Observations from the Depths of the Brandon Hall Group LMS KnowledgeBase

banner4For those of you reading this who have not had the pleasure, let me introduce you to the LMS KnowledgeBase from Brandon Hall Group. It is, on one level, a truly encyclopedic database of knowledge, containing the answers to literally thousands of questions about learning technology in every category imaginable. The questions are grouped by category and sent to the appropriate vendors to answer. The answers end up in the KnowledgeBase. The KowledgeBase is then used by Brandon Hall Group members as part of their technology selection process, which often includes further guidance by Brandon Hall Group consultants. Learning technology has become a multi-billion dollar industry and is rapidly growing around the world. Today, most organizations from enterprise multinationals to small companies use some level of learning technology to (they believe) make their learning more effective and efficient. From tracking courses to building catalogs, from creating learning objects to shooting learning through a portal, learning technology has, as in every other aspect of our lives, gone digital and become an integral part of how we learn. So the LMS KnowledgeBase – and its sister, the LCMS KnowledgeBase — captures everything – and I mean everything – about what a vendor of these learning technologies can do for you. So if, for example, you need to know if a particular LMS vendor you are considering can align its LMS system to your Documentum workflow, the LMS KnowledgeBase (aka ‘The KB”) gives you the answer. Need to find out if the three LMS vendors you’re looking at will allow you to set the number of attempts a learner has when they try to answer a test question? The KB can tell you. I just spent the last two days deep, deep, deep in the BHG LMS KnowledgeBase to prepare for a major fall update that will generate several learning systems reports, including new versions of LMS Trends and Low-Cost LMS Options that are must-have resources available only to members. I remember going through a similar exercise five years ago. Either it was truly a simpler time in the learning business, or my brain needs me to stop drinking. The picture these days is so complex and the lines so blurred between learning technologies, that the questions in the KB seem endless. So in between deciding on the very specific language of the questions, who to include in the list of vendors, what categorie(s) a questions belonged in, whether the word “interoperability” meant what we wanted to know, and whether a simple “Yes”, “No” or “Other” was correct, I jotted down the following random notes and observations.

  • Knowledge really is power, but the ability to find the knowledge you need is more powerful. Google gets it. “Search and ye shall find.”
  • Learning today is more about mastering the process of learning than remembering facts and figures. It may turn out that forgetting becomes as important as remembering.
  • With all the Big Data and at your command, the Big 21st Century Skills will be critical thinking, collaborative problem solving, presentations and communications, creativity and innovation. This is exactly what most students in all grades across all topics will be learning starting this year using the Common Core Standards for their curriculum.
  • Making decisions these days about learning technology is more complicated than ever, since the lines separating the categories of the technology have blurred.
  • No one can know everything anymore so the Team is the New Expert. That became quickly and abundantly clear working on the KB.
  • Curation is the key to using content. I cannot imagine how much time it would take to ask all the questions and find the answers about a subject as broad and deep as learning technology without someone curating the knowledge.

Just wanted to share. This is where my mind wanders when I’m deep in the LMS KnowledgeBase, which is like being behind the curtain where the real wizard pulls the levers.

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