As you start to consider your learning ecosystem, you’ll need to reflect on the role of the LMS. For most organizations, the LMS continues to play an important role in conjunction with other ecosystem elements (our next blog post will look at organizations who have done just that). But, there are times when you may want to replace part or all of your LMS when implementing xAPI. In this post, we’ll look at how The Behr Paint Company replaced its LMS in this way.
When should I replace my LMS?
While every organization's learning ecosystem is unique, there are a few reasons why you may need to replace part or all of your learning management system.
- perhaps the LMS concept doesn’t fit with how you want learning to work, or
- maybe your LMS lacks key functionality needed to implement a modern xAPI-connected ecosystem.
The Behr Paint Company: Content Accessibility
The Behr Paint Company is a paint supplier to the U.S. and Canadian DIY markets. A lot of their training is targeted at salespeople in stores who must be able to explain Behr products to customers. In fact, some of the learning content is designed not only for training salespeople, but also as a conversation tool for direct use with customers. These videos and resources need to be available quickly and accessible on the shop floor, rather than from a computer hidden behind a desk.
In response to this need, Brian Floyd, Behr’s director of sales training development, and the rest of the company’s internal L&D team helped develop a mobile application called iPK (see image below) to host and present videos, PDFs, and other content. They implemented xAPI to track and record content usage in a Learning Analytics Platform (LAP). And, and in turn, they use the LAP's (i.e. Watershed) reports to visualize and analyze that data.
From one perspective, Behr’s iPK app is like an LMS in that it’s a place learners go to access content. But, unlike an LMS, iPK is built for mobile devices and to deliver shareable content. It doesn’t need to have a lot of the other features you might expect from an LMS—such as classroom booking (because training happens on the retail sales floor) or reporting (because that’s handled by their LAP)—so the app can focus on its core functionality, making content easily accessible to learners on the job.
As an aside, Behr’s learning ecosystem is a great example of one that doesn’t involve a lot of different parts. It’s just two systems: an app on the front end with a learning analytics platform on the back end. This is great place to start.
In addition to recommending a crawl, walk, run approach to getting started with xAPI, he also stated, “xAPI should be an evolution, not a revolution.” And we couldn’t agree more.
Webinar: Brian Floyd walks you through a live demo of the organization's digital on-boarding checklist. Watch the recording now!
Up Next: How the LMS can play a key role in a learning ecosystem
We’ve explored one organization that has replaced its LMS as part of its learning ecosystem. And now it’s time see how other organizations have kept their LMSs and continue to use them as part of their ecosystems alongside other platforms.
About the author
As one of the authors of xAPI, Andrew Downes has years of expertise in data-driven learning design. With a background in instructional design and development, he’s well versed in creating learning experiences and platforms in corporate and academic environments.
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