Interview of the week: IMC

29 avril 2010

After a short Open Source parenthesis last week with Dokeos, we come back to the LMS market leaders. We started 2 weeks ago with Cornerstone OnDemand. This week, IMC, a german LMS vendor which is also a European leader.

I discovered IMC during a benchmarking for one of my customers, and to be honnest, their LMS (CLIX) can comete with the American leaders. Here is the interview of Marco Kelting, Director International Sales.

Sébastien FRAYSSE (SF) - Could you give us a few trends about the demand evolution by the beginning of 2010? How is the LMSs market moving on?

Marco KELTING (MK) – 3 main trends:

1. User perspective: personalisation

One mega trend will be more personalized systems. This relates to the extensibility of learning environments in terms of individual aspects. One major fact is the adaptation of the learning process, but that´s not the only one.

2. Organisation perspective:

The definition of Talent and Learning Suites in Europe differs significantly from the definition in the U.S. In USA Talent and Learning Suites are used to manage target agreements and performance keys of employees as this is basis for the variable bonuses (Compensation Management). In Europe these systems are rather used for internal talent search, recruiting, personnel development and for succession planning. Therefore the main focus lies on Skill- and Competency Management. Talent management is a combination of performance, competency and learning management as well as recruitment solutions. Most of the current LMS systems cover Competence and Performance Management, the connection to recruiting and training programs is yet to close.

3. Business Models:

New business models are emerging. Due to the increasing on-demand needs of training modules in most organizations Learning Management systems such as a Software-as-a-Service model (SaaS) will become more important. For many companies, especially SMBs, an “on-demand” solution which is provided over the Internet and is charged according to actual usage, is a suitable solution. Pre-filled learning platforms, which already contain various standard content modules could be of advantage, especially when it comes to compliance issues.

Further trends in the LMS market:

  • Improvement of efficiency of informal learning -> Personal Knowledge Management and Personal Learning Environments
  • Related to: Informal Training in the cloud
  • Mobile learning (M-learning) and ipad for learning -> masie

Mobile learning can do much to enrich the learning experience. It is widely believed that mobile learning could be a huge factor in getting disaffected young adults to engage in learning, where more traditional methods have failed. As mobile phones combine PDA functions with cameras, video and MP3 players, and as tablets combine the portability of PDAs with the functionality of desktops, the world of learning becomes more mobile, more flexible and more exciting.

The new iPad is a large opportunity for this genre of device (eg. tablet, Apps and multi-touch) to be the platform for business solutions. Content would be on the PAD or accessed remotely – tied into an LMS and Collaboration System. The “LearnPAD” might be « bundled » with a higher end learning program.

And always have in mind: In many remote areas the mobile infrastructure is the main access point for Internet communication.

SF – The last version of your LMS, CLIX 2010, comes with a new user interface. Could you explain what improvements have been done? How does it improve the user experience?

MK – Scalability and Flexibility: CLIX 2010 combines all learning activities in a single, central Learning Management System (LMS) – one that can be adapted to specific business processes and embedded into a comprehensive service offering. The number of users is not an issue, whether it’s 500, 5,000 or 500,000. With CLIX Enterprise for businesses, CLIX Campus for universities or schools and CLIX Start as an affordable entry-level solution, IMC offers industry-specific learning solutions to suit your needs. You can also use each CLIX variant on a Software as a Service (SaaS) basis.

Technologically leading: Thanks to its advanced, flexible authorisation system, CLIX can map corporate structures of every size and complexity. A range of monitoring, tracking and reporting tools gives you clear insights into your personnel development processes and delivers objective assessment criteria. Integrated documentation and certification functions ensure that learning processes are secure, can be monitored and remain transparent, thereby supporting key compliance processes and corporate learning activities.

CLIX 2010 … looks good
The new CLIX is presented with a completely new design. Fresh colour accents, a stringent language style and increased use of intuitive icons create clarity. Transparent elements provide ease of use and elegance, working together with interactive highlight effects to make CLIX a completely new user experience. But CLIX does not only look good – the design also contributes significantly to the high level of user friendliness.

CLIX 2010 … is child’s play
The clear and simple CLIX 2010 interface helps the learner determine their current stage of learning, locate the next tasks at a glance and quickly retrace their learning history.
The new toolbar significantly increases clarity and makes it easy to find learning content, tests and questionnaires which can only be opened in a standard player. Filters, search fields and clearly structured menus enable the intuitive location of functions, courses and learning content. The use of tabs in CLIX makes it possible to handle several processes at the same time, considerably reducing the number of clicks needed. Split screens are used for the highest possible level of information content without the user needing to carry out any other functions. If a learner is in two minds about which course to start, they can browse through the courses on offer on the left-hand side of a split screen and view information about the course content, tutors and prices on the right-hand side. In principle, the consistent implementation of processes and interaction schemes provide high recognition value for all functions and components.

CLIX 2010 … is personal
As with “iGoogle”, a learner can design their own personal learning environment. The first point of contact is the multiple-column dashboard. There, the learner can decide what he wants to be displayed: the courses they have booked, current news or upcoming appointments. This entry portal offers central access to courses, functions and learning content with just one click.

SF – CLIX provides a full range of collaboration and social learning features, including blogs, wikis, podcasts, communities, social networking, etc…. From your experience, are organizations matured to implement social learning strategies?

MK – Social learning can be viewed as the development of knowledge, skills and attitudes while connected to others (peers, mentors, experts) in an electronic surround of digital media, both real-time and asynchronous.

Communities of Practice…

Middle Management often proves to be a bottleneck in the introduction of Enterprise 2.0 because it is pressurized by both the employees and the top management. However, the increased involvement of employees leads to higher motivation – a benefit for the entire company.

Many corporate blogs have evolved organically. It often starts with one manager changing his whole communication process as he blogs all his important topics instead of sending them via e-mail. Or a manger wants to know what the strengths of his company are. Therefore he sets up a corporate blog through which he gets deeper insights than through a survey other managers started at the same time.

To sum up: Social media tools such as blogs, wikis, podcasts are effective tools for communication and they are already being used in corporate learning i.e. will soon be integrated into corporate learning strategies.

SF – Organizations are now trying to link their e-Learning initiatives to their business strategy. How does CLIX enable this? (i.e. some words about competency/performance features…)

MK – With the education catalogue, skills and competencies management, resource planning and compliance conforming test and certification possibilities, you have your business processes as much under control with CLIX as the demands of your IT division for standardised, basic technologies which can be integrated. We offer comprehensive advisory services to help you align and integrate the learning platform optimally with the needs and processes of the organisation.

SF – What direction will you give to the LMS for the next years. What kind of features/capabilities do you plan to develop?

MK – IMCs central focus in 2010 -> Talent Management


  • Stronger competitive capacity due to functioning talent management
  • Cost reduction through targeted training, only in those areas where it is really needed
  • Quick internal filling of vacant positions due to clear transparency about which skills are available in the company
  • Compliance-readiness due to evidence of employee skills and completed training programmes
  • Maximum data security when dealing with sensitive employee information

In the future personalization will be arranged with widgets. These widgets could be added to courses and learning content (for example, a widget that searches specific topics on lectures in Youtube, iTunes and other platforms, and offers this as course complement).Widgets can be integrated into an LMS. These LMS systems are extended to open standards for social networks, such as OpenSocial and Open Application.

SF – Thanks Marco for these very interesting answers. For further information, you can visit the IMC website.

See you next week for a new interview. In the mean time, do not hesitate to leave any comments or questions just below…

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