Scaling down an LMS – for an individual trainer
April 12, 2012 Leave a comment
Over two decades in making and after having about 100 odd commercial and open source LMS solutions, is there any one of them, which can be used effectively by an individual trainer? Due to heavy focus on corporate training or education market, all of the LMS out there, seem to be designed to play well within an training institute or corporate settings. A popular misconception is, you need an LMS only for a sizable training environment… but wait, did you really ask this question to a trainer, who may be doing part time training job, or running a small business by training about 10 people a month. Many working professionals conduct trainings for small batches of students, especially high tech developers, project managers, accountants and entrepreneurs.
Most of these trainers put together their content themselves in part and add references from the available sources on the web. Ultimately they compile all the material in PowerPoint, prepare some word documents, write some quizzes in the word documents and use it in their classes. After the class they generally provide small subset of these materials as a handout to the trainees. Do present LMSs provide a viable user experience and cost effective solution to make them effective for trainers in these categories? Do these LMSs allow them to create and deliver training with couple of clicks and minimal time spent?
Let’s look at some of the key requirements LMS must have to make it usable by an individual trainer
No installation – absolutely must. If a trainer has to install and maintain the system, it’s unthinkable
No customization – absolutely must. The solution should be conscious of the busy life of these trainers, especially those who are doing it part time. Forget about APIs, UI customizations etc
Simple and easy to use – absolutely must. The solution should be intuitive and ideally no (or minimum) training should be needed to use it. So forget about bulky user manuals and assumptions about specifications familiarity … did I hear SCORM
Free or like free – absolutely must. If I can live without it, I will… so show me the value and if I like, I might spend a few bucks on it at most
Quick – absolutely must. If I already have my content, I don’t want to make another version of it just to make it scormy or cartidgish. I need a way to upload what I have and make it ready for consumption right away.
Minimum features – No need for feature festival, just a simple way to make quizzes and courses, ability to invite trainees to take the course and show me their progress and completion status … nothing more
Most open source LMSs like Moodle doesn’t fit these requirements, because it was not designed as truly hosted solutions. Although it can be retrofitted to provide a hosted environment, the cost will not allow to make it a viable business model. If you take any SaaS based LMS, and skin all its fat, you can create something, which could meet these requirements, but that is easier said than done. Scaling down is perhaps as big a problem as scaling up. It takes lot of work and change in fundamentals as to how the solution is built ground up. In a way LMS platform should still scale up to large number of users in terms of performance and availability, but in the pockets of small isolated areas led by a single trainer.
We took this challenge of scaling down an LMS, and created EduBrite Personal edition with a single focus – simplicity. Here is what you can do with it
- Quickly assemble courses using your existing presentation and documents, quizzes and videos from YouTube and Vimeo
- Use the course in your classes, or share the course with your trainees after the class, for their online reference
- Get complete tracking of activities by trainees
- Easily create online quizzes
- Invite trainees, to take online assessment using the quizzes you made
- Track their answers
EduBrite personal is open for business 24×7 at http://me.edubrite.com
Author: Ajay Upadhyaya