Learning Management System (LMS) is a sophisticated solution for planning, carrying out, and managing all training activities in the organization, including online learning, virtual classrooms, and courses conducted by the instructor. Its main task is to replace isolated and fragmented training programs using a systematic methodology in order to assess and improve the level of competence and performance throughout the organization.
The LMS greatly simplifies international certification, allows companies to correlate training initiatives with strategic goals and develop effective methods for enterprise knowledge management. The major risks related to the LMS are the versatility within the framework of the institution and its uniformity across all institutions. Handling such project risks necessitates the project crew to comprehend the sources of disparity in projects and then to diminish them wherever it is possible (Kendrick, 2015).
Types of Risks
It means that developers are trying to combine all the tools and opportunities for online learning into a single application. This tactic is built on the hypothesis that one standalone application can be flexible enough to offer the full practical range essential for an efficient learning course. Unfortunately, like many other multi-functional products, the LMS usually tries to do everything well, but, eventually, does almost nothing.
The universal nature risk of the traditional LMS lies in the fact that the principles of modular architecture that are shown to be highly effective in the computer industry, are not really used in the design of LMS. In addition to the reduced functionality, the universal nature of traditional LMS implies that a manufacturer must ensure that development and maintenance of the proper level of technological advance in all the areas of the online learning process. This type of risk should be evaded. As the online learning process becomes more social and, therefore, inextricably linked to the current technologies, trying to combine all the required functionality under one digital roof is a recipe for the failure (Kahkonen, & Artto, 2013).
Another issue contained in the LMS model of the industrial age is the uniformity of these systems in all educational institutions. In the classic model, the functionality contained within the system is approved before its shipment to the organization. For the reason that the development of the system conform to the requests of a certain institution is not economically reasonable for system designers, a generalized format is elaborated autonomously for certain institutions and then distributed to all the customers.
The system is versatile within the organization, but it may be the same for quite a few organizations. In this case, the company is going to unintentionally take the risk of causing the depersonalization of the educational (training) process in all the branches, as the basic system format has to be determined before it falls into the hands of the managers. The risk in this particular case can be accepted as it does not limit the knowledge base provided by the company for its employees and it does not have any negative effects on the working process.
Another risk taken by the company when working with an LMS is the sophistication around the reports. The company risks the productivity because if, for instance, most of the staff received low marks on report writing competence, it would not be surprising that less than 50% of the workers would be quite pleased with the tools for reporting and data breakdown when testing the LMS. Despite the fact that the LMS is able to store a variety of information for a number of users it still remains a mystery, and this risk should be surely evaded as soon as the development team recognizes the root of the problem in the logic of the system.
Extensive system implementation
In this case, the problem lies in the so-called customization of the system. However, expanding the optimization according to customer requirements can result in a significant increase in terms of implementation (in months) and an increase in cost, which in itself reduces the value to the business program (Hillson, & Simon, 2012). It is a mitigated risk, as it is less painful to make changes in the business and the process of learning rather than have an expanding optimization.
Therefore, a company may have confidence in the Learning Management System provider to shorten the implementation time period which follows the path of the installation of the box version of the system and further development.
Manager’s efforts to achieve everything at once
The operational installation of LMS is always more economically profitable because the company can expand the range of tasks later. The manager is required to have knowledge and competence to see the bottlenecks of the system and provide the developers with the necessary feedback and directions. In this case, the risk appearance possibility ratio is fully dependent on the manager’s aptitude and can be easily mitigated or diminished by selecting a manager that shows exceptional leadership skills and keeps up to date with industry and technologies that are currently trending in the marketplace.
The impossibility to satisfy the requirements of all departments of the company
This problem is archetypal for large corporations when the LMS instantly serves multiple branches and their own learning processes. In this case, the risk may be accepted, but the management should keep an eye on the departments’ performance and do the necessary actions in the case of an emergency (Lock, 2014).
While the management may not be able to recognize everything that’s beneficial at first sight, the company might evaluate what it and its employees have to learn. Each and every component of the LMS should be planned with usability in mind. The management has to create a hierarchy of activities, positioning them in the order from important to not-so-important. Taking the time to consider the risks reviewed in this project, will help the company build the system that meets both the management and the employee needs so that the company can focus on the thing that matters most – sharing the knowledge with its workers and profiting in every way possible.
Hillson, D., & Simon, P. (2012). Practical Project Risk Management: The ATOM Methodology (2nd ed.). Vienna, VA: Management Concepts.
Kahkonen, K., & Artto, K. (2013). Managing Risks in Projects. London: Routledge.
Kendrick, T. (2015). Identifying and Managing Project Risk Essential Tools for Failure-proofing Your Project. New York: McGraw-Hill Education.
Lock, D. (2014). The Essentials of Project Management. Aldershot: Gower Publishing.