Follow-up Friday: Returning to Learning Management System Roots

When ClipTraining first considered online, task-based video training for computer users, we initially thought of two things: the standards we would adhere to for quality in our video series and the delivery mechanism we would utilize. That delivery mechanism morphed from an in-house Web server that hosted videos into an online solution that had a simple login process to control clients’ access. From that point on, we realized that managers needed more – more control over the training, methods of determining if their users were actually using it, and ways to gauge if they were benefitting as well. This realization led to our investigation of pre-built Learning Management Systems in the hope that we could purchase a solution for our clients and not have to create one from scratch.

 The search reveals LMS congestion issues

What we found is that LMS developers started simple. The original focus was providing users with easy access to their training and providing managers with reporting metrics for easy administration. Before we knew it, however, LMS construction included more than documentation; it also included videos, podcasts, PowerPoints, and webinars – essentially anything ever created to train users was crammed into one solution. Then the features sprawled into SCORM compliance requirements and training scheduling snap-ins, combined with scores of unnecessary features.

I worked with one solution whose interface was so congested that I couldn’t even find the training I needed, got frustrated and lost interest completely. Being an experienced admin and developer, I couldn’t imagine how much worse it would be for a user. I knew it was time to return to the basics. In the end, our search forced us to do what we had hoped to avoid – not reinvent the LMS wheel, but re-shape it back into its original orb-like roundness.

The need for outward simplicity with inward intricacy

At ClipTraining, we decided that users should feel like they were entering Disney World when they logged into their training portal. We wanted it to be visually appealing and easy to locate training. A consistent user experience was necessary to ensure people always knew where to find the training they needed. Most of all, we wanted users to enjoy the training and not feel exhausted navigating through the interface.

For administrators, we wanted it to feel like Star Trek – futuristic but not cluttered. We incorporated user management features and reporting without the added concerns over SCORM compliance. But would that make our product less appealing to those who had been drinking the SCORM compliance kool-aid? Perhaps, but we were looking for customers who needed training to increase users’ productivity and provide them with unlimited access to support. SCORM compliance had to take a bullet for that to happen.

Preventing futuristic LMS bloat

We at ClipTraining are constantly reminding ourselves to hold true to our original vision and not buy into the idea that all-in-one LMS solutions are always best. We remind ourselves to hold true to the needs of the user. We remind ourselves that a user who doesn’t feel comfortable with their LMS will never use it, never benefit from it, and never become more productive as a result of it. These reminders prevent the creative flow from bloating beyond our already perfect framework. Instead, we continue to focus inwardly to further round out and fortify that framework for both users and admins alike. And it shows. 


Note: Reprinted from HR Management Magazine.  Article Provided by ClipTraining (

Posted on April 8, 2011 at 1:43 am

Categories: ClipTraining, Follow-up Friday

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