Saturday, October 15, 2011

Learning Management Systems Are Not Good At Enabling Learning

I was talking about the informal and peer to peer learning features in Career OnDemand with several SAP HCM consultants yesterday and they asked me how we are planning to integrate Career OnDemand with SAP Enterprise Learning, which is SAP's OnPremise learning management system. After thinking about that for a while, I came to the conclusion that such integration for the sake of reporting and tracking is not the top priority, in my opinion. I'll explain why.

Learning management systems don't enable learning. They enable credentialing. They enable organizations(administrators, hr-managers, risk management folks, lawyers) who want to ensure that someone went through the motion, so that they can show compliance when someone sues them for an error committed by an employee. In short, most learning management system buyers only care about compliance. They may tell you and even believe otherwise. This is a fundamental problem in organizational learning, which many people are trying to solve. In my opinion, enterprise software has done very little to enable actual learning in organizations.

I believe that conversation between two people is the best learning technology on earth. In Career OnDemand, we want to enable people to connect with each other and have a conversation so that they can learn from each other, exchange  notes on their real-world experiences, borrow ideas and resources from each other and build a trusting learning and mentoring relationship. We want to focus on people and their needs. Credentialing is necessary. But it is not the top problem facing organizations today.

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