Should You Block Access to Your Learning Management System?
Two commercial courseware providers asked me the same question this week:
"In the event that a customer does not renew a subscription to my courseware, how do I block their access to the learning management system?"
Great question! The fact that this was asked by two separate companies suggests that this is a common concern. Course providers may sell individual courses or memberships to access a library of courses. Usually, access to the content is limited to a certain amount of time. So what do you do when access has expired? Our gut reaction is to try to block the learner from the LMS through various means:
- Deleting the learners from the system — This is a bad idea. The data related to learners' behaviours impacts reporting in the LMS. Delete the user and you delete course usage data, data related to how learners answered exam questions, learner certifications, etc. As a general rule, you always want to maintain great data to help improve your learning initiatives.
- Changing learner login credentials such as usernames or passwords — If you change a person's username or password, they won't be able to log in. The problem with this approach is the time and effort required. It may only take minutes to change login credentials for a small number of learners. But what will you do if your next big contract is to provide learning to 5000 people?
I think there's a better solution. Instead of restricting access to the LMS, consider restricting access to the content. Allow learners to log into the platform to access their transcripts and certificates. If you block them from the LMS, they'll quickly forget about you. Better yet, consider using your learning management system as a marketing tool. Provide these learners with free sample courses or course segments. Design your e-mail communication templates to build a case for having them renew their memberships. Convince them, through the quality of your content, that they should remain customers.