Lisa Everts, Test Developer, Business Development
July 9, 2018
Learning Management Systems integrate with other systems to offer a complete training experience. Here is a description of the most popular assisting applications.
In our prior articles about learning management systems, we discussed the typical LMS and the services it provides to certifying bodies and their members. Few organizations use only an LMS to accomplish their training goals. The availability of purchased learning content broadens the number of systems working together. Content creation is a large industry in itself and includes services such as video production and course development with a focus on integrating their products through these accessory applications.
A learning management system is often one in a group of systems contributing to learning. A certifying board that offers training and education would minimally have an LMS and content authoring tools. In the minimum configuration the LMS itself is used to author administrative content (e.g. course directions), and Authoring Tools are used to produce learning content for distribution. The industry-leading authoring tools create slide presentations, documents, and assessments, although some can author videos, games, and other advanced content types.
The illustration below introduces the systems that often cooperate to provide learning and record outcomes. Following the drawing is a table that explains each of the boxes in the illustration.
|Learning Management System (LMS)
|A software platform used to deliver content in courses to which learners are assigned. A file system rather than a database provides storage for the content.
|Authoring tools create content for the learner. The content is often in the form of videos, slide presentations, reading materials, or a test. The slide deck may contain a single lesson or the entire course. Each slide deck is in a single file kept on a disk or file share. The content is exported to the LMS through a flat file. A file system rather than a database provides storage for the content.
|Learning Content Management System (LCMS)
|A software platform for the management and delivery of content. A database along with the file system (mainly used for storing graphics) provides storage for the content. Content is played in the LMS through a rendering of the database content into web templates. These systems often times have the ability to export content as eLearning packages such as SCORM®, AICC®, or xAPI®.
|Learning Record Store (LRS)
|A two-way data repository (database) that stores records of training activities arriving from the LMS and other sources. xAPI is the means of communicating with an LRS. The LRS may forward arriving records to other systems for analysis, etc.
|The advent of the LRS to record learning outcomes created an opportunity for vendors to create software tools for analysis. Some LRS vendors seek a competitive edge by incorporating analysis tools directly into their product.