Recently one of my colleagues, and a new LMS end user, had a confusing exchange. The end user was looking for an e-learning course on a topic that my colleague didn't have available online. The user was adamant that it was online.
After some clever questioning, everyone began to realise the user's perception of the LMS was that it (i.e. the LMS itself) was e-learning.
Education is key
The interaction reminded me of the importance of educating our staff when rolling out new initiatives, such as LMS and e-learning. We can't make assumptions. We all have our unique mental models of a concept until it becomes real, contextual and shared.
Let's make it easy for new users by using simple definitions.
Examples of simple definitions:
- The LMS is a platform to help you search for and book training events, including classroom and online learning. It keeps a history of what you complete.
- E-Learning is online learning.
My favourite definition of e-learning
I tend to refer to the UK-based Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) who define e-learning as “Learning that is delivered, enabled or mediated using electronic technology for the explicit purpose of training in organisations” (reference).