The same great features you need, just better!
When we developed the Accord LMS more than 11 years ago we focused on several things. We wanted to build in the flexibility to support a wide range of learning environments. We felt it was important to support clients with small companies as well as large extended enterprise implementations. That meant that we needed to manage a wide range of learners from Customers to Employees to Sales Channel Partners and more. We wanted to have a flexible learning model that allowed content creators to organize many types of Learning Elements from SCORM to PowerPoint to Video and beyond. We wanted to present Learners with an uncomplicated layout and easy to access features. I think that it’s safe to say that the team accomplished our original goals and then some.
In those days, however, we were focused on features and functionality rather than presentation and workflow. In the last year, we’ve decided that it was time to seriously evaluate the appearance and workflows built into the Accord LMS. We didn’t stop there.
image 1 - Accord LMS Learner View
After bringing new design expertise onto the team, we proposed many design changes and shared these with existing clients throughout the process. For several months we had an open preview of the early versions of this new design and applied many of the client suggestions offered during that process. We also evaluated established back-end technologies that would improve the performance of our system while maintaining the platform stability and security that we’ve long come to expect.
The result of this extensive R&D effort is version 2021.02. It really is faster, easier, and more intuitive.
Beta – In Process
Our internal testing team has been working with the beta release of this software for some time. We will be offering a few clients the opportunity to participate in the final beta release. We had many clients offer to participate in the beta and are unable to accommodate everyone. If you were selected to participate, your Solutions Engineer will be in contact next week for a pre-release evaluation copy. If not, don't worry. Talk to your Solutions Engineer about alternative preview opportunities.
Production Release – 8/30/2021 (anticipated)
We expect to release v2021.02 on August 30th. If any significant issues arise during the final beta testing, we reserve the right to extend that date as necessary. As of this writing, the current release candidate appears to be very stable, but we and our client beta testers will continue to test the software right up to Release Date.
All New Clients will receive v.2021.02 immediately upon release.
Existing clients will be encouraged to migrate to the new platform by the end of the year. Anyone eager to adopt the new version should immediately contact their sales team to request a prioritized update. Once the Accord Support team has accommodated all prioritized updates, we’ll start reaching out to existing clients to schedule their update.
Will I lose any data?
No. This update effects the User Interface and workflows. We have not made any significant changes to the database. We have applied this update to many sites during our testing program to verify that data remains unaffected.
What will I have to do?
That depends on the amount of customization that has been previously applied to your site. Your Solutions Engineer and an Accord Portal Master will work with you to identify any potential issues. Since the Learner UI now depends more heavily on thumbnail images, you should probably plan to review the folder images in your Learning Paths, Courses, and Folders. Although not required, this will significantly improve the Learner’s View. The new Image Cropping Tool should make it easy. See How to Find Free Assets for Your Learning Content for helpful tips on finding images.
How can I get trained on the new system?
The good news is that if you’ve been trained on the existing Accord LMS, you’ll find the transition pretty easy. The concepts are the same, we’ve just moved things around a little to make the features easier to access. We will be providing a Learning Path with five training videos in the new version.
Other training opportunities will be presented by your Solutions Engineer and a series of live webinars which are expected to start in September.
Has the Online Documentation been updated?
Yes. We’ve rewritten our entire online documentation library to offer quickly accessible reference material. The new documentation features shorter articles with helpful links to related topics and some Video Quicktips. We look forward to getting feedback on the changes to our documentation as we continue to work on improving all of our LMS admin support resources.
Will the Accord Academy be updated?
Yes, but that will be a longer project to undertake. The orientation and overview videos included in the new version will cover quite a bit of material while we refactor the Academy. The new Academy is expected to feature introductory videos that are around ten minutes supported by many shorter videos showing “how-to” tips.
Do I have to update my LMS?
Not immediately. We will continue to apply bug fixes to the older versions for a few months, but all new feature development will only occur in v2021.02 or later versions. At some point we will no longer provide development support for the retired version, but we have not determined when that will be. If you're concerned that updating the system may impact your current training initiatives, we encourage you to open a dialog with your sales team to plan an update schedule that works for you. There is no rush at this time.
Future Development Plans
It might be helpful for you to get some perspective on what we have coming up on our development Roadmap. Between now and the end of the year we are expecting three more releases.
2021.03 – Team Pop-ups
Additional enhancements to the Teams User Interface. This version will focus on the pop-ups for Team and Learner Details.
2021.04 – Team Bulk Imports
This release will finalize updates to the Teams User Interface by updating the Bulk Import options and back-end design.
2021.05 – Roles Pop-up
Our final release in this series will modify the Learning Roles User Interface to be consistent with the Catalog and Team Details interfaces.
After we have completed these three versions, we will begin on the new Notifications development process. If you would like to participate on our Notifications Customer Advisory Team, please contact your sales team. Our initial design review sessions should begin in September or October.
Everyone at Accord has put a remarkable amount of care, thought, and effort into this newest version of the Accord LMS. We did it for you, our clients. We genuinely hope that you enjoy it as much as we have. If you have any questions regarding the new version, please contact your Solutions Engineer. If you’re new to the Accord LMS, be sure to ask your sales team to demonstrate this exciting update to our product. You’ll be glad you did.