Insights

The philosophy behind Core learning record store

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Thomas Kelly

Core LRS may be shiny and new, but the technology behind it has been at the heart of Junction-18’s core offering for more than three years now.

Creating a commercial learning record store has been on my list of pet projects for a couple of years now.

At the start of 2020 it took on new urgency.

Junction-18 authored and certified our first LRS system back in 2017 when learning record stores were more a promise of the future and an academic pursuit.

At the time, we only offered it to clients we were already doing work for, and what we found was that an LRS immediately allowed us to unlock powerful new features and options for those clients including stylised launch hubs, evidence and attachments, an expressive language to record more than just a simple course assessment, and opportunities to query and report on user journeys in whatever weird and wonderful ways they unfolded. 

The technology found its place in many projects that may have previously proven too costly for our clients. The ability to launch an entire learning campaign without the need for a proprietary LMS offers so much in cost savings.

Over the years, we have focussed on strengthening the original system and adding features that can complement a learning management system or, in some cases, allow you to seriously question if you need another proprietary LMS at all.  

Features such as native support for e-learning launch protocols enhanced its original feature set rather than blurring the lines with an LMS product.

Why now?

Looking at the emerging LRS market and current trends to reduce bloat and streamline systems, it seems like a perfect time to launch our product.

Core LRS isn’t trying to replace your LMS, just challenge you to consider whether you need an LMS to meet your needs. Many learning management systems are behemoths of features that you might never need or use, but that still comprise a significant portion of your service costs.

A separate LRS with just the right feature frees you to run your system however you see fit. Be it an intranet, a chat bot or even just plain old emails to distribute your learning materials.

However your learners access courses and materials, a lean, targeted system gives you agility which, from our point of view, is a feature unto itself.

Due to the pandemic, businesses are furloughing workers and challenging those left behind to do more with less, including training and development teams.

For some organisations, that also means saying goodbye to budgetary cushion. When resources are limited, it's crucial to make decisions based on useful information.

Why use an LRS?

Data has become, in recent years, an increasingly crucial part of business decision making as the reliance on managerial "gut-feeling" is frequently discouraged. The rising market demand for data analysts alone has led to the creation of new courses and certificate programmes.

The ed tech industry is no different. Corporate L&D departments are adopting the use of data to make better informed decisions about future learning strategy. Other C-suite executives are also challenging learning and development teams to share data on outcomes.

Since the release of xAPI in 2013 (aka Tin Can), the tracking of learning activities has become easier than it was under its predecessor, SCORM.

Learning record stores allow learning and development professionals to track courses and a range of other learning activities beyond simple course completion and basic assessments.

Traditionally, LRS systems have been used by die hard learning technologists due to their complexity, but that inherently restricts who within an organisation can access and analyse this valuable data.

When I began thinking about what kind of LRS I wanted to create, democratization of data was at the top of my list. I wanted anything we created to be easily accessible to all L&D decisionmakers within an organisation, including those who don't come from a programming background.

Why choose Core LRS

In my humble opinion, one of the key limitations of other learning record stores on the market is the pricing. Pricing of these systems is either held close to the vest or businesses are forced to commit to lengthy contracts for the use of an LRS they might ultimately decide they don't need, but are still obligated to pay for.

That's why I insisted that our pricing be transparent and that organisations have the freedom to cancel at any time. Now more than ever, organisations need the flexibility to adapt their spending and resources to changing circumstances.

We also realise that a lot of solo learning technologists are trying to upskill and learn xAPI or other protocols, which is why we're offering free developer accounts so that you can try Core alongside the courses you're creating and share your feedback.

Another limitation of many learning record stores is that the creators insist you use it alongside their LMS and/or content. We want you to use Core or our other learning solutions because they work for you, not because you have to.

There's a tremendous amount of choice when it comes to systems and content, and it's important that learning decisionmakers choose the best combination for their organisations; that's why Core doesn't require use of an LMS and we make it easy to download your data should you choose to leave.

We want Core to be accessible to as many organisations as possible, for as long as they need it.

We'll also be adding new features so that your learning data can be integrated into other business analytics tools, with the intent of narrowing the gap between L&D and other areas of the businesses and organisations that use Core to make decisions.

If you would like a demo of Core LRS or have questions, please let me know in the comments or e-mail me at thomas.kelly@junction-18.com.