version control and templating are common here.

    Whereas an LMS is used to help manage and administer the activities done by the students – which may or may not involve using content managed by an LCMS.

    Organisations may need just one of these systems, or both, or neither – depending on what they’re wanting to achieve.

    Before looking at specific systems, it’s a good idea to think through what you want your end result to look and behave like.

    You’ve mentioned so far:

    • remote servers used for local training. I’m assuming this is systems training? How do you envisage that being transferred into a centralised online environment?
    • online assessments and testing. I’m assuming you mean computer-marked, multiple-choice type tests? These are standard in most LMS’s to a varying degree of sophistication.
    • standardising and updating courses. Do you mean course materials? What sort of workflow would you envisage here? How are your courses currently structured? In what format are the materials delivered? Would you expect learners to be notified somehow when the materials change? Are your courses self-study or trainer-led? Do you expect learners to interact with each other during the course?
    • SCORM compliance. You will need to identify whether you need SCORM 1.2 or SCORM 2004, and which elements of SCORM you will need to make use of – specifically metadata and run-time.

    You’ve also highlighted that your budget is extremely tight, but haven’t said how many learners you’re dealing with and how much they would need to use the system. Even if you go for free software there are still costs involved for hosting, configuration, look & feel design, integration with your existing systems and support. Yes, you can get very cheap hosting, but that will usually not be powerful enough for anything more than a proof of concept site.

    You may have an IT department who are willing to do the hosting for you for little cost. If so, that’s great. You’ll need to bring them on board from the start as they will make or break the project. They will need to be comfortable with the chosen software platform.

    I would suggest looking at some of the low-cost cloud-based suppliers, as that would solve a lot of the headaches, but I’m guessing from your profile that this will need to be hosted inside your firewall for security?

    All the best,



  2. Thanks for your thoughts

    Thanks for your reply. We do have a strict version control policy here though it seems to have passed the training department by somehow. I am also very keen to get away from the archaic ways of collating feedback and generating questionnaires we currently use so, I’m looking at the possibility of LCMS and LMS all rolled in to one.

    I have recently (which shows how little time I have been in my new roll) found out that my company aims to start using SharePoint in the not so distant future. Therefore I am now looking at SharePoint LMS to do what I want to do. One of the advantages to this is that it can deal with SCORM 1.2 or 2004.

    You are right in that we do have to hide everything behind firewalls. Also, courses are very insular. Our audience aren’t generally in a position to engage with trainers after the event. (Although I am trying to think of ways that that may be possible in the future.) It is an unusual learning and often old fashioned environment into which I have been hired.

    I do think that maybe my question should have been phrased differently i.e. "Can someone please tell me the difference between LMS and LCMS and tell me which I should be using because there is too much information on the internet for me to make draw any sensible conclusions of my own?" Or, I could have simplified it to "Help!"

    Thank you again for your reply which has certainly given me some ideas and good discussion points. I do think that SharePoint should be the alley down which I will explore. Hopefully it won’t be a blind one. As the system of choice for version control etc. in my company it makes sense to try to stick with the same system for my side of the business.



  3. A good way forward

    Hi Neil,

    It sounds like you’ve got a good way forward, using Sharepoint as the base platform. Although, as with all things Sharepoint, don’t expect it to be quick to implement. You probably know this all too well, but you’ll need to get your IT people onside – as they will be controlling Sharepoint very tightly I would imagine.

    All the best,


Author Profile Picture
Neil Pitts

Learning & development consultant

Read more from Neil Pitts

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