Stephane Pineau, CEO, Training Orchestra
By Stephane Pineau
CEO & Founder, 
Training Orchestra

In our previous article, Learning Experience, Collaborative Learning… The Learning Technologies Ecosystem Explained, we saw the motivations and trends driving the emergence of new learning technologies (Microlearning, Learning Experience Platform, Training Resource Management System…) Read below to dive in the characteristics and players of the ecosystem itself, and understand the Training Resource Management Positioning within it.

Mapping the Learning Technology Ecosystem

The following diagram represents an overview of the learning technologies ecosystem.

Learning Technology Ecosystem

 

In this map, we use two axes:

1. Horizontal: Understanding Learning Delivery methods

The horizontal axis maps learning delivery methods. Ie: how people are trained, going from Instructor-Led on the left, to e-learning and informal learning on the right.

Why is this important? Our LMS-centric world has become so infused with the equation “learning technology=online=LMS” that it’s difficult to realize that the reality for L&D professionals is quite different. A successful strategy today must go beyond e-learning and integrate different delivery methods: instructor-led training for leadership and highly technical courses, informal learning and microlearning for regular reinforcement… Technology should help you do that, yet we rarely hear about all the existing technologies that can help on this front.

This is why we’ve decided to give back some focus on the “missing” ILT and informal technology ecosystems.

2. Vertical: Understanding the Back/Middle/Front-office

The vertical axis represents the back-office/front-office focus: we can think of learning technologies as a continuum between training professionals (planning the learning strategy and delivery) and learners (engaging with the content). Of course, this relationship goes both ways.

Why is this important? Depending on the users and the processes involved, the technology you need will be different. For example, engaging with learners puts a high bar for intuitiveness, user-experience, flexibility, etc: things in which LMS’s have always lagged behind. On the contrary, training professionals need advanced optimization and business-oriented features to facilitate their jobs, which are often not present in an LMS. This is why planning and monitoring budgets, managing schedules and optimizing resources for example, is often done in excel or not at all. Resulting of course, in time and money lost, lack of visibility over the activity and overall reliability of processes and data.

This is why we differentiate 4 tranches of solutions, each with its associated audiences and processes:

1. Training Operations

  • Users: training directors, managers and administrators
  • Processes: logistics management, administration automation, budget management & cost-tracking, data and analytics

2. Training Resources

  • Users: training managers and administrators, content creators, instructors, 3rd party vendors
  • Processes: content creation and aggregation (formal and informal, microlearning content…), equipment and instructor management, contracting

3. Learning Delivery

  • Users: training managers and administrators, instructors, sometimes learners
  • Processes: content delivery (whether in a classroom, on a platform or in an informal setting), collaboration, assessment

4. Learning Experience

  • Users: training managers and administrators, learners
  • Processes: content curation, personalization, search, communication, collaboration

Where does that leave the LMS?

While it used to be thought of as a “front-office” technology -we used it to deliver e-learning – it is being upstaged in the front-end by more intuitive platforms, and in the back-end by more advanced optimization solutions.

As we can see in our ecosystem mapping, an organization looking today to create and unify a stellar learning journey for its workforce might shop for a Learning Experience Platform. A training department looking to optimize resources and budgets would look at a TRMS. To unify data for informal learning, one might consider a LRS, etc.

How the Training Resource Management System fits in

A Training Resource Management System (TRMS) is a software to help training professionals optimize the overall performance of their Instructor-Led training (ILT) activity by improving back-office processes.

Where it fits – The Training Resource Management System does not face the learner: it is back-office technology for training professionals to help run your activity run efficiently and effectively. It focuses on Instructor-Led Training Processes, and therefore sits at the bottom-left of our chart

LMS augmentation – The TRMS augments the LMS along 3 main axes:

  • Audiences: it can manage the logistics, commercial and regulatory processes necessary to train external audiences, technical workers, and country-specific audiences.
  • Delivery: it manages and optimizes ILT operations
  • Analytics: it enables flexible reporting and strategic forecasting to monitor your activity and make business decisions

Functionalities – The Training Resource Management System does all this through advanced functionalities such as automated course scheduling, resource occupancy optimization, training investment prioritization, proactive budget controlling, advanced business analytics, and training monetization & profitability

For a more complete overview of how a TRMS complements an LMS, read David Patterson’s review for Learning Light.

An example of tech stack – TRMS, LMS, Learning Experience Platform

Consider a company who seeks to provide both a stellar learning experience for its learners on the front-end, and optimize its resources and budgets on the back-end, while integrating online and face-to-face training in its strategy.

Tech Stack Example - Learning Experience Platform, LMS, TRMS

In this new ecosystem, the LMS becomes a middleware, neither purely front-office nor back-office.

  • The TRMS optimizes instructor-led training processes and manages budgets and logistics on a large-scale.
  • The LMS “holds” all the e-learning content and manages assessment.
  • The Learning Experience platform curates all types of content in and outside of the LMS such as informal content, user-generated content, microlearning content… and serve as a unique front-facing platform to ensure a cohesive experience.
  • Learn more about the differences between a Learning Management System and a Training Resource Management System.

We are in the middle of this transition towards smarter learning architectures which can integrate different audiences without portal access, provide precise analytics, and integrate both front-office learner experience and back-office optimization processes.

Going further: