Professional dilemmas

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Q I’ve heard that a learning management system can help me to assess what
kind of training I need, as well as evaluate and track progress. However, I’m
still confused about what an LMS actually does?

A An LMS can’t help to reduce the painstaking work required in
defining competency frameworks across an organisation. But what it can do is
record these in a systematic way, so they can be used as the basis for
curriculum planning and the analysis of training and development needs.

An LMS can compare an individual’s profile with that of their current job;
compare an individual’s profile with that of a job to which they aspire;
identify individuals best matched to a particular job’s requirements; and
identify the learning gap across all holders of a particular job.

LMSs with competency management facilities can have the capability to
cross-reference learning resources to competencies. This means they can list
resources that address an identified gap.

It can be difficult for students to find the resources they need to meet
their learning needs. One of the simplest, yet most powerful functions of an
LMS is to list all of the resources available.

Of course, it is possible for students to find resources from the catalogue.
But an LMS can help an organisation administer a more planned approach: by
allowing organisations to assign courses directly to individuals or groups,
assisting individual students in selecting the right combination of resources
to meet their needs, sequencing selected resources sensibly and recording this
sequence as a learning plan.

An LMS can also support the delivery of learning offline by providing
collaborative tools, such as chatrooms or managing an inventory of items such
as CD-Roms and books.

As for evaluating your training, an LMS can measure usage but, more
importantly, it can measure how many people actually finish courses. It can
record reactions and, if courses include online assessments, it can assess the
learning achieved.

Response provided by Colin Steed, chief executive of the Institute of IT
Training, www.iitt.org.uk

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