A Learning Management
System (LMS) Solution
for Web-Based Training (WBT)
2. The Internet and World Wide Web as a conduit
3. LMS: A universal requirement for WBT delivery
4. TraineeTracker: an effective, low-cost
5. How TraineeTracker compares to other
Distributing effective learning
solutions in a world facing a delirious rate of change has become
a challenge, especially in highly specialized professions, where
the central core of knowledge changes continuously. The Internet
and World Wide Web (WWW) facilitate access to critical, data
rich knowledge by professionals and students all over the world.
Increasing demand for this kind of learning poses new challenges
for training organizations that must prepare to serve this potential
audience. A critical element in successful deployment of Web-based
training (WBT) is the engine that manages and drives e-Learning
deliverables - the learning management system (LMS). This paper
introduces basic WBT concepts and describes an LMS offering
from SofTrain Inc. - TraineeTracker.
"In times of change,
the learner will inherit the earth while the learned
are beautifully equipped for a world that no longer
exists." -Eric Hoffer
"There is a way to do it better...find it."
Glossary of terms
E-Learning - Any formal
learning material delivered electronically. Whether an online
course or a tutorial distributed on CD-ROM, e-Learning teaches
students what they need to know when and where it is most convenient.
Users need a desktop computer and/or Internet appliance and,
for Web-based training, access to the Internet.
LMS - Learning management
system. A software application that uses a computer to organize
courseware and track student records and progress. WBT is often
combined with LMS. CMI (Computer Managed Instruction) is another
name for LMS.
WBT - Web-based training.
Training delivered over the Internet using the World Wide Web
(WWW). (Also referred to as e-Learning and IBT - Internet-based
The demand for online learning is
growing as market pressures drive the need for more effective
learning solutions. The increasing popularity of Web-based training
(WBT) presents significant new revenue opportunities for education
and training companies, who must address this demand to stay competitive.
"Just as investors have
been richly rewarded for their investments in B2B
solutions providers...we believe we are at the beginning
of an enormous implementation of B2B e-Learning content,
infrastructure and services that has big potential
for investors." - Thomas Weisel Partners
The market for Internet-based education
commerce is growing rapidly. According to International Data
Corporation in Framingham, Massachusetts, the U.S. market will
grow from $600 million in 2000 to $5 billion in 2002.
An effective Web enabled learning
management system (LMS) is critical to the successful delivery
of training over the Internet. TraineeTracker, a new
LMS software application from SofTrain Inc., delivers a feature-rich,
cost-effective solution for managing WBT.
The Internet and World Wide Web as a conduit for e-Learning
The explosive growth of the Internet
and the World Wide Web (WWW) is transforming teaching and learning
at all levels of education, both corporate and K-12. The electronic
learning (e-Learning) environment is significantly different
from traditional training delivery. Training and education organizations
that understand the issues surrounding e-Learning and implement
effective solutions will achieve the greatest success in the
The Web and Web browsers, like
Internet Explorer and Netscape, have made the Internet a more
user-friendly environment. The ability to integrate graphics,
animation, text, and sound into a single tool means that novice
users do not have to struggle with a steep learning curve. The
Web also provides a mechanism for adding value to existing courseware,
including pre- and post-assessments, personalized learning plans,
online registration, and competency and performance modeling.
- Learning in the Internet age
- real-time, 24/7, anywhere, anytime.
- Learner-centered - personalized
to the individual and customized to the organization.
- Network-assisted - often assembling
learning experiences real time, "on the fly."
- A mix of learning methods -
including virtual classroom, simulation, collaboration, community
- The whole learning experience
- from assessment through testing and, optionally, certification.
- Online administration - learning
management systems (LMS) handle administrative tasks like
security, registration, payment, and monitoring learner progress.
- e-Learning Environment
LMS: A universal requirement for WBT delivery
There is a universal requirement
for all companies that implement WBT: an online system to house,
organize, and manage it. No matter what authoring tool or platform
is used, there must be a tool to perform key functions, such
as course administration and student tracking. These applications
are known as learning management systems (LMS).
What is an LMS?
An LMS is the umbrella over all
of a company's authoring tools and courses. It is the organizer
that performs critical administrative tasks: managing, delivering,
and tracking a company's training over the external Internet
or internal Intranet. The LMS is a strategic e-Learning tool
that must work seamlessly with the courses and the databases
that hold the training records.
pricing: sticker shock
Traditional LMS systems run from
$11 to $50 per user, per year plus approximately the same amount
for setup and installation (source: Online Learning Magazine,
September, 2000). For example, a company with 1,000 employees
can expect to pay $11,000 for installation and another $11,000
for user fees.
Effective training for all
The typically large investment
necessary for effective training and development has been a
limiting factor for small- to medium-size organizations. Traditionally,
small businesses have been unable to afford more than a single
trainer or occasional off-site workshop or conference. They
were priced out of most broad-based training solutions essential
to long-term success. The advent of Web-based training and low-cost
LMS tools, such as TraineeTracker, changes the landscape
of learning, offering reasonably priced training strategies
most smaller groups can now afford.
TraineeTracker: an effective, low-cost
SofTrain Inc., a Phoenix-based
Internet consulting company (www.softrain.com),
has created an efficient, cost-effective
e-Learning LMS software tool. TraineeTracker (www.TraineeTracker.com)
provides an Internet-based solution for housing and managing
customers' training material and content delivery. It
facilitates online distributed
learning activities across a variety of platforms and provides
key functions, such as locating and accessing courses, tracking
learner progress, and reporting learner performance - all for
a fraction of the cost of competing products. TraineeTracker
can be used by any organization to manage their electronic training
deliverables in an asynchronous, Web-based environment (corporate
training and K-12).
- Login for registered users.
- Routing tool that manages course
availability and selection for registered users.
- Add/Edit/Delete Users page (for
the TraineeTracker Administrator).
- Administrator can add/edit special
accounts for groups of lessons and students.
- Managers can view/modify Manager
and Student records (not Administrator records).
- Survey results in a database
can be accessed and viewed by an Administrator.
- Search Lessons feature (from
- Personalized Web pages - Call
variables from within the database to customize Web pages.
- Logout and security - Logout
button resets variables; book marked pages within a course
force the user to Login again.
- Quiz scores are posted to the
database, which Administrators/Managers can view.
- Administrator Reporting Function
- Includes ability to view student data using a password-protected
area with a Web browser. All data is stored in the database.
Reports include Student History. Developers have control over
history reports pages.
- Interactive conferencing system
available for students/instructors communication.
- Can run from SofTrain servers,
customer servers, and ISP (Internet Service Providers) servers
that support ColdFusion and Access/SQL.
- Functions, as well as look and
feel, are fully customizable.
- Runs on multiple platforms,
- Windows NT/2000/XP with
ColdFusion and MS Access or SQL Server
- Linux with ColdFusion and
- Technical support -- Purchase
price includes telephone and/or e-mail support for four months.
For customers that use SofTrain, Inc. after the initial four
months ends, we provide support and hosting for $150 per month.
- Low cost
- Purchase price (unlimited
users) includes installation support.
- A variety of hosting options
- Hosting by SofTrain Inc.
is available (SofTrain acts as the ISP, hosting courseware
on their servers and performing all maintenance.)
- Can be hosted by any ISP
that supports ColdFusion and Microsoft Access or SQL Server
running under Windows 2000/XP or running under LInux using
MySQL (maintained by ISP and/or SofTrain).
- Not tied to a single platform
- Developed using standard
tools that run on a variety of platforms.
- Works with popular WBT content
- Fully customizable
- Can be modified/enhanced
by customers or value added resellers (VARs).
- Supports unlimited growth
can be run in a clustered environment, with several servers
acting as one virtual machine. This provides 24/7 uptime and
"load balance" across machines (requests for server access
is balanced across all machines). This robust architecture
means that customers preserve the value of their content investment
as their needs and number of active learners increase.
How TraineeTracker compares to other LMS products
- TraineeTracker contains
key LMS functionality for a fraction of the price of competing
- Unlike other LMS products that
have been "retrofitted" for use on the Internet,
TraineeTracker has been designed "from the ground
up" for Internet/Web use. The development language used
- ColdFusion - is a standard scripting language designed strictly
for use on the Internet. ColdFusion development time is approximately
one-third of the time required using other tools.
- TraineeTracker includes
source code, so it is completely customizable - from design
to functionality. There are no modification restrictions.
(Most competing products do not include source code in the
- TraineeTracker runs on
multiple database platforms: Linux, UNIX, Windows NT, SQL
Server, Oracle, and MySQL. (Other LMS tools that incorporate
Active Server Pages run primarily on Windows NT/2000/XP.)
Education as we know it is changing
before our very eyes. The Internet offers tremendous potential
as a ubiquitous training delivery mechanism. In the new millennium,
the power of technology and the Internet will drive an enormous
implementation of e-Learning content, infrastructure, and services.
E-Learning is one of the fastest
growing and most promising markets in the education industry,
as emerging platforms offer effective solutions for WBT with
price tags that allow even small businesses to compete in the
TraineeTracker, from SofTrain
Inc., is a robust, scalable e-Learning management system that
contains key LMS functionality for one half or less the price
of competing products.
Burke, Bob. "How Small Business
can benefit from e-Learning," e-Learning, October, 2000.
Kiser, Kim. "House Call -
Words of advice for building your WBT dream house," Online
Learning Magazine, September, 2000.
Wagner, Ellen D., Ph.D. "Emerging Technology Trends in
e-Learning," LiNE Zine, Fall, 2000.
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