Prompted by an email form Karen Moran, I had a return to the idea of the LMS as the only place where learning records are held. That message also sparked a thought about the unbundling theme I posted about recently. The idea that all learning activity is stored in a learning management system seems increasingly old fashioned, if not bizarre. All training activity – yes I can see that. Even, all consumption of the content offered via an L&D team makes some sense in that regard. I can’t see an LMS as a useful record of all learning, however.
Whilst it is tempting to ride “the LMS is dying” hobby-horse, I will refrain. I am a supporter but the horse needs little help these days. The question of what comes next may be more rewarding. The Learning Record Store seems like a sensible answer, allowing the LMS to become more flexible and therefore more relevant. The idea that leaning for work can be more than the courses laid on by your employer needs little selling. Where the line is drawn beyond those courses is quite interesting though.
What other content and experience is relevant in the organisation? Who decides and how does that decision manifest itself to those with the records? It’s possible that a team or department can set their benchmarks of useful learning. That kind of decentralisation makes sense as it emphasises local relevance and context. The right seminar or book can make a lot of sense locally, when the global context it to vague too detect. More power to the learner in defining relevant career learning should be supported too. As our digital identities become so much more important, more say in their creation is vital.
One line that needs to be crossed is the organisational boundary. I would like my learning record to be mine. Mine to keep and take with me. Perhaps my employer and I can share it or own parts of it mutually but I want to keep the whole record. It is about my learning after all. In our freelance, fluctuating world of portfolio work, the idea that my learning is locked aw2ay in a corporate LMS is, a the very least, highly inconvenient. I would like to take it with me.
I think LinkedIn understand this point well. A Lynda.com record as part of your LinkedIn profile could be very helpful in establishing value on the job market. Combine that with (the once derided) endorsements, recommendations and connections and a more rounded and helpful profile starts to emerge. A wide range of content and experience could really start to flesh out a strong profile. And it would be mine.
How far should that go though? What can sensibly be included in a learning record and how might it be validated? This is trickier territory. Populating a profile with every YouTube “How To…” video I have watched may demonstrate my curiosity. It might well do little else though. And all the blogs I read…And all the podcasts. If the narrow currency of training courses is not sufficient, a new currency needs to be arrived at to replace it that is not a free for all.
Perhaps this is where networks and connections come in handy. A communal or networked view of relevance and usefulness when it cones to learning might be a useful way of extending what is worth sharing in a record of experience. Like an open source CV with badges and links. LinkedIn are definitely onto this one. Not an open one though, I doubt.