Usability, Performance, And Data: How To Ensure LMS Excellence For Years To Come

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Usability, Performance And Data How To Ensure LMS Excellence For Years To Come
“Stool” by Gunnar Bothner-By is licensed under CC BY 2.0

The modern LMS experience is a three-legged stool, where its strategic use gets compromised if any of the three legs is not up to par. The ability to secure quality, provide support, and build upon previous learning in each of these three dimensions should be a learning organization’s main concern when it comes to LMS procurement (purchase, switching, or upgrading). At the end of the day, a successfully implemented community system should be seen as a tool to drive organizational metrics, whether that be engagement, satisfaction, or skill acquisition.

Usability is the visible face of a system, which explains the generous attention it gets from users and sometimes –in the case of widely popular systems– news outlets. In fairness, the online presence of an organization becomes more critical year after year, much more so for those who offer services online. Any remaining difference between digital presence and brand are only blurred  further.

Performance is just as important, and it affects the experience directly and indirectly. Being able to deliver on some of the most common complaints of an interface, like speed and loading times, are performance issues at the source, with clear usability implications. But it also entails reliability, which itself relates to uptime, security, accountability, and risk management in general.

LMS Data is what allows organizations to take their systems and strategies to the next level, a premise that still requires customer education. (More on that below.)

An LMS procurement plan can include any number of variables, factors, or questions ranging between boilerplate and idiosyncratic. But to ensure community satisfaction, they need to address each leg and how well they support one another and the experience as a whole.

LMS Data is not considered as important (but it should)

To be sure, LMS Data is an encompassing concept that involves analytics, visualization, and reporting on the user end, but it also has implications throughout the design of a system. It is commonplace for business applications to provide a logging system that reports on general changes, but setting up a complete monitoring system is a challenging task that can derail server performance (and, as we argued, experience). Most consumers, and even many enterprise systems, have added “data layers” as an afterthought because its value was not easy to see immediately. Many leadership teams still fail to capture the value of data. The disconnect between design and data collection in the architecture of a system is responsible for many flaws in modern interfaces everywhere today. Among the notable exceptions there is Moodle, which features a fairly comprehensive Logs system, flexible enough to allow other applications and plugins to take advantage of it with little performance overhead.

A three-pronged prospective exercise for the future of the learning organization

Long-term LMS strategies need to stay on top of the “Trifecta” and also plan for the future. LMS are digital technologies and, as such, they are susceptible to both incremental and radical changes. Thanks to Moodle and other widespread solutions, we have a general idea of how these three elements must be considered in conjunction. While some innovations might affect one of them specifically, by now you should be able to consider the implications across the “Stool.” A barebones prospective exercise can illustrate how the “Stool” model might help us address future threats and opportunities:

  • People, at increasingly younger ages, are becoming daily users of screens. Many will soon be interacting more with screens than with other human faces, if they aren’t already. Usability has the responsibility of addressing these higher-order challenges. Fortunately, computer interfaces are taking on new meaning as they become more intricately knit into the design of the world.
  • Will a greater push towards full control over privacy split our modern definition of application, and demand systems to work while keeping data and functionality separate? The upcoming Performance paradigm is, in all likelihood, decentralization. We have witnessed the rise of standards for federated systems in recent years, including programmable accountability contracts, like those permitted with blockchain.
  • Artificial intelligences are about to knock on everyone’s doorsteps. Believe or not, that can be good news: As long as LMS Data remains private and open, smart algorithms will finally refine the new oil field on our backyards, hopefully to our benefit.■

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