Two Ways to Configure LMS Campuses

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    Two Ways to Configure LMS Campuses

    By Steve Pena, Senior Instructional Designer and Implementation Specialist SyberWorks, Inc.

    Depending on your companys organization and training requirements, you may want to

    configure Learning Management System(LMS) campuses in one of two ways:

    As multiple entirely separate campuses.

    As a single campus with separate sub-campuses.

    Most LMSs support either option, and some better than others.

    Multi-Campus Model

    If you need to keep your training constituencies entirely separate, then configure the LMS with

    separate campuses for each customer. This gives each their own full-featured campus, but adds

    to their campus-management responsibilities.

    This approach also makes implementation a bit more straightforward. One need only create oneset of courses/classes, reports, and branding for each customer. This usually works best when

    customers have larger user bases, since they require more administrators, instructors,courses,

    content creators, classes, and in fact, more of just about everything. Such complicated trainingapplications are often best managed individually.

    Campus/Sub-Campus Model

    This approach is better when the separation of campuses is less important than overseeing,tracking, and managing all of them from a single point. In this scenario, the LMS runs differentsub-campuses within one master campus.

    But this can be more conceptually (and practically) messy to pull off. You may have to create,manage, and track multiple sets of branding, customer-specific courses, and training results.

    Heres how it might work: Lets say that you create training programs for telecom firms, each ofwhich has its own customized training. When a user for one company (TelecomA) logs into

    theirLMS, they should be able to:

    Access only the classes available to them. Access only their firms customized courses.

    View reports about their courses and classes alone.

    See TelecomA campus branding on their screens.

    The LMS administrator for TelecomA will see only their companys:

    Class schedules.

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    Courses.

    Training reports.

    User data.

    Some LMSs even let you definepermissions for these administrators, to control the campus

    functions they can perform. For example, TelecomA may want its administrators to:

    Enter new user accounts.

    Edit existing users.

    Authorize users for courses.

    Enroll students in classes.

    Track students progress through training reports.

    While a vastly different client (TelecomB) may want its administrators to perform only reporting

    functions. They may wwantyou to perform user-administration functions, assign courses, andenroll students in classes. This flexibility is a strength of the campus/sub-campus model.

    But an Organizational Hierarchy is key to making it work. Each client company can have its

    own customized hierarchy structure with up to 5 reporting levels (in larger organizations) oronly 1 level (in simpler firms). And with these hierarchies in place for each customer, you and

    they can:

    Assign individual users to hierarchy locations.

    Create company-specificcourse content and associate it with their hierarchy.

    Define and schedule company-specific classes and similarly associate them with thehierarchy.

    Once this is done, courses and classes will only appear in company-specific course lists, becausethey are linked into Organizational Hierarchy levels. While perhaps more complicated to

    implement than the multi-campus approach this campus/sub-campus setup lets you:

    Create things once and propagate them throughout the training site to all customers.

    Grant different functional permissions to each customers administrators.

    Separate customers training programs, but manage and report on them centrally.

    Funnel all customers e-Commerce activity through a single credit-card merchant account.

    Decisions, Decisions!

    I cant say which option is better for you, but these are important deciding factors:

    Simplicity for you and your customers.

    Scalability needs.

    Customization requirements.

    Regulatory issues.

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    Both approaches also require extensive pre-planning and detailed implementation blueprints.

    And scalability issues could be the single most important deciding factor. So investigate

    customers scalability needs early on and throughout the entire project.

    About the Author:

    Steve Pena is a Senior Instructional Designer and Implementation Specialist at SyberWorks, Inc.

    (http://www.syberworks.com), Waltham, Mass. SyberWorks is a custom e-Learning solutionscompany specializing in Learning Management Systems, e-Learning solutions, and custom

    online course development.

    About SyberWorks

    SyberWorks, Inc. (www.syberworks.com) is a leader in the custom e-Learning Solutions and

    Learning Management System industries for Fortune 1000 corporations, higher education, andother organizations. Located in Waltham, Massachusetts, the company serves the multi-billion-

    dollar e-Learning market. Since 1995, SyberWorks has developed and delivered unique andeconomical solutions to create, manage, measure, and improve e-Learning programs at

    companies and organizations in the United States, Canada, Europe, and other countries.

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