Let Nothing Stand Between Learners and Learning
August 12, 2012 3 Comments
It’s Time to Bridge the Gap
By Ramesh Ramani, Founder and CEO, Expertus
Today’s LMS market is ripe for disruption – and in my opinion, it’s long overdue.
Information technology has advanced at a dizzying pace in recent years. At the same time, a new young wave of workplace contributors has arrived on the scene, bringing “anytime, anywhere” expectations and social media cultural behaviors that defy every aspect of the traditional enterprise landscape.
What does this mean for LMS vendors? We must radically redefine the “learning management” concept at its core. It’s about meeting learners on their terms – at the moment they need support for diverse performance, development and knowledge-sharing activities. It’s about flexibility to serve a learner’s unique needs, as they shift over time. And it’s about rethinking all aspects of the classic LMS infrastructure, so that cumbersome systems get out of a learner’s way.
Despite an abundance of industry chatter, vendors have been slow to address these critical requirements. And that is precisely why we welcome the challenge.
Yesterday, Today & Tomorrow
To appreciate the new world order, let’s first take a quick look back:
Most first-generation LMS platforms were built more than a dozen years ago to support corporate training operations. Target users were managers and administrators who developed and delivered training programs. Training participants (“learners”) were secondary. For learners, interaction with an LMS occurred behind the firewall – often in response to compliance directives. Learning scenarios typically involved searching for a prescribed course, registering, attending and completing related training activities.
These highly structured LMS mechanisms spawned their own complex support environments – massive course catalogs, manual workarounds to compensate for functional limitations, and user groups to demystify arcane interface issues.
I was part of the learning community in those early days – and so was Expertus. While LMS vendors focused on building software, we focused on services to optimize those systems, and make them relevant in real-world enterprise settings. As our competence grew in integrating, customizing, upgrading and maintaining legacy learning systems, our vision for the next-generation solution became increasingly clear.
That vision is what is now reflected in our cloud-based continuous learning platform, ExpertusONE.
Today’s Problems Can’t Be Solved With Yesterday’s Approaches
Our design philosophy is simple: In the enterprise universe, success revolves around people – employees, customers and business partners. For them, change is the only constant. Therefore to deliver value, our product architecture and functional design must be people-centered – intuitive, agile, flexible and scalable.
How does this translate into LMS characteristics? It’s evident in many ways. For example:
- Simplified user interface
- Streamlined roles and privileges
- Sophisticated search capabilities
- Integrated collaboration tools
- Dynamic, personalized learning plans and
- Support for content delivery in all desired forms/formats
Perhaps this user-centered focus is why ExpertusONE is being embraced by global 500 companies. Perhaps it’s why social enterprise industry analyst Jim Lundy chose Expertus as a 2012 “Hot Vendor” in the Learning, HCM & Talent Management category. And perhaps it’s why e-learning and LMS market advisor, Craig Weiss, recently placed us at the top of his “Extended Enterprise LMS” directory list.
This relentless, user-centered focus is a bold approach. And it’s certainly more easily said than done. But I hope you’ll join us in demanding nothing less than the best user experience from learning platforms, going forward.
With the future of enterprise productivity and performance at stake, we believe nothing should come between learners and learning.
Note from Ramesh: What are your thoughts about this learner-centered design philosophy? And what potential do you see for cloud computing to transform enterprise learning? To discover more about how cloud computing is playing a pivotal role in corporate learning, workforce development and performance management, visit our website. Or email questions and comments to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.