How a global partnership is enabling every organisation to be able to afford a Learning Management System
By YONG MIEN DEE
Malaysians are pretty tech-savvy when it comes to connectivity and online usage. It is fairly common for youngsters to rely on online resources to understand the challenges they face and to find answers to everyday problems.
In fact, research shows that up to 68% of Malaysians are Internet users, when compared with the global average of 40%.
This clearly indicates as digital natives make up an increasing proportion of our organisations, we will see a huge growing demand for online learning platforms.
In fact, even today, we have numerous pieces of research indicating that the majority of young people find classroom training sessions boring and not in line with their expectations.
There are many learning platforms out there in the market that allow learners to watch, read learning materials and take assessments and quizzes.
Many organisations frequently consider investing in their own Learning Management System (LMS). However, most find it is extremely costly (sometimes total costs can reach up to RM1mil) and requires huge infrastructure support. As such, most decide against building their own customised LMS.
Another important piece of research indicates a key element of learning is the social element where learners can connect, collaborate, and stay socially engaged while learning in an educational virtual environment. Many LMS’es developed do not allow social engagement and peer learning, hence rendering the systems ineffective.
Professor Ali Jafari, a tenured professor in Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, and a serial entrepreneur, wanted to build a great LMS. Jafari worked tirelessly and produced three inventions in the LMS space.
Among his inventions were an open source LMS called Sakai, which was used by many American universities and was later renamed Angel Learning, and acquired by Blackboard. However, none of these LMS’es that he built was ideal either.
He dreamt of building a system that not only had all the functionalities of an LMS, but would also enable social learning elements. And he wanted to take it one step further to allow all organisations to own and operate their own customised LMS at affordable rates.
Making learning a social pursuit
So, he kept working tirelessly for the perfect platform. He finally developed CourseNetworking, his own LMS output from his research paper – “From Course Management to Course Networking.”
Also called theCN, the new LMS is based on the concept of a new learning environment housed upon a Social Networking platform.
Over 150 different LMS products were part of Jafari’s research to determine the gaps in learning systems and why they do not create the stickiness and engagement levels that learners have on social media platforms such as Facebook. His notion was that if we could create the same interest and sharing level, learning can be spread across the world faster and with better learning outcomes.
As Jafari and his development team developed this amazing new LMS, they knew they had to ensure the content for this LMS was world-class. A great LMS had to include great content.
And he still had the challenge of ensuring his LMS was cost-effective and that every single organisation in the world (regardless how big or small) could afford it.
Enter Leaderonomics. In October 2015, CN signed a partnership with Leaderonomics to create a new product for all Asian organisations – Leaderonomics Digital Learning (LDL).
Organisational learning made affordable
While Leaderonomics focuses on developing great global content on leadership, management, personal development and functional expertise, and ensuring the product could be priced reasonably, theCN would focus on ensuring the technology and the design behind the LMS would always remain world-class.
This new platform (LDL) is robust enough to enable individuals to learn privately and also enable organisational group learning. LDL aims to be affordable for every single company.
Every company, with an investment of only US$250 (RM1,000) per month, can have a private channel branded with their company logo and loaded with specific, customised bite-sized content developed specifically for the organisation.
Included in the package are built-in assessments and even a social engagement and measurement tool. Most LMS charge on a per user fee in addition to the implementation and software costs, but the new LDL LMS is available on a flat-fee basis, with no additional fees for implementation or software costs.
LDL not only engages learners through its simple interface, but it also engages learners through a reward system called Anar Seeds, a leaderboard of badges that you can earn and a Social Portfolio that shows all your learning achievements in a visually attractive manner.
No training is required to use this platform, and many organisations use the “LeaderBoard” to enable competitive comparisons amongst employees so that those who “learn more” are rewarded according to the learning they have done.
Tracking to support and incentivise
In addition, this new LDL platform allows human resource leaders to have easy ways of tracking user engagement by offering on-the-spot reports on user activities on the platform, uptake and completion of courses, and engagement levels with other users.
The gamification element of the platform also allows for an easy way to identify whom to reward and how to incentivise people in the organisation as well.
For companies looking for a systematic way of developing and tracking the development of all their employees, as well as a collaborative space where their employees can come together to learn and share information within the company, this new digital learning LMS could be a great way to get started on this easy, fun, engaging and rewarding journey.
And the best part of it is that it’s practically free! (It is also 100% Human Resources Development Fund claimable.)
A few years ago, Noel Tichy and a number of other researchers argued on the importance of a learning organisation. A learning organisation is a company where every single employee is constantly learning and growing. As each individual learns, the organisation grows.
If your employees are stagnant, the organisation decays. Is your organisation a learning organisation or a stagnant one? Do you provide tools and opportunities for your employees to consistently learn and grow?
An organisation that is not growing is a decaying organisation. With the right technology, even small-to-medium sized enterprises today can become learning organisations. LDL is changing the way individuals and organisations learn, and you can set up your organisation to become a learning organisation too.