I’ve now conquered my 4th public-facing SharePoint portal. This one was a little different because it was designed to serve as a platform for a learning management system (LMS). We went with SharePoint LMS (www.sharepointlms.com). Last year we did a proof of concept and deployed it internally to make sure we understood what we were getting ourselves into. This year it was time to prove we could do it. I have mixed but overall positive feelings about this product. It does do what it claims on the brochure – but in some ways certain things could be done much better.
We were able to create our own SCORM compliant flash e-learning lessons and get them to work within the LMS. All of the lessons scored properly – so it was comforting to know that we were able to move our lessons from one LMS straight into another LMS. Our requirements were fairly straight forward:
- Develop a working LMS
- Migrate our content into the new LMS
- Migrate user scores into the LMS
- Allow for multiple learning paths per course
- Add surveys at the end of each course
- Generate certificates for users
- Support prerequisites within the learning paths
- Allow users to bookmark their progress within their lessons
- Allow users to track their progress through lessons
- Allow users to retake lessons as they wish
- Make sure the menus were not confusing
There were more – but that’s a good overview of what we set out to do. Because SharePoint out of the box is so plain-vanilla – we also designed a fully custom theme to make it look more like a web-site. What we ended up with was a heavily customized SharePoint site. We got the learning management system to work. We created our own navigation and as-you-go help cues to assist users with using the site. As for the requirements :
- We did create a fully functional LMS
- All of the lessons were migrated in
- We were able to migrate the user scores (but that’s another story for another post!)
- We were able to create all of our learning paths
- We were able to integrate surveys into the learning paths (but there’s more to add on how that worked ultimately!)
- Certificate generation worked fine!
- We got all of the prerequisites working – so you had to pass certain lessons to move onwards.
- We got bookmarking to work (but we didn’t realize there were 2 levels of bookmarking!)
- We were able to show users their progress (but I’ll talk about the grade book later)
- Users could take lessons in or outside of their learning path
- We did quite a bit to work with the menus – but even the default SharePoint menus are frustrating at times.
I should add that to deploy this it took a SharePoint administrator, SharePoint specialist or two, a SharePoint developer, a flash / SharePoint developer, as well as a full e-learning team. Once deployed the product is easy to use – but do not make the mistake of thinking it’s easy to deploy this.