How to invest in your LMS now and be ready for the future
Adaptive learning. Gamification software. Microlearning. Thanks to these exciting new tools and advanced technologies – along with the evolution of business needs and market trends – the global electronic learning market is booming. Predictions are that it will continue to do so, with growth reaching $255 billion this year.
If you are charged with managing the learning management system, or LMS, in your organization, you’ll be on the lookout for opportunities to incorporate these new tools and technologies. But be careful; it’s important to give a great deal of consideration to future-proofing your technology.
As author Stephen Covey famously said, “Begin with the end in mind.” Your goal is flexibility. To future-proof your learning program, it is important to work with your IT manager to create a technology infrastructure that enables the support of current and future eLearning trends. Set up your core technology platforms, such as learning management systems, so that it won’t become difficult to migrate to a new system or add new eLearning applications and tools.
There are steps that you can take now to leverage new learning technologies without disrupting your current infrastructure, and help the IT department create an environment that supports new trends, all while minimizing costs. Here are three of them:
First: Assess how well your new learning tool can integrate into your current infrastructure
How can you assess these tools? Work with your IT director to:
- Look at compliance with common single-sign-on (SSO) standards such as SAML, JWT, or OAuth
- Determine if the new tool or app can leverage the standards and systems you already have in place. Then make sure your platforms provide an application program interface, or API, to manage users and enrollments in eLearning courses. Your API – the set of routines, protocols, and tools that specify how software components should interact – should be highly scalable, and have maintainable architecture
- Make sure you are able to extract and share eLearning data in a standard way through compatibility with a specification such as Experience API, an eLearning software specification that allows learning content and learning systems to speak to each other in a way that records and tracks all types of learning experiences.
Second: Evaluate the maturity level of your learning systems to determine if they are equipped for the future
Ready yourself for the future by planning for a Learning Record Store or LRS – the system that stores learning records collected from connected learning activities systems. Skipping this step means you will lose out on the flexibility you need to easily integrate future learning tools and systems based on learner data. Again, check which SSO standards you support.
Third: Take advantage of mobile learning opportunities
Mobile learning is no longer a new idea. Also called mLearning, it’s defined as learning, education or support delivered on smartphones, tablets, notebooks or any kind of technology that allows users to move while learning. Why is mobility so important?
More people are learning remotely, and recent studies claim that workers are happier when they have the opportunity to telecommute. Many more perform all or part of their work away from their desk, at remote job sites or at the customer’s location. This “anywhere, anytime” aspect of mobile learning allows learners to take advantage of learning at the point-of-need, during “down time,” or while commuting.
Other positive aspects of mobile learning include:
- The ability to deliver short, manageable lessons in a “compact” lesson style
- Adaptability to a learning experience customized to learner needs
- Options for creating engaging content, from graphics to gamification
As one final step, you can also consider creating a three-year learning technology plan, utilizing these objectives, in conjunction with your IT department. Yearly reviews of your plan will enhance your ability to:
- Take proactive steps, along with the IT team, to ensure your learning environment can accommodate future growth
- Conduct an education gap analysis so that IT can compare options, including open-source platforms, to find the most viable solution
- Prioritize the organization’s education gaps according to business needs and goals, and work with IT to identify the best solutions
Is your company designing a future-proof learning environment?
The real measure of your learning investment is not just about technical details, but whether your learners can use new tools and technology to navigate your educational activities efficiently. Stay focused on opportunities to incorporate new tools into your program and enhance the user experience. Most importantly, future-proof your technology so that these exciting new tools and advanced technologies can help meet your organization’s needs for continuing education.
Want to know more about how NetDimensions’ mobile LMS can help you future-proof your learning system? Get in touch today!
If you’d like to know more about the advantages of a mobile LMS, download our free Insight today.
 Jiyuan Yu and Zi Hu, “Is online learning the future of education?” https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2016/09/is-online-learning-the-future-of-education/
 Covey, Stephen, “The Seven Habits of Highly Productive People,” https://www.stephencovey.com/7habits/7habits-habit2.php
 Gaskell, Adi, “Why A Flexible Worker Is A Happy And Productive Worker,” Forbes Magazine, January 16, 2016