I was honored to be part of a live panel hosted by Elliott Masie this week in Chicago. Along with executives from several leading LMS suppliers, I had a unique opportunity to listen to questions and issues facing today’s learning leaders. Here are my reflections on the event.
- Content content everywhere! - The majority of the questions from the audience were about content and how to manage it, search for it and make it relevant to the learning experience.
- Mobile – Still a minority of organizations can effectively develop content for mobile. It seems we need a fundamental mindset shift away from “interactive” desktop eLearning to what mobile users want and need – text, video and great search. Enough of the PowerPoint animation tools already.
- Search – How do you find the right content in your moment of need? Goodbye course catalog, hello bite-sized content.
- User Generated Content – There was general agreement that this is more than users uploading their own content to a shared network. Aside from the obvious compliance issues, reviewing, tagging and versioning user-generated content is a challenge.
- Taxonomy – Every L&D group needs this skill. Not a lot of people said they had it.
- Delivery – Is the LMS the door to the world? Healthy debate was had about “Engagement Systems” vs. Learning Management Systems as the best way to reach learners. The real issue is not "how do we make all these libraries of content available to our learners", but rather, "in my moment of need, how can I find what I need to do my job?" Is this debate about Formal or Informal learning? I was a little confused.
- Curation – This means many things to many people. Is it sourcing and tagging? Or updates and content sustainability? From my point of view content curation answers these challenges:
- How can I get the most updated content to my learners
- How can I shorten the cycle time from creation to update
- How do I enable collaboration so I can be sure content is accurate for mass consumption
A few conclusions…
- Creating content can be easy. Curating content is not.
- Once you duplicate content, you are dead. It makes searching for it and updating it a nightmare.
- Subject Matter Experts are not particularly good at generating content that can be used “as is”.
- Getting your content working on multiple mobile devices and browsers is not simple. You need a strategy and the right tools.
- Search? Your learners probably think your capabilities are inadequate. This needs a strategy too…
- What version are out there? You probably should have considered this before you published it.
Listen, the other thing I heard is that content is really important to everyone in learning. People are building their own and leveraging other's great content too. The bottom line is that if you want to have great content, make it searchable, make it work across devices and browsers, and make it SUSTAINABLE, you really need a Content Management System.
While the LCMS of the past (the old ones with lousy user interfaces and limited interactivity) wasn’t enough, a modern CMS for Learning is just what you need. With all due respect to the LMS suppliers, you might want to make this your priority now instead of looking for an LMS replacement. Your current LMS will work a lot better if you get your content right. We can help.
Thank you for listening!
Yours in Learning,
Mark Hellinger, CEO Xyleme
About the Author
As President and CEO of Xyleme, Inc., Mark is one of the training industry’s leading technologists. He has an extensive track record of building successful technology companies, from early-stage private investment through IPO or acquisition. Prior to Xyleme, Mark was CEO of PRAJA, a leader in business activity monitoring that was successfully sold to TIBCO Software.Follow on Twitter More Content by Mark Hellinger