As an LCMS provider, we hear all kinds of concerns and misconceptions about learning content management systems.
Sometimes, the questions are based on outdated information – problems that existed in early LCMSs that have been worked out over time. Others are based on issues that disappear when you use an LCMS/authoring tool hybrid like ours. Some are complaints that persist for some systems but that we've worked hard to eliminate in ours.
The truth is, we could name dozens of common LCMS myths, but today, we're going to break down the top seven things you don't need to worry about – at least, not with dominKnow | ONE.
On a semantic level, the idea that an LCMS is the same thing as a CMS is partially true, in that a Learning Content Management System is a special type of Content Management System. They certainly have more in common than an LCMS and an LMS.
On a functional level, however, an LCMS and CMS are not equivalent at all, even before you consider authoring capabilities.
In fact, the LCMS was invented to make up for the performance shortfalls of a typical CMS for eLearning content. If they were the same, LCMSs wouldn't exist.
Like a CMS, an LCMS provides a centralized content repository with organizational and collaborative features, including the ability to control read/write permissions, track file changes, and co-author or review shared content.
Unlike a CMS, an LCMS supports eLearning-specific content needs, like assessments and learning objectives. Additionally, an LCMS is capable of editing courseware, while most CMSs are limited to web content, word processing documents, spreadsheets, and basic presentations.
Most importantly, an LCMS facilitates multiple levels of content reuse. Whether you're talking about a single image, a paragraph, or a whole module, content can be saved in smaller units and dynamically pulled into as many eLearning projects as needed. Plus, single-source authoring enables an entire project to be published in many different formats, with the content optimized for each medium.
Robust content reuse means more efficient authoring, updating, audience targeting, and distribution.
The original LCMSs were basically document management systems. They had basic authoring capabilities and facilitated eLearning publishing standards like SCORM.
However, their authoring capabilities were very rudimentary. To author serious eLearning, you really needed a distinct authoring tool.
The problem? The need for separate authoring software limited the utility of LCMS features. Developing more robust authoring capabilities was just good business. As a result, most LCMSs today have decent, if beginner-level, authoring capabilities.
We pride ourselves on making dominKnow | ONE as much an eLearning authoring tool as it is an LCMS. We offer three authoring modes in one integrated system.
Claro is our original fixed-pixel authoring tool, perfect for games, animations, and traditional eLearning courses. Flow is our fully responsive authoring experience, making it easy to create content that adapts to any screen size. Our Capture tool helps you generate software simulations that students can work through in five modes: Show Me, Guide Me, Try Me, Practice and Test.
Paired with our LCMS capabilities, these authoring options offer limitless possibilities. You can create (and share content between) a wide range of eLearning projects: interactive courses, microlearning lessons, ILT presentations, games, assessments, video-based eLearning, infographics, searchable knowledge bases, job aids, and more.
LCMSs have a reputation for being difficult to use and best suited for advanced or technical users.
This was true of the systems that premiered 15 years ago (or more). The original LCMSs were unfriendly to all but the savviest users. Unfortunately, the reputation stuck, even as the tools themselves outgrew the problem.
This perception is undeserved for most of today's systems. As for dominKnow | ONE in particular, we've worked hard to make it user-friendly and adaptable to the needs of those with different skill levels.
You'll find that content organization is intuitive to the modern user. It utilizes familiar features like categories, tags, complex filtering, drag-and-drop uploads, and mass action tools.
The authoring workspace, too, is adaptable to a user's role and experience. Beginners can have a slimmed-down interface with basic authoring options, while experienced authors can access advanced features.
Even novices will find they're able to create complex learning experiences with our WYSIWYG tools. For example, our Scenario Builder widget generates interactive branching scenarios with zero programming. Capture makes software demonstrations a no-brainer – just perform the process you want to teach and adjust a few settings. Plus, our inline tips guide newbies towards eLearning best practices within their workflow.
However, we didn't want to sacrifice the potential for innovation while providing ease of use. Advanced users can tap into the full power of customization by setting up custom actions, using variables and more.
Meanwhile, you can provide Subject Matter Experts and other reviewers with a simple feedback experience within the same app. Better yet, the review workflow facilitates in-context communication and issue resolution – everything gathered in one place, no separate tools or integrations needed.
This one's another throwback.
Though it's always worth confirming the portability of a specific tool's output before you commit, most modern LCMSs are HTML- and XML-based. In other words, there are built-in mechanisms that make it easy to export your content and transfer it to another tool.
Content authored in dominKnow | ONE is 100% composed of HTML5. That guarantees not only cross-platform compatibility for your eLearning – it also means that projects can be exported and moved at your discretion.
Additionally, dominKnow can often help jump-start content migration into our LCMS from another tool. Our mass-conversion services involve guided importation of content from similar standards-based tools. The goal of these services is to migrate and convert your existing content into fully editable projects that retain formatting, facilitate dynamic content reuse, and look as "at home" as possible in your new system. To learn more, keep an eye out for our upcoming case study on this topic!
Finally, we provide a variety of publishing options to free your eLearning from an LMS, including web, print, desktop, mobile app, and LRS via xAPI. Of course, we support traditional publishing as well – our content is fully SCORM-, AICC-, and PENS-compliant.
This is obviously a newer concern – the original LCMSs relied on local networks, not the worldwide web. These days, most LCMSs are cloud-based and require an active internet connection.
This makes a lot of folks nervous.
We get it. When you've got things to do, nobody likes losing time to technical difficulties.
Many potential clients worry about what will happen if they need to work offline. We encourage them to consider how likely that is in relation to…say, a hard drive crash or other hardware failure.
While your circumstances could be different, few people these days have unstable access to the internet – we're always connected. Even when things go awry, we can reach for stop-gaps like mobile tethering or coffee shops with wifi.
Another concern is speed, which can be a problem. That's why we've worked hard to enhance dominKnow | ONE's responsiveness. We keep the data conversion between desktop and server as minimal as possible to keep everything working smooth.
Despite the nerves you might feel from changing the way you work, the fact is that in most cases, cloud-based software reduces the risk of losing work product.
Cloud storage means never losing a critical file to hard drive corruption or worrying if you hit save before a forced reboot. In a cloud-based tool, changes are automatically saved at frequent intervals, and files are backed up on multiple servers to prevent loss.
Keeping your team's work in the cloud also protects you from losing file access if someone quits on bad terms or vacations for a month at an "unplugged" ashram.
Working in the cloud can certainly be an adjustment, but it does eliminate many logistical nightmares, especially if you work on projects collaboratively with a team.
This may still be the case for some LCMSs, so keep it in mind while you choose. However, many services let you offload IT responsibilities on the software provider, thereby reducing your IT footprint.
For example, dominKnow offers hosting options that can simplify the hassles for many clients.
Server resources become our problem, not yours. Issues with our software won't go to an IT person who's never seen our platform – you'll rely on our helpful experts, instead.
You'll also be using our servers' processing power, which lightens your workstation's load.
Software updates, security, and file backups stop being a distraction to individual workers. Instead, these things happen on our end, and your staff never has to see it. Magic!
It's true that an LCMS becomes increasingly necessary with size, but it can help any kind of team overcome a variety of challenges.
The number of people creating content isn't always the complicating factor. Sometimes it's the volume of learning content or the number of publishing formats. The shelf-life of your content plays a role, as does the size and diversity of your learning audience.
Even team size is a little less straightforward than you might think. Don't just consider the people who are authoring traditional eLearning. Consider supervisors, SMEs, and stakeholders who provide feedback. Consider other departments creating job aids, knowledge bases, and other learning content outside your L&D team.
Consider the turnover you expect from all those positions. Consider information security and the safety of your organization's intellectual property. Consider geographic distribution – it's common for small teams to be fully remote, which complicates their teamwork.
All of these problems can be resolved with a centralized platform that facilitates collaboration and content reuse. To learn how an LCMS can help, check out our decision flow chart and the accompanying detailed breakdown.
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