When is an LMS not an LMS?


…when it’s a portal, when it doesn’t manage events, and when you can’t decide what’s hosted in it!

Here at Intellek we love to clarify things for our Client Family Members and potential Client Family Members. Recently this inspired us to ask ‘When is an Assessment not an Assessment?’ With over 700 Learning Management Systems (LMSs) on the market this is why we launched the LMS Toolkit in partnership with Michelle Spencer of the Legal Learning Development Network. There are a few questions we get asked regularly about LMSs born out of common misconceptions so we thought we’d answer them here! So when is an LMS not an LMS?

…when it’s a portal!

A portal is a wonderful thing, in fact we’re the tech partner for more than one amazing portal out there, but they’re not LMSs. A portal is a (usually) cloud-hosted solution for the delivery of limited and specific information. If you’re asking us what we think of one, that information is probably learning! In our sector a portal might be used for delivering eLearning, videos, or written materials. It is a great way to deliver very specific courses, for example a specific program of CLE or regionally relevant workplace behavior training. A portal is often used as a way of delivering materials associated with instructor-led training programs by organizations who focus their resources in training rather than software development. It contains content that fulfils your specific need in one place, easily shareable within your firm!

when it doesn’t manage events!

This may sound slightly bizarre coming from one of the leading suppliers of legal-specific eLearning but there’s more to learning than eLearning! Here at Intellek we love eLearning, we think our instructional designers do an amazing job of creating content that will make even the most challenging software seem simple and easy to use. However, a true learning management system will have a balance between managing, delivering, and tracking both eLearning and events. It will also offer other features like learning paths, reports, ratings, reviews, and much more. These events might be instructor-led training sessions on applications, they might be CLE lectures, or they might be more informal sessions for team members to meet and exchange best practices. However, if your putative LMS only manages learning delivered in your browser you’re back in portal territory!

 …when you’re restricted on what content you’re allowed to add!

We’re frequently asked, “so if we go with your LMS, what if we want to add another vendor’s learning?”. Our answer is always, “we’d love you to go with our learning but if you select our LMS you’re quite welcome to put whatever learning you like in it!”. The reason for this is that we don’t think we can fairly supply you a platform to manage, deliver, and track all your firm learning (online and offline!) and then insist you are limited to learning we supply! We honestly don’t believe any single learning provider will be able to satisfy all your learning needs. We’re happy when we can but we won’t restrict you where we can’t. You should have the option to get material from as many vendors as you like. This is why full LMSs often reference SCORM, AICC, or other communication standards for learning. They’re not there to promote you taking proprietary content – they’ll host it all! If someone claims that you only need their content in their LMS and nothing else at all, be careful. because even the biggest players in the industry usually understand that it’s very easy to slip into master off all trades yet master of none territory!

An LMS is an LMS when…

It’s a platform that becomes your hub for all firm learning! It’s truly Learning Management System, when it can host manage and track complex series of learning items. It’s truly an LMS when you can use the system to track events as comprehensively as eLearning. It isn’t used to push you to take a particular vendor’s learning content at the expense of the content you really want!

If you want to check out the leading LMS built for law firms please check out Intellek LMS, OR, if you want to check out some great application-focused eLearning and assessments check out our Off-the-Shelf eLearning. At the bottom of each page there are contact details. If you happen to be interested in both solutions please use either path to contact us but don’t feel like you have to – make the right decision for you!