Information technology alone cannot optimize a training department’s performance. However, software is needed to ensure that previously-established processes unfold smoothly. As a result, preparing diagrams of the different functional software bricks can be a useful exercise.
Two perspectives on global training management
The first point of view centers on the employee’s life at the company, i.e. an HR perspective that encompasses functionalities relating to payroll, hiring, mobility, time management, skills management, and the administrative and financial aspects of training (OPCA (joint collective training agency) funding, roll call management, training logistics, etc.).
The second perspective centers on the production, management and distribution of educational content. This includes authoring tools, rapid learning software, collaborative creation tools, and so on.
Distribution is at the crossroads of these two main blocks, and is handled by learning management systems (LMSs). Because it is a pivot solution, the LMS market offers both LMSs oriented toward HR, and which therefore include HR bricks, and LMSs focused on training content.
LCMSs: software solutions for teaching materials
Companies need software solutions to standardize their procedures, as well as technology to create their e-learning and blended learning content. They must also organize their (internal and/or external) production teams into a collaborative process that includes a project management dimension. These solutions have a name: LCMSs (learning content management systems).
LCMSs are used to structure, standardize, pool and achieve economies of scale in relation to training budgets. LCMSs respond to the need to industrialize e-learning content, but are now also opening up to providing more general support for all training tools (on-site and distance) in a globalized world. With this type of software solution, companies can steer the entire life cycles of their learning content centrally, by measuring their actions’ results and their returns on investment (ROI).
The term LCMS is often misused and is sometimes applied to “authoring tools” – software designed for the creation of e-learning content – or to LMSs (learning management systems) that incorporate content creation functionalities. But the LCMS is a product family unto itself, one that concentrates on the stages of production and management of teaching resources, completely independent from their distribution.
An LCMS is a software tool that simultaneously offers authoring, project management and document management functionalities.
When setting up technology for a methodology, the choice of solution will depend on the client’s requirements in terms of criteria such as:
- the required simplicity of content creation;
- the teaching method and/or interactiveness of educational activities for which content is needed;
- the object library and its content indexing options;
- the capacity to personalize graphic models;
- any translation functionalities;
- validation paths;
- content versioning;
- the required infrastructure; and
- licensing and implementation costs.