Author: Irene le Roux.
I was asking myself whether it is still useful to do a comparison between LMS and LSO, as SAP clearly indicates that all the innovation and development is happening in LMS. However there are a number of clients in South Africa who are interested in understanding the difference.
High level Overview
If we look at a high level overview, the 2 systems have similar functionality.
On a more detailed functionality level we find the following differences:
What are the implications of these differences?
In LSO only a course (LMS – scheduled offering) can be assigned to a learner, whereas in LMS an item (LSO – course type) can be assigned. This is a fundamental difference in design that changes the way learning can be assigned, managed and recorded.
In LSO all learning needs to be assigned manually whereas in LMS automatic assignment of learning is possible. In LMS an assignment profile is used to define target groups using user fields such as organisational unit, job code, is supervisor and hire date. This assignment profile is then used to link learning items, curricula, etc. to the target group. If an employee is part of the target group, the learning items are automatically assigned to the user. If the user moves out of the target group, e.g. moves to another organizational unit, the learning items are unassigned.
In the LMS a curriculum without scheduled dates can be assigned with required by and/or retraining dates for the items included in the curriculum.
Due to the fact that curricula and items can be assigned automatically with required by dates, the learner becomes responsible for managing his/her learning. The learner now has a learning plan assigned and knows when the various items are required and when retraining is due. The learner needs to ensure to register into scheduled offerings or requests a scheduled offering timely.
The manager also has a much clearer view on how compliant the team is in terms of curriculum completion. The LMS also has more functionality available for the manager in assigning learning, recording and reporting on learning.
Items can be recorded, that is, no scheduled date is required to record learning. On the job training can therefore be assigned and recorded with the applicable hours. This is not possible in the LSO as only scheduled dates can be recorded which causes a delivery method such as on-the-job train to conflict with other scheduled offerings.
Designing a curriculum
To design a curriculum in the LMS has many more options than in LSO and the automatic assignment to a target group leads to learning plans being designed and managed in a meaningful manner. The following example depicts some of the options available in the design of a curriculum:
I prefer the way the LMS assigns, manages and records learning. The LMS also is the system in which SAP invests and it is exciting to see what functionality is improved/added to the systems in the quarterly upgrades. The beauty is that you do not have to go through an upgrade process to use the new functionality, it is either universally available or you can just opt-in.
At this moment the advantage LSO has is the integration with Time and Attendance and FI/CO, but I understand that these integrations are high on the agenda of improvements to the LMS.
I would recommend LMS to any customer who is willing to move to the cloud! If you need any support in deciding which learning system will fit your company needs, or how to design your learning plans, you are most welcome to contact us.