Did you notice that no one’s really calling themselves an LMS company anymore? If you use the Wayback Machine to analyze familiar LMS systems, you’d see a transition from standalone e-learning courses to learning management systems to added LMS functionality like authoring tools, learning content management systems, synchronous training platforms, and then to the convergence of learning management with talent and performance management. Most companies are now calling themselves something more than just an LMS company- the LMS is just part of a suite. The first chart below is adapted from one by Bryan Chapman and illustrates the learning & talent management convergence.
In addition to the convergence of learning management and talent management systems, we’ve got this disruptive technology thing going on. (and I do realize that e-learning was very disruptive…)
However, I find myself having two entirely different conversations with people…
One conversation will be about creating tracking workers’ competencies, addressing skills gaps, managing the pre-hire to retire cycle, developing learning plans, and matching gaps to learning interventions. And it will likely flow into discussion around labor shortages, boomer retirements, skills of new workers, etc.
The other conversation will be about collaboration and connections – how to use wikis, blogs, social networks, virtual worlds, etc. and it will likely flow into discussions around control and culture. We’ll talk about open vs. closed, pull vs. push, hosted vs. installed, generational issues in learning, and how to manage change.
Take a look at this second chart, below, which illustrates e-learning 1.0 and e-learning 2.0. If you combined the two charts you’d have 3 little galaxies…LMS converging with talent management and LMS (e-learning 1.0) converging with disruptive technologies. What’s a learning professional to do?
Is this familiar?
- Joe is retiring; Julie is a college graduate just starting her job
- Joe has a boatload of knowledge; Julie has limited knowledge of the job
- Joe is an exemplary worker and is the model for creating competencies; Julie gets a learning plan based on the model
- The learning plan was created and includes online courses, face-to-face instruction, webinars, tutorials, reading, and periodic mentoring by her supervisor.
- Julie completes everything in her plan…(oh no, now what?)
- Julie wants connections and to be connected, experiential learning, interaction, and feedback from Joe (and others) before he retires
- Julie starts to look for another job…
But wait…like superman the training dept….
- provides avenues for online social networking (public or add-on to LMS)
- has Joe and Julie work together in a Wiki (public or private)
- blends learning methods & delivery channels
- provides a repository of learning assets that Julie can choose from
- provides access to the Internet
The difference here is about making a space for disruption. Often, an organization will not adopt disruptive technologies because they don’t think they are as good as what they already have. Or they’re too new, too small. Take VoIP as an example. I use Skype almost exclusively but fall back on the land line if it gets really funky. But I am creating a space for it. I don’t want to be the one holding the telegraph…
I don’t think we need two conversations.