The elearning domain throws many surprises every now and then, with a Learning Record Store being the latest on the list. The invention of Learning Record Store was quite an accident but since 2001, it has been preferred by many scholars and online trainers.
As Experience API (xAPI) is growing more successful, you might wonder whether to choose an LMS, a LRS or both?
Although it might come as a surprise, but LRS is a part of LMS and can perform functions independent of the SCORM-driven Learning Management System (LMS). The news that learning content could now be followed and recorded outside LMS thrilled a lot of professionals in the corporate circle.
With the inception of LRS, users can now operate offline and can access, trial, account enrolled users’ interactions. LRS is giving a tough competition to LMS through its fully functional independent reporting and tracking capacities. But, does it mean corporates can forgo LMS over LRS? Let’s find out!
Learning Management system
LMSs are widely used for efficient administration, automated delivery, documentation, tracking, reporting of educational courses and training programs. LMSs oversee the entire eLearning part, beginning from delivering educational material to enrolled learners of the course to administering and evaluating tests, assignments and following learner progress.
An LMS not only delivers online learning, but also provides an active platform for virtual courses, blended learning, adaptive learning, flipped classrooms and more. Based on your elearning requirements, you can also complement LMSs with conventional training management systems to provide instructor led training or integrate learning record store for storing learning information.
Learning Record Store
While many would vouch for the seamless eLearning experience that LMS offers, they are not effective when it comes to advanced reporting and analytics. This is where Learning Record Store enters the picture and probably, outweighs LMS.
LRSs were designed with one simple aim in mind: Store content along with user interaction in a simple, searchable manner by making use of Tin Can API.
LRS records data as archive of individual online learning records or in user transcript format. And, it does a little more than just store data. It operates and delivers stored, stated data autonomously to Learning management system or other LRS or other reporting tools and software solutions.
While the term “Learning Management System” is often loosely used to hint a broad range of products, Learning Record Store is strictly used to refer to precise software that strictly follows xAPI (Tin Can) specifications.
An LRS fares better than LMS by letting users execute numerous functions for recording data that SCORM doesn’t allows such as tracking mobile learning, informal learning, trailing real world performance and acquiring full control on content delivery.
But if you have an LRS, do you need an LMS?
- To know whether you need both and LRS or LMS, ask these questions:
- Do you principally store historical training?
- Is there a need for tracking compliance training or yearly certifications?
- Are you chiefly trailing social learning, virtual learning, simulations, etc?
- Do you seldom schedule instructor-led classes?
- Do you need to schedule instructor-led classes?
LMSs oversee waiting lists, roster management, reminder notices, conflict checking, etc so LRS isn’t useful when it comes to schedule data. It can only handle historical data.
Do you have frequent training requirements?
An extremely regulated industry would require recurring training requirements. Moreover, you can use compliance focused LMS that will update learners with notices about the criteria they need to meet.
Do you handle excessive courses?
If you are commanding a large number of instructor-led and e-learning courses, LMS is the way to go, no matter whether these courses are SCORM or AICC and xAPI compliant.
What are your evaluation needs?
While LRS records assessment results, consider the storage needed for assessment questions. Storing these in your content will prevent you from doing item analysis but LMS can prove to be quite a savior here.
While most LMSs aren’t designed to handle learning records or social learning analytics, LRSs can do that seamlessly. If you are only concerned with learning records, you can easily choose LRS over LMS.
Here are the functions that an LMS can perform, but LRS can’t:
1. Tracking compliance requirements
2. Managing talent and competency
3. Allowing learners to check grades
4. Offering e-commerce compatibility for course enrolments
5. Integrated wiki
6. Manage prerequisites and equivalencies
7. Google maps integration (Lets you locate other learners)
8. Video conferencing, Podcasting, Chat rooms and Forums where learners can collaborate
9. Manage users, roles, instructors, facilities
10. Dropbox section where admins can leave files for learners (PDF, Word doc, syllabus, etc.)
11. Calendar and Email integration (beyond invites)
12. Class roster available to learners
13. Announcements from admins to learners
14. Proprietary social networks inside the LMS
15. RSS notification integration and News feed / updates
The Bottom Line
All these amazing benefits of LRS data and analytics storage might appeal to many, but the day when it replaces LMS completely is still far. One can argue that LRS lets users operate it offline which is indeed a praiseworthy trait, but LMSs still offer a wide array of functions that LRS don’t offer from user management to making surveys and quizzes. Finally, the decision to declare LMS or LRS a better solution rests on a specific industry’s needs and requirements.