If Your Firm Already Has A Knowledge Lake, Do You Want An LRS?
The existing tech stack
Most have business intelligence tools like Tableau, many have one or more data lakes – large repositories for all of the data that is collected across the company. When it comes to the L&D team requesting additional software, the natural setback for IT is often: “Why do we need an LRS too?”
It is a good question. Here are our top three reasons why you would still deploy a learning record store even if you already have a number of existing data technologies in place:
1. Collect clean and well-structured data
One of the worst jobs that you’ll find yourself on the receiving end of is a seemingly simple request that turns into a monster task for no reason other than bad data. You know what it is like, your boss or stakeholder makes a simple, seemingly disposable remark about how great it would be to know how the HR team close rate compared to the sales team. No problem you say we have. But then look at the actual data. And it’s a mess. It turns out that completions are not measured the same way everywhere. And it’s not clear who completed something once and who did it ten times. And you’re pretty sure you should be on that list … but you aren’t … does that mean data is missing?
The main job of a learning record store is to validate data. That is exactly that problem. By adopting an actual specification for the collection of data (in the form of xAPI and xAPI profiles) and validating this data on the way into an LRS, we avoid the pitfalls of a lot of useless, impure data.
IT will tell you that they can write validation rules in and around the data lake. I bet you can. But will they have the time or the energy to save all of this for you? And will they save the data first and try to clean it up later? What if you can’t?
It’s easier to use an LRS like Learning Locker to do this for you first and only save data in the format you need. The same and useful data can then be sent to your IT team’s enterprise data lake if that is your ultimate record source.
2. New forms of learning content
While the learning experiences expand to new hardware media such as virtual reality, the LRS offers a way to track not only the clicks around a more traditional piece of eLearning, but also a simulated environment.
With the first point still ringing in our ears, it is worth remembering that an LRS is not just a database for storing activity data. An LRS offers specific functions required to start, play and restart learning content, even in newer forms such as AR and VR. All of those things that you take for granted in SCORM – like where you left off and a whole bunch of things SCORM doesn’t (keeping records of ad hoc data such as leaderboards) – can too be looked after by your LRS. When SCORM has limitations on the granularity of tracking, user experience, and mobile access, xAPI is good for launching and tracking modern learning content. Almost all the most modern authoring tools make this a “plug and play” with xAPI and an LRS.
3. Build a flexible ecosystem
When we examined the maturity of organizations and determined that they could use learning data for organizational benefit, we found that those organizations that have taken a standard approach to collecting learning data such as xAPI are consistently ahead of their peers in runtime .
While you might not have AR or VR on your buy list for next year, there are sure to be plenty of new innovations that are likely to be shortlisted over the next 12 months. Finding the right software is almost easy. It’s a little harder to get them to work with the systems you already have.
Data makes up a large part of these integrations. If you cannot get data flowing between systems and collect accurate and useful data on learning activities, you will find it difficult to create the business case for renewal. If your new tools can’t bring data to you, you have to go to them. You will be faced with converting this data into something usable, transportable and queryable. Without a standard method and approach, it will be difficult. xAPI and the LRS did this job for you.
LRSs can be plug and play with each other and with a variety of eLearning activity sources, making integration easier. LMS are usually a nightmare. Transferring data from one to the next is a mammoth undertaking. While there are other standards for how tools work together (e.g. LTI), these often do not allow a single record source – your data stays in the tools and not in a central repository. And that brings us back to point 1: how are you going to run the reports you need to demonstrate the value you know you have created?
A well-designed and deployed LRS will not upset the balance of the technical ecosystem in your company, but will bring better quality data to the heart of the company’s intelligence. Many of the LRS we provide continue to work with existing tools, feed high quality data into data lakes and provide useful structures that BI tools can easily query.
But wait, there’s more …
In addition to the benefits of simply deploying an LRS, you can also take advantage of working with the experts at Learning Pool and our wider ecosystem of tools. Here are three exclusive ways that by partnering with us you can go further than just corporate data lake:
When you sign up for Learning Locker Data Cloud, you not only get access to the software, but also access to our staff. Or more precisely, a Technical Solutions Architect whose mission is to help you integrate your LRS seamlessly into your ecosystem. They will work with you during the implementation phase of your contract to ensure that the data flows in a meaningful and seamless way. We will be an extension of your team.
Very often L&D cannot play with special business intelligence tools that exist in the organization. The keys for BI licenses are located elsewhere. While we can work together to incorporate these tools for the benefit of the organization, it doesn’t always work for L&D. This is where insights come into play. Insights is our own BI integration for Learning Locker and includes designer and viewer licenses for one of the most powerful BI tools currently available: Sisense. Sisense is fully integrated with Learning Locker and our team is available to assist you. This means that you always have the options of predictive analysis at hand.
Storage and reporting are the most basic stages of learning. What most people really want is to actively influence the learning process and make the learners more successful. This is where Waves comes in. Waves is our powerful workflow automation tool and can trigger other systems and user notifications based on data. Waves is deeply integrated with Learning Locker to use xAPI data as a trigger. Think of this as “if this, then this” for your business learning.
Not sure if you are ready? Find out what the right next step is for you.
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