LCMS : What Are They Really Good For?

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This is the second in our series of posts discussing Learning Content Management Solutions (LCMS), and their application to the Learning & Development (L&D) challenges encountered by business organizations of all types. With the majority of the enterprise still working from home or working in a hybrid model, it’s never been more critical to strengthen enterprise learning strategies with the right tools and systems.

In my first post, I explained our basic concept of LCMS and laid out ways in which this layer for teaching platforms is different from front-end learning management systems (LMS), and how the power of the LCMS is what makes learning delivery — including deployment onto an LMS — both more robust and more efficient. I also suggested how some of the key functionality the LCMS provides is exceptionally useful in complex, large scale L&D contexts, especially those with multiformat, linked content.

In this post, I’ll dive deeper into the characteristics of organizational training and content needs based on my direct experience with dozens of learning teams and will examine how these needs are met by an LCMS.

All organizations, but especially those with growing L&D programs, tend to start small with manual training and orientation systems and to rely on institutional knowledge, paper documentation and collective wisdom as comprising the system of record, in other words, the “source of truth” about the means and methods for accomplishing work —whether that work is pure training or it falls elsewhere on the scale toward direct communications with customers. While that approach may have worked in the past, given today’s realities of remote work and pandemic restrictions, more and more companies are finding it no longer widely feasible. Over time (usually driven by the need to scale quickly as well as the urgent requirement to support asynchronous teams), these organizations turn to solutions that work at scale to document workflows, processes and responsibilities while at the same time automating object creation and management.

An Effective LCMS

An effective LCMS removes impediments to knowledge curation and transfer, simplifying workflows, creating clarity for course developers and those who depend on them, and most importantly, delivering the learning outcomes needed to support the success of the enterprise.

As the whole organization gets on board with the learning organization model, the need for, and utility of, an LCMS becomes ever more apparent. Critical requirements for an LCMS solution include the following capabilities:

  • For Course Creators/Designers, as well as for Instructors (and their Administrators), the solution should include a means of managing the course content repository, including cross-media content search, as well as uploading new, and replacing obsolete, components. Course developers in particular have distinct preferences for working in the product they are already fluent with, whether as well-known as Word, PowerPoint, or Google Docs, or more dedicated training software applications like Captivate or Storyline.
  • For Learning Managers, the system should provide a mechanism for them to see how progress is being made, audit the effectiveness of their learning content, and pre-emptively see where bottlenecks may be emerging, all of which means they’re better able to support their valuable instructional designers.
  • Properly normalized and tagged content components (e.g., smaller chunks of text, short audio- or video-clips, and so on) enable the updating of those materials all at once and avoid inefficient and error-prone piecemeal methods. Also, this approach facilitates the reuse of different content components to build new courses/materials. We refer to this as the “single source of truth” for each component.
  • The integrated system also should be able to record supporting material – i.e. documentation explaining how it relates to wider learning objectives or curricula, who the intended audience is, and how successful material has been when deployed on an LMS. For example, a valuable supporting metric might indicate how long it typically takes for a learning component to be completed by the learner, or how many test-takers struggled to find the most appropriate response.

In the final post in this series, I’ll discuss how the CCC Professional Services team approaches each LCMS project with a focus on the unique needs of people, process, content and technology for that client organization.

Ian Synge

Author: Ian Synge

Ian Synge is a Principal Consultant at Copyright Clearance Center with particular specialisation in knowledge management, taxonomies, and categorisation. He has delivered projects for major international organisations in Europe, the Middle East, and Asia focusing on helping them dynamically make sense of large datasets. Ian has a longstanding enthusiasm for knowledge organization; his Ph.D. thesis (Aberystwyth, 2002) focused on the taxonomic interpretation of naval diplomacy during the late cold war.

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