Cheif Learning Officer Solutions for Enterprise Productivity

Content Integration: Beyond Standards

 -  8/29/05

Content integration is still causing headaches among corporate learning executives. Short-term strategies involve careful purchasing and construction of internal processes to minimize the effects of unexpected problems.

Mention content integration in a room full of corporate learning managers, and you’d best pass around a bottle of aspirin. The consensus is that content integration is a big headache—regardless if you’re on the content side or the technology side of the issue.

While content and tool vendors live in the world of instruction, presentation and easy-to-deploy systems, learning management system (LMS) vendors focus on data, transactions and scalable performance. The division between the two camps can induce migraines in the toughest veterans.

The numbers speak for themselves. In a 2005 survey of e-learning content buyers, 81 percent cited better content integration as a critical need. In another survey of LMS buyers, content integration was ranked as the second-biggest challenge. Corporate learning managers have fewer issues with content developed internally. Off-the-shelf content, which is often tested with different infrastructure technologies, can still be problematic. (See Figure 1.)

The consequences are significant and costly. Integrating an off-the-shelf course library with an LMS can cost between $150,000 and $300,000, and might take two to three months to complete. Integration issues can limit purchasing decisions, negatively impact upgrades—both on the content and technology sides—and hinder the success of time-critical learning programs.

Many buyers do not fully understand the scope of the content integration challenge, resulting in unpredicted budget overruns, launch delays and even staffing issues.

Integrated Enterprise Learning
Prior to the late 1990s, training infrastructure in most companies consisted of a training management system, the early predecessor to the LMS, as well as content deployed on a local area network or CD-ROM. Integration was straightforward and simple, and expectations were low since available functionality was limited. Today, organizations typically have training infrastructures with more than one of these components:

  • Learning management system.
  • Learning content management system.
  • E-learning content (externally and internally hosted).
  • Human resource management system.
  • Virtual classroom or collaboration system.
  • Authoring and rapid development tools.
  • Performance management system.

Article Keywords:   e-Learning   LCMS   LMS   performance management   technology  


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