Cheif Learning Officer Solutions for Enterprise Productivity

What to Do With a Broken LMS

 -  11/5/12

Dated learning and management systems may seem to be more trouble than they’re worth, but deciding whether to buy or build a new system requires leaders to consider all the angles.

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We asked our LinkedIn members: When you’re stuck with an outdated LMS, is it better to build or buy? Why? Here’s what a few had to say.

Most large organizations rely on a learning management system (LMS) to run and support their enterprise’s learning programs. But many of these systems were conceived in the 1990s and are showing their age. In addition to poor usability, unreliable performance and limited scalability, these legacy systems predate the cloud computing revolution and lack basic social and informal learning tools and global connectivity.

“The need for linking traditional learning to emerging learning functionalities, as well as connecting learners globally, is only getting more important,” said David Mallon, vice president of research at Bersin & Associates. “So if an organization’s reached the point with sufficient motivation and budget to add next-gen LMS capabilities, then no time is better than now. It’s definitely worth doing.”

While there’s no question that aging learning systems must be updated to meet modern learning needs, many learning leaders are debating how to efficiently and cost-effectively fix a broken, outdated LMS — whether it’s best to build or buy. There are a few common scenarios:

• Build a learning portal — keep legacy LMS.
• Buy a learning portal — keep legacy LMS.
• Build a next-gen LMS — replace legacy LMS.
• Buy a next-gen LMS — replace legacy LMS.

Resist the Temptation to Build a Learning Portal
Building or buying learning portals to remedy legacy LMS issues aren’t on many companies’ radars, as compared to a few years ago, Mallon said.

However, learning portals do provide a quick fix for updating LMS functionality. But building a learning portal from scratch may be unnecessary, and is a poor allocation of risk and resources, since pre-built portals are available.

Some learning organizations are still tempted because IT departments already build portals, so developing a learning portal doesn’t seem all that different or difficult. And executives are often enticed by the potential cost savings associated with using internal resources.

However, it’s not as easy to build a learning portal as it may appear on the surface. Complications can include:

Article Keywords:   LMS  


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