In this blog, Censeo will be asking you, yes you our dear and delightful learning and development (L&D) friends, to take some very deep breaths, put on your collaborative pants and make some decisions about the LMS technology you need for your business hand-in-hand with the techie folk. This would be rather than (a) leaving it all to them or (b) telling them what to do. Both of those can be tempting propositions depending on your laziness-to-bossiness ratio, but you will be missing out on the opportunity to make new friends and co-create something truly beautiful. Or at the very least flippin’ functional.
Let us now dig a little deeper into this subject, after all, you have probably committed at least 5 minutes to reading this blog and we don’t want you to go away disappointed. That would make us feel very sad indeed.
So, here’s the thing. Many technology departments may expect the general business folk (and yes, that includes you in L&D) to define functional requirements when it comes to LMS with the idea that they (technology) will then help evaluate and recommend solutions based on the requirements. So, with that in mind, they will need some firm direction.
However, before you rush off giddy with excitement, giving your technology department the fright of their lives by screaming “This is what you need to do!” in their bespectacled faces, you should also be aware that technology can be annoyed if you go to them with too much of a pre-defined solution. That’s a bit like going to the doctor and asking for a certain prescription because you've already worked out what the solution to your own problem is (thank you Google!).
It is of course highly likely that someone from a L&D department (reminder - that’s you) will feel that the L&D department would have a better idea of what should actually be in a LMS, not the technology department. After all, L&D departments can define a strong position as to who their stakeholders are across their learning environment, what their vision and goals are for learning, any policies and procedures that are important for driving learning etc., and then how this will define software features/functionality. This is very different to a technology department perhaps looking at what should be in a LMS and selecting what appears to be the best on the market but which might not deliver what is actually needed to achieve your L&D strategy. Silly sausages, but its not just them that have been known to fall down this rabit hole, how many of you, our valued L&D friends, have searched 'checklist for procuring a LMS'!
That said, those technology folk are very much wise owls who do know a thing or two about important techie stuff such as architecture (not the buildings, we are talking hardware, software, systems, platforms, etc). On that basis, the technology department should certainly play the key role in defining what the technology architecture your LMS needs to fit within and what the technical requirements are for the company/organisation.
Therefore, with all that in mind, we strongly advise you as L&D departments to find a way to work with your technology department as early as possible when it comes to all things LMS and select the solution together having taken the time to really define how do we operate (as the L&D team) and what are the most important outcomes for our business. Think of technology as your key stakeholder and service provider rather than as the decision makers or your servants and you will have decades (ok, months, maybe years at a stretch) of fruitful LMS shenanigans with them.
So, to sum up (yes please, your 5 minutes are up after all) you should decide what you would like to be in your LMS offering perhaps using a shortlist of possible solutions and then work closely with your colleagues in technology (and procurement if you really have to) to see how that all fits into the organisation’s overall strategy and architecture.
With your minds no doubt already blown since the first suggestion of collaborating with the technology department, we would like to share a diagram with you of some potential areas of functionality in a LMS that we have defined at Censeo and that you might like to present to your technology department as ‘some cracking good ideas’ for your own LMS. We are well aware that the festive season is still a couple of months away, but consider this an early gift from us to you. You are more than welcome.
L&D - How to work efficiently with technology when it comes to LMS?
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