Learning Management – Systems have a part to play

Learning Management – Systems have a part to play – from Learning Technologies Conference 2012


I had the pleasure last week of speaking in a panel discussion with Charles Jennings & Barry Sampson on the LMS at the Learning Technologies Conference in London.


My presentation video is now available here:


The first thing that will surprise some is that fundamentally, we all agreed! You cannot “manage” learning using a system! What an LMS does incredibly well though is to manage the processes around learning – and this for me is vital in any business that has a regulatory or other compliance requirement. What confuses the issue here is the terminology used to describe the systems we use – if it’s not “managing” learning, then should we really still be calling it an LMS? The term LMS conjures up a very specific image for many – and that image is sadly often based on what these systems were like 10 years ago! I have to say that for some people, the LMS evolved whilst they weren’t looking!

Like the cell phone, they still do all the things they did 10 years ago but now do so much more including:

  • Performance Management
  • Talent & Succession Management
  • Collaborative Learning
  • Delivery of social media
  • Blended Learning

Now I know there are those who will tell you that you don’t need these tools in your LMS and that you should be using those openly available – such as Twitter & Yammer. And of course, I use both of those and more! However, it’s not always as simple as just setting up a free Yammer account especially if you are regulated! At least one regulator would not be happy that you cannot control user access to the free Yammer environment for example and there are other requirements relating to security testing for any data held outside the organisation.

Perhaps the real meaning of the term LMS is Litigation Mitigation System!

To support my session at Learning Technologies, I surveyed a number of my peers in the world of Financial Services – whilst it was a relatively small sample, their opinion is nevertheless important:



How valuable is your LMS in ensuring you can provide supporting data about the competency of your people to your regulator?


How Vluable is your LMS?


How would you collate the information you need if you didn’t have an LMS?

  • by spread sheet and rubber bands!
  • Spreadsheets or forms on Sharepoint!
  • Manually by a myriad of Excel docs no doubt!
  • Excel Spreadsheets or bespoke access database
  • By hand…
  • Manually on Excel spreadsheets


If you didn’t work in a regulated industry, do you still think that you would deploy an LMS?

  • 100% Yes

In your opinion, will Social Learning tools ever make your LMS redundant?

  • 100% No

So, next time someone tells you the LMS is dead, consider the 2011-12 Towards Maturity Learning Technology benchmark which tell us that:

  • 71% have Learning Management Systems
  • 78% have electronic based content
  • 68% have online assessment
  • 77% use surveys and questionnaires

The last LMS I deployed had all of these of course!

And the final statistic: 69% want to roll out new IT systems – I wouldn’t be at all surprised if a lot of “LMS” Vendors are getting a slice of that too!

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