One of biggest challenges for managers choosing learning management technology is a lack of experience using various technologies. Most people don’t know what they want until they know what they want.
Managers looking for a new learning management technology should be encouraged to try out 2-3 systems for different sections of their company on a trial basis before they make any long term commitment with any single system. Most systems can look amazing during the product demo stage but are terrible in their compatibility with how people actually use the system. It is not uncommon for organizations to invest hundreds of thousands of dollars into a system that they are extremely unhappy with 6 months later but then find themselves locked into a 5 year contract that costs a fortune to get out of if they are unhappy.
In addition, once legally bonded to a contract, they spend thousands and thousands of extra dollars to modify the system to adapt to their needs. This is a frightful outcome, but happens all too often when large organizations move to online training with large online training service providers.
Online application technology is a much different paradigm then what we are used to. Many people believe that if they are a big organization with thousands of people, then they need to work with big online training organization. The reality is that there are thousands of online applications that currently management millions of users and only have a few talented people supporting the program. A small organization in Vancouver for example offers an online application that more than 5 million people use each month. More than 50,000 images and updates get added to the system each day and it generates millions of dollars in revenue each week. The entire operation was created and managed off one computer in a bachelor pad in downtown Vancouver.
To date and to my knowledge there are no functional open source online learning technologies that work extremely well. Even the famous Moodle is a nightmare to develop into a workable application to support online course delivery for a medium to large organization. Many of them lack strength in eCommerce technology, reporting and ease of use, which is one of the most important.
Technology is rapidly developing and with the brainpower that exists, it shouldn’t be long before we see many new amazing online training solutions.
One of the more recent advances is in the area of online training is network supported systems. They include hundreds of companies which come together to form an effective training solution with a large pool of leading edge content. Each company contributes to the collection of online training content and the companies share system development costs and content owners receive royalties on their sales to keep driving the program.