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The Great LMS Debate is Over

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With the rise of Social Media, many LMS administrators are trying to understand the most effective way to update and extend their training programs. Charles Jennings, a partner at The Internet Time Group, recently commented:
    …as far as incorporating all the ‘social and informal’ support pieces into an LMS, my own view is that an LMS is probably not a good place to start. LMS interfaces and flexibility usually lag far behind those of most social tools. Why not just use those tools and aggregate any activity data you need? Some large LMS vendors have taken a different approach and opened APIs to do this. That’s a better bet in my view.

    … the question for me as to whether I’d want all (or some) of this functionality to be provided by one vendor or whether I’d want to select whatever’s best in the marketplace for my own context. If integration was relatively straightforward, I think I’d go for the latter. More flexibility, more personalization etc.

This same perspective has been noted by many participating in the Great LMS Debate. Most LMS vendors offer limited flavors for many tools (the focus of the argument is social media, but the same arguments have been posted to the eLearning Guild’s LinkedIn discussion board about eCommerce capability, and just as easily apply to marketing, subscription/registration functions, etc…). The key challenge was noted by my former colleague, David Wilkins of Learn.com, in his reply to Clark Quinn in When to LMS.
    I don’t think we should underestimate the effort to “glue” it together. Minimally it requires a shared profile that can be accessed by multiple apps, a unified activity stream that can take input and send output to multiple apps, and multiple search API’s in addition to SSO and all that. (I’m assuming here that reporting takes care of itself if you can have a consolidated profile and activity stream.) That’s a glue my friend… ; ) Is it doable? Sure, but it’s real work and you also have to worry about changes that individual vendors might make that could blow it all up.

David perfectly summarizes THE challenge faced by most LMS vendors. Even with APIs, there is a lot of “glue” needed to get the right pieces hooked into each other correctly and maintain the stream- oh, all that, and the fact that changes can destabilize the ecosystem.

What makes Accord LMS so brilliant is its foundation on DotNetNuke (DNN), an integrated, extensible, open source web portal framework. “That’s a glue my friend ;) “. DNN provides shared profiles, roles, content management and navigation. Their marketplace offers a tremendous number of third party applications, installed as modules that simply plug and play into the framework. You can pick and choose from social media, eCommerce, document management, banner tools, even skins and then integrate in a straightforward manner. In addition, DNN natively supports multi-portal/tenant hosting with the ability to automatically template and clone portals. Accord can deliver a master eLearning catalog to any number of privately branded client portals. Together they provide an ideal architecture for distribution channel training.

The Great LMS Debate is over. You don’t have to choose between “integration” or “flexibility” or “personalization” or “best of class”. DNN accommodates all of the above and lets you pick and choose. This is the reason Interzoic made a strategic decision to create the Accord LMS as a module set that simply installs into DNN like any other application. The result is an LMS that seamlessly integrates countless extensions, is built on an enterprise class framework and natively supports multi-tenant deployments – a feat that other “monolithic” LMS systems are struggling to provide.


| Categories: eLearning

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