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A good way to start the blog on our Inquisiq LMS product is to define exactly what an LMS is for and can do. One starting point, as the search engines seem to agree, is a description that displayed on Wikipedia:
“A learning management system (LMS) is a software application for the administration, documentation, tracking, and reporting of training programs, classroom and online events, e-learning programs, and training content.”
While Wikipedia’s reference is no longer online, it holds true that a robust LMS should be able to do the following:
- centralize and automate administration
- use self-service and self-guided services
- assemble and deliver learning content rapidly
- consolidate training initiatives on a scalable web-based platform
- support portability and standards
- personalize content and enable knowledge reuse.
Inquisiq meets all those challenges in allowing you to quickly load and deploy your eLearning SCORM-compliant content to employees or customers, organize catalogs, manage users and groups, generate reports, issue certificates and even collect course fees.
A distinct advantage of offering training over the web is the accessible to users is 24/7 and can be taken anywhere there is an internet connection. However, why use an LMS as opposed to just putting the courses on-line? The answer lies in how you want to provide access to the courses and what type of tracking and reporting you need. An LMS should be able to handle anything from a single user browsing or searching a course catalog and self-enrolling (or purchasing) a course to something as sophisticated as synchronizing to a company’s Human Resources System and using a more complex rule based system that automatically prescribes training, grants LMS permissions (user management and reporting), or providing access to restricted courses all based on the users profile (ie job title, department, location, etc). The other great value in an LMS is the tracking and reporting that can happen. Supervisors automatically receiving weekly reports on which employees are overdue on their prescribed compliance training is critical LMS functionality for any corporate training system. Likewise, knowing what courses sold this week, to whom, and for how much is key to any training provider. It is all this backend administration, automation, and tracking that allows the LMS to earn its keep.
The other thing to note is that our system does not include an authoring tool. That was a very conscious design decision we made as we felt that there are so many good authoring tools on the market that all specialize in different areas and have their own unique features and strengths. We thought that a better strategy was to embrace SCORM and work on being compatible with all those tools instead of recreating them inside the LMS. We feel you should be free to pick an authoring tool independently from your LMS and vise-versa. Between the custom content we create for our customers and the content our customers create themselves, Inquisiq has been ‘field tested’ with a large percentage of the current tools and their collective published .zip files all work in our system; thus you have the flexibility of picking the tool that meets your requirements and being assured the output will work as expected within the Inquisiq LMS.