Looking Beyond Content Reusability: The Many Benefits of an LCMS
This article will assist learning leaders in understanding the many benefits of investing in an LCMS. First, we will explore the component functionality of a robust LCMS in today’s marketplace. Then, more importantly, we will provide a clear overview of how the different technical features help:
- Reduce course development costs
- Increase operational productivity
- Aid rapid learning
- Protect corporate knowledge assets
- Prepare the learning organization for the paradigm shifts under way
in corporate learning
A revealing statement recently encountered from a very large organization with thousands of employees, hundreds of courses and more than 25 course developers was, “Our divisions all have their own courses, instructional designers and preferred vendors. They don’t share content so we have no need for an LCMS.
” When asked if there weren’t at least a handful of compliance courses, health and safety, systems, process and people management topics that crossed divisions, the reply was, “Of course! A lot of our content is mandated nationally but each division likes to have their own course with their own customer examples.”
This manager was confined to thinking that the sole benefit of an LCMS is to support content reusability when, in fact, only about 5% of content is typically used exactly as is.
What this manager was missing was the fact that content reusability comprises only a fraction of the overall business benefit of an LCMS as compared to development cost savings, productivity gains, risk management of corporate assets and reduction in learner time that can be realized through use of an LCMS.
LCMS vs. LMS
To get started, let’s review the difference between an LMS and LCMS. You likely understand the basic concept that one system manages learning content (LCMS), the other manages learner information and learning activities (LMS). However, the confusion begins when you consider that many LMSs have functionality that crosses over with LCMS functionality, such as assessment authoring and learning path/curriculum management. Refer to the following simplified chart for a general overview of where typical functionality resides.