Probably just three years ago, if you said Element K I would have immediately thought about off-the-shelf courseware. However, Element K has made substantial, progressive improvements to their LMS, most recently by building custom integrations between Jive Clearspace and KnowledgeHub, Element K’s LMS. They announced this in October, 2008.
Via email, I asked Sue Rodeman, VP., Platform Prod Management & Marketing, Element K about their social media capabilities. Here’s what she had to say:
Q: What social media tools is Element K incorporating into their LMS?
A: Sue Rodeman – We recently launched a suite of Collaborative Tools into KnowledgeHub – Element K’s Learning Management System. These tools are powered by Jive Clearspace and provide integrated access to Wiki’s, Blog’s, and Discussion Forums so that they can be included in a development plan, returned in integrated search results, and linked to from our e-learning courses.
Q: What drove your decision to incorporate social media tools into your LMS?
A: Sue Rodeman – We believe the way learners want and need to learn are changing. This is fueled by the various Web 2.0 tools at everyone’s finger tips and by the changing demographic of today’s workforce. We are attempting to stay ahead of the curve by allowing our customers to include these tools into a variety of Learning Programs. For example, let’s say an organization needs to roll out a new product to its sales force. An effective use of a Blog would be having the Product Manager author a series of articles around that new product. Additionally, a Wiki or Forum could be used to allow sales reps – who are typically geographically disbursed – to ask questions, share success stories, and collaborate in general. Both of these could be part of a larger Learning Program that includes more traditional online or ILT based training – all of which are delivered and reported on via the LMS.
Q: If you could predict what LMSs will look like in three years, what do you see?
A: Sue Rodeman – I believe that in the next few years, one change to the LMS is that it will be more of a ‘behind the scenes’ engine and more completely integrated with an organization’s portal or internal application. The need for informal learning continues to grow and likewise the ability to easily access it or contribute to it will improve. Successful LMS’s will be modeled after the way people are sharing and accessing information today. As a result, the way content is categorized, displayed and accessed will be driven by personalization options like ‘tagging’.
Q: What difficulties are you seeing in the incorporation of social media among your current customers/potential customers?
A: Sure Rodeman – The biggest difficultly is helping organizations understand how to adopt it, insert into their culture, and apply it to their learning needs. A wiki or blog isn’t the answer for everything, but can be extremely useful in supporting initiatives such as performance support or new product rollouts. Keys to the success include careful planning, strong governance around the management of the communities, and topics and authors that encourage strong participation.
Thanks to Sue, from a fellow upstate New Yorker!
Check out other kick-ass LMSs in this series: