2020 was challenging for everyone. Many of us were pivoting to working from home and trying to extend our operational processes, including training, beyond our traditional walls. It was an uncertain time with an uncertain outcome. Adding to the very real challenges presented by a global pandemic, there was political upheaval, weird conspiracy stories, and so many more challenges to overcome in a changing world. We all had to make decisions based upon what moving forward looked like.
Here at Accord, we decided that the best thing that we could do under these conditions is to continue improving our services to our clients. We kept our collective heads down and focused on what we do. Our team dedicated ourselves to a monumental project, designed to give us an excellent new platform from which we could continue to build and improve the effectiveness of the Accord LMS. That effort took us through 2020 and straight into 2021.
We at Accord are very grateful for the guidance and cooperation shown by our clients who helped us layout the roadmap that will significantly benefit LMS Admins for years to come. Every listening session, customer preview, support ticket and helpful suggestion provided the necessary paving stones which all helped build this roadmap. The Accord Leadership team would like to thank everyone on our development team including our clients, developers, technical support, quality control and sales teams for working tirelessly in 2021 to assist in developing the most impactful Accord LMS update that most clients have ever experienced. It’s also only a beginning.
Down the Road
Since August of 2021 we have focused on bringing our new LMS to our existing clients. We also rewrote our online documentation to reflect the new version in an easier to read modular format. We still have more work to do on our video tutorials in the Accord Academy, but continuing to update these over the next few months. We’re also exploring options to support WCAG 2.1 AA compliance and generally tightening up our UI.
So, what about new features?
We will continue to work on improved performance and ease of use for the Teams and Learning Roles features for the first half of 2022. The first of these upgrades is scheduled for release on January 10th. After we’ve completed this task, we have an upcoming project that we’re very excited about. Presently it is a bit premature to discuss in an open forum, but feel free to ask about this upcoming big project when you’re chatting with your Salesperson or Solutions Engineer. We know you will like it.
We have some more big projects that we’ll begin developing near the end of 2022. Presently our roadmap priorities were acquired through our direct customer requests as well as some general priorities expressed to us thru a random sampling of our clients earlier this year.
Way Down the Road
There is a lot happening in the training industry. Here are a few topics that we’re keeping an eye on. Be sure to let us know what you find the most exciting.
For a long time now the Accord LMS has offered the ability to award Learning Roles and assign content based on the completion of prerequisite Learning Elements. We can also based assignments on any criteria associated with the Learner's profile. e.g. Someone who is in their first year in department x with job title Y can be assigned a training program tailored for their very specific needs. This is a great starting point, but there are opportunities to base assignments on need assessments, quiz scores or perhaps specific exam questions. We will continue to explore enhancements in this area as we develop our upcoming projects.
Game Based Learning
Game Based Learning is an idea whose time is arriving. This is distinguished from gamification which rewards Learners for completion events or passing scores. Game Based Learning uses the actual games as the Learning Content. These can be single player or multi-player. As an example, an immersive language training game might involve diverse native speakers, all working together to solve a puzzle in a new language that they’re attempting to learn.
xAPI is the content packaging standard that was destined to replace SCORM. We love the xAPI. It has remarkable potential. We will continue to watch this exciting technology in efforts towards the best implementation in the Accord LMS for existing and future clients. To date there has not been a ‘killer app’ causing LMS clients to swarm to the technology. As it stands, many implementations of xAPI essentially offer the same options as SCORM.
While useful for ticking off boxes on RFI documents, ‘Tin Can’ has seen relatively few implementations which take full advantage of it’s enhanced features. This was demonstrated thru last year’s adoption report from xAPI.com. At this time, 8 years after the initial launch of xAPI, only 1.4% of their uploaded packaged content were xAPI packages as compared to 68% being SCORM. This will most likely change within the next few years. When this occurs, Learning Management will change with it.
OK, sure. Every year someone mentions Virtual Reality as the new technology to watch but this year it might finally be time to start taking this technology more seriously. The problem with any technology similar to VR is like the ‘Chicken or the Egg’. Nobody buys the hardware until some software demands it but nobody writes this software or creates the experiences until the hardware exists which will justify the investment. Someone needs to create the market.
When Facebook purchased Oculus for 2.3 Billion dollars, we knew that a VR ecosystem was going to be in our future. This year’s huge push by Meta, both at the consumer and commercial market levels, almost guarantees that the hardware will be there. It’s a little too early in the process, but within the next 4-5 years, I expect you will be able to receive some ‘hands on’ training to fix a car engine or administer some basic first-aid without needing to leave your desk.
2020 was hard. 2021 was… still hard. 2022 awaits us. We can’t wait to see the great tools we can offer which will simplify your training, simplify your jobs and delight your learners. From your fellow Learning Management colleagues here at Accord LMS, we want to wish you all Happy Holidays and a prosperous 2022.
If you would like to have something added to the Accord LMS or have an idea that might improve your experience, please do not hesitate to contact your Solutions Engineer and let them know about it. They are your advocate who will ensure that your voice is heard within our development planning process.