LMS vendor interview: Knowledge Place

28 décembre 2010

Last interview of the year with Lynx Online, vendor of an LMS named Knowledge Place. This LMS illustrates perfectly how a vendor can find a place in a very competitive market, thanks to a clear and specialized positioning.

So today, I welcome Eric MALALEL, director of Lynx Online.

Sébastien FRAYSSE (SF) – Your LMS, Knowledge Place, is a very innovating and quite recent product. Could you give us the genesis of this project, what did lead you to develop it?

Eric MALALEL (EM) – Our eLearning activity has first developed on the software authoring market, in particular Articulate Studio and Adobe Captivate. Thanks to the easy use of these software and to the quality of the developed training programmes, our customers got rapidly back to us to ask for a solution combining the installation, tracking and tutorship of their on-line training programmes.

By the end of 2007, we evaluated the different LMSs available on the market with a view to select one to get it commercialized with our customers. None of them absolutely met all the criteria: some were very (too?) complete on the functional level and, therefore, too complex to handle and use. Most of them suffered from a rather out-of-date interface, related to the use of traditional technologies from the PHP and HTML types.

We therefore decided to launch the development of Knowledge Place while ascribing ourselves with strict objectives: a solution both simple and complete, rich Internet ergonomics for a better and friendlier user’s experience, an attractive cost adapted to the requirement level of each organization.

SF – Knowledge Place gets differentiated by means of its recentered functional perimeter and a very easy use, which perfectly matches the Rapid Learning solutions that you enhance. Who, among your customers, are the most eager for such an approach?

EM – Knowledge Place is at the present day available in 3 editions: Standard, Professional and Enterprise, which enables us to provide each customer with a solution adapted to his needs and to his budget.

The « Standard » Edition meets the needs of the training centers which are taking their first step within eLearning at a low cost.

The Enterprise Edition perimeter is far from being recentered! This Edition is provided with complete functionalities with, for example, the capability to set up a delegated administration. It capitalizes on the SOA (Service Oriented Architecture) architecture of Knowledge Place to supply the great enterprises with the technical integration capabilities that they need.

SF – Knowledge Place includes a « Tutorship » function. Could you explain what it consists of and why it seems important to you?

EM – On-line tutorship is a success key-factor within the deployment of an on-line training solution. Regardless of the quality of the on-line training programmes, the trainee is alone in front of the screen. He must be allowed to easily contact someone qualified in case of questions left unanswered at the end of his on-line training session.

Knowledge Place offers a simple and efficient tutorship management on line. For any training session on-line, it is possible to define the persons qualified to ensure its tutorship. It is also possible to specify, for each of these persons, which groups of users and which geographical sites he/she is allowed to ensure tutorship of.

This allows the setting up of an optimized tutorship organization on the pedagogical as well as on the organizational levels, in particular for the great groups holding numerous centers.

On the practical level, tutorship is demonstrated by the capability to manage the exchanges of notes and documents between the trainees and the tutors.

SF – Are you willing to enlarge the product functional perimeter? If so, what evolutions are you planning? Which new capabilities shall get fundamental in the coming years?

EM – Even if Knowledge Place displays at the present day a wide functional perimeter, we shall of course proceed with our investments in Research and Development.

We do not give any clues about our roadmap but 2011 shall be filled with technical and functional news.

SF – Don’t you think that the easy use of your LMS might be degraded as a direct consequence? How to combine functional richness and use easiness?

EM – In order to combine these two contradictory objectives, we have first decided to develop different editions of Knowledge Place, each Edition offering a pack of functionalities adapted to each type of customers.

Regarding the Enterprise Edition, designed foremost for the customers expressing very specific functional requirements, we could have easily added up functionalities as we signed new contracts. We would have turned into a terrific « gas factory » which could be compared with some LMSs that we evaluated by the end of 2007 and which have not the least improved since then.

We have opted for a radically different approach, made possible by means of the latest technical evolutions regarding software development. Knowledge Place is built from an SOA (Service Oriented Architecture) architecture based on reusable components and Web services.

Thanks to this architecture, each organization can use the components and Web services set at its disposal to develop very easily the specific functionalities that it needs: made-to-measure training portal, integration with an on-line shop, etc.

We thus perfectly combine the objectives of use easiness and adaptation to each organization specific needs.

SF – Thank you very much Mister Malalel for this great interview. I invite our readers to visit the website of Lynx Online to go further.

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