Looking back to about a decade ago, there wouldn’t have been many options for an online learning portal. But, today the scenario has changed a lot. The Learning Management System (LMS) market is full of budding options. Free or Paid systems, Cloud or On-Premise with variety of methods for delivering learning – Blended Learning, Flipped Classroom, BYOD (Bring Your Own Device), Social Learning, …. At times, more options may mean more confusion too.
Taking a decision of implementing LMS system for your organization is not a very tough decision but a little confusing, and requires weighing up your needs as per the learners’ challenges. Learning style varies among the different types of learning needs, say Corporate training or Academic learning. The invariable goal of each set of learning style is to enhance the methods of learning. Picking up the right LMS as per the learning is very important because a wrong choice will end-up with a frustrated learner, trainers or teachers. At end-of-the-day, making a right decision for the first time in choosing LMS will not only save effort and time in employing it, but also saves cost through a long-term adaptation strategy.
Making a decision in choosing the right LMS involves detailed understanding and evaluating your choices against the requirements in making the best fit choice. If your team is at a stage of choosing the LMS platform or product, your Learning & Development Head or Training Manager would have already listed down those evaluations criteria.
Either it is Corporate or Academic LMS, goal of each learning style is delivering a value-added developmental skills in their learning. Apart from the fact that both LMS are far different from each other, still they possess some similarities. However, the design of these different styles of LMS would typically differ from one another in the context of Needs and Goals associated with their implementation.
Similarities between Corporate training and Academic Learning
Corporate or an Academic LMS, both learning styles have lots in common:
- Remote access to courses
- Self-paced learning
- Content creation and management tools
- Automated learning methods
However, the ultimate focus of this blog post is to enunciate the major differences among the Employee Training and Student-Centric Learning. To understand, it is important to know the major difference between employee training and educational learning.
Employee Training (How) Vs Educational Learning (Why)
“Training is explaining someone (how) to perform a work, on the other hand education is giving purpose (Why) to do something.” – Visually learning the techniques of different cricket or tennis shots generates the interest in playing the game where as on-field experience gives you the real picture of the work and so the learning style is different.
To get into more specific aspects of an LMS, let’s break it down into major areas where a Corporate LMS and Academic LMS differs:
In an academic institutions or K-12 schools, typically the time-frames used are years, semesters, trimesters and quarters, around the globe. Academic LMS must follow these time frames including holidays and exam times. Online colleges and schools are required to complete the courses in given timeline. Effectiveness of course are analyzed after completion which could be an year or semester.
On the other hand in employee training and development programs are designed as per specific skill-set and professional roles in corporates. In comparison with the academic learning, corporate trainings are more focused towards a specific job setting and demands less time-frame to complete it. Instructional design for the corporate-focused LMS must not follow typical academic like time-frames, otherwise it would not change with the dynamic shifting needs of an employee.
2. Frequent updates
Corporate training requires frequent updates on latest technology with ever-changing business needs, software and course content, so that it can cater a better version of training and development programs. Employee training engagement is lean on to the modernized tech and updated content and so dynamism of content update frequency must be maintained.
Upto K-12 Schools and Colleges, the subject matter and motive changes at very slow pace and do not require frequent updates. Yes, it is important to look into the course content of materials on annual basis and an updated content may be required. But, the frequency of such updates is far low compared to that of Corporate training LMS.
Corporate training are lineated towards their business needs and market and are updated recurrently, whereas in Academic learning the subject content do not vary much with time, say a trigonometry will always be trigonometry
3. Certificates Vs Grades
Let´s evaluate the difference between certificates and grades with an example. In an employee training and development program, which one of this is more professional:
- I got an A+ grade in the Business Marketing course
- I got a certification in the Business Marketing course.
Got the point!
Evaluation of an employee’s skills and development are done on the scale of certificates while students are evaluated, in general, based on grades and marks. An employee’s progress and productivity are measured and automatically analysed in an LMS on a regular basis, making it easier to track and award promotions to them, or assigning the right job roles to them.
4. Organizational Role
Talking about the schools, they have students, teacher/professors and principals/head of institutions at their core. In an organization, different roles are assigned as per the organization’s hierarchy. Org chart hierarchy are updated on a regular basis as the organization grows. As for e.g. a company with an employee size bracket of 10-30 individuals will vary more often with 1000-10000 employees organizational hierarchy. As the company grows, the role of employee changes with their job function.
In academic, the org chart is simple and requires a simple effective LMS platform where students can access the course at their own time and complete it in the given time-frames, teachers can evaluate and track the student activity towards the course and design the least engaging course to more engagement.
Integration between two platforms like LMS with CRM, eCommerce or Salesforce has made data processing easier and faster in business development. Enterprise level integrations are well-suited and customized with the Corporate LMS where users can easily convert data from a sales report analytics to a power-point, customer data by an ERP software.
Academic institutions more often integrate their LMS platforms with Google Cloud like applications.
6. Course formats
In a Corporate LMS, SCORM or TinCan/xAPI compatible course content can be easily exported, which are packaged in an elearning specific formats. So in an LMS their is no such limitation of having a single format course content. PDF, PPTx, DOCx, XLSx, ODT, MP3, WAV, AVI, MKV etc. course formats are supported too as part of SCORM or xAPI packages.
Academic institutions are not so stringent towards the course format structure than the business driven organizations. Still a multi-format availability of course in educational setting gives an additional perk to the academic learning.
7. Intranet portal Vs Social platform
There is a high chance of data loss and leakage in corporate training. Data leakage could be sales report, market analytics, leads report, company business protocols, clients reports, etc. This could be a disastrous and non-fixable problem for a business. To avoid the data leakage in a corporate setting, a dedicated server or intranet portals are installed where company confidential credentials and information are kept, accessible to specific individuals. Social media interactions are generally not encouraged in the corporate learning management system.
Academic learning is more centered towards the social learning where students can collaborate with teachers and students across the world, discuss the challenges of a course, join live webinars of course etc.
Suppose a Corporate LMS interface is designed with the academic terms and glossary, then the tech-support team will get issues in handling the query. They will feel confused and alienated with the LMS and vice-versa for academic settings. So, it is crucial to understand the design and requirements for both corporate and academic LMSs, working to the details of the terminology used, and provide a compatible solutions for use in different scenarios.
Corporate LMS or Academic LMS – Which one suits you?
Now that you have understood the differences between what an LMS means in the context of a Corporate and what an LMS is for an Academic Institution, let’s get into some conclusions.
Technically, an LMS designed for Academic Institutions may still be used for Corporates, and vice versa. BUT, does it serve in meeting the defined goals? It’s all about weighing and filtering out your requirements and finding a best-fit all solutions for your organization’s needs.
There are OpenSource LMS platforms like Moodle or Proprietary LMSs which are made for generic purposes and a solutions may be designed as per the context of an Institution or Organizations. At the same time, some of the popular LMS platforms are made for either Academic or Corporate Learning only. This factor should be considered while making a choice.
Is your LMS is actually designed for your needs? If not then why not get an expert to design your LMS as per your requirements and organizational settings.
Here are some of the most important requirements, that are unique to corporate LMS are listed in the following video: 7 Unique Requirements Corporate Learning Management System
3E Software Solutions offers customized and mobile enabled LMS solutions for both Academic and Corporate verticals. For more details, email us at [email protected]
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