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How One Organization Abandoned a Free Open Source Learning Management System and Saved a Pile of Cash

October 30, 2012 1 comment

Shredding money (Some rights reserved by Tax Credits on Flickr)COLA is a physician-directed organization whose purpose is to promote excellence in laboratory medicine and patient care through a program of voluntary education, consultation, and certification. With approximately 7500 global customers, COLA is the world’s largest laboratory accreditation organization.

About seven years ago, COLA decided that deploying a learning management system (LMS) would provide the company with much needed flexibility with the delivery of their online learning programs, while simultaneously offering them increased efficiencies and cost savings.

COLA decided that it could best achieve its goals by implementing a popular open-source LMS solution with the help of third-party consultants and developers. The belief was that a free LMS solution could be configured to meet all of their business requirements at a much lower cost than a commercial-off-the-shelf system, even when factoring in the consulting costs associated with having the system built to their specifications.

Things didn`t work out as expected. The longer the free open source LMS was in place, the more money, time, and people were required to try and make the system run properly. At one point, COLA was spending an additional $500-$1,000 per week on LMS maintenance, and, that figure did not even include expenses related to internal staff time.

The good news is that COLA’s management didn’t sit idly watching the bleeding. They abandoned the open source LMS, selected a system that better matched their requirements, and even won an industry Award for their learning initiative.

Read what went wrong in their open source LMS implementation and how COLA turned a bad situation into an award-winning success story.

Case Study: Practical Insights for Selecting a Learning Management System

October 11, 2012 Leave a comment

Social Accountability International (SAI) is an award-winning company that provides training,  policies, and procedures to help organizations protect the basic human rights of workers around the world. One of the company’s key services is named Social Fingerprint®, a program to help organizations understand and measure their social impact, and then learn how to improve it.

The Social Fingerprint® program requires that participants undergo a training program. Traditionally, this training consisted of two to five days of instructor-led, classroom-based instruction per year. This approach created a number of challenges.

  • For one, SAI’s customers are global, making face-to-face instruction difficult.
  • In addition, once individuals completed their training,  they would often return to work and would soon forget what they had learned. The result was that it was exceedingly difficult for customers to implement SAI’s recommendations.

In the hope of addressing these and other challenges, SAI decided to expand their learning strategy to include self-paced, online learning. Support for this initiative required the acquisition of a learning management system.

Brandon Hall Group has just published a case study describing SAI’s move from instructor-led training to a blended approach to learning. You can download a copy of this case study here.

Absorb LMS Customer, COLA, Wins a Brandon Hall Excellence Award

October 3, 2012 1 comment

We’re pleased to announce that Absorb LMS customer, COLA, has won a Silver Excellence In Learning Award from Brandon Hall Group in the category of Best in Learning Technology Implementations for their submission “COLA’S New E-Learning Experience.”

The winning entry describes COLA’s move to Absorb LMS from an open source learning management system and reports the following benefits and return on investment:

COLA is spending less on the Absorb platform than it did on the old proprietary system. Further, because it is an internally hosted solution, there is no external hardware dependency. Indeed, updates to the materials available by the solution can be made by multiple COLA staffers. COLA no longer needs to hire a vendor to print certificates, and COLA customer service staffers have experienced a 50 percent drop in customer complaints since the new tool went online.

Factoring in all savings to date, COLA estimates its reduction in costs to be $60,000 since the new system went online.

In addition to spending less, COLA is selling more. COLA experienced a measurable spike in sales of its educational products and services.

About COLA:

COLA is a physician-directed organization whose purpose is to promote excellence in laboratory medicine and patient care through a program of voluntary education, consultation, and accreditation. The U.S.’s largest private accreditor of medical laboratories, COLA helps clinical labs comply with federal lab quality requirements established under the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Act Amendments of 1988. Additionally, COLA also helps labs comply with licensure requirements in various states. COLA is also the only CMS-deemed accreditor to be certified under ISO standard 2001: 1998 affecting quality management system.

You can find out more about COLA and review the 80+ courses this organization provides at http://cola.org.