The first post in this series discussed the importance of a structured approach to setting up a learning management system. We also started the process by identifying the learner groups we will be serving. In this installment, we’ll identify and organize the content we’ll be providing to these learners.
STEP 2: Perform a Content Inventory Audit
One of the greatest strengths of a LMS is that it acts as a central repository for much of the formal content you’ll make available to learners. This content can be in many formats to support different learning modalities, including:
- Self-paced SCORM courses
- Instructor-led events
Getting a sense of what you have by performing a content inventory audit will make creating learning paths and enrollment rules much easier later on.
If you’re migrating from a learning management system to a new system, you likely have existing content you’ll be importing into your new LMS. Just as it’s a good idea to do a major purge of stuff you don’t need before moving into a new home, a content inventory can be a useful way to get a global view of your content. Such an inventory will likely uncover content that may be out-of-date and in need of updating or no longer relevant. Uncovering stale content in an inventory review will save you valuable time later on since you’ll have that much less content to import into your new LMS.
If this is your first LMS, you may not yet have content. You should nevertheless map out what you plan to provide your learners. Your content inventory document will act as a content road map.
Your content inventory is best created using a spreadsheet or some type of database application. The beauty of using such tools is that you’ll easily be able to sort the data by various columns, making it a breeze to see all content types or topics grouped together.
If you have a way to share this document with other stakeholders so that many people can contribute simultaneously, the time required to complete the audit will be reduced significantly.
Here’s a potential structure that might make sense for a uni-lingual learning initiative. (Multilingual implementations should, of course, have a column added to specify language.)
This inventory document isn’t only for planning the launch of your LMS. Rather, it should be maintained and continually updated as your learning initiatives evolve.
(Again, I know you’re dying to start clicking on things in your new LMS. Please hang in there. It won’t be much longer.)