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Posted by John Kleeman

Most LMSs (learning management systems) have the capability to deliver basic quizzes and surveys. So is an LMS good enough to deliver online compliance assessments? Or do you need an assessment management system?

A strength of LMSs is that they roll up all training, for example face-to-face classroom events, and they’re often used as a system of record for compliance training events. But many companies that are professional about their use of assessments in compliance use an assessment management system as well as (or sometimes instead of) an LMS. Here are 10 of the reasons I hear for doing this.

  1. A key trend in compliance is to measure behaviour, not just knowledge. A great way to do this is observational assessments, during which an observer watches someone do something (e.g. interview a customer, use a machine) and rates them on an iPad or smartphone.  The ability to deliver assessments in many different environments is a leading advantage of a comprehensive assessment management system.
  2. Running a professional assessment programme needs an item bank, where all your questions are organized by topic and metadata, so you can re-use questions and easily review and update them. Many LMSs link questions and assessments to courses, but you need a searchable item bank once you get a certain volume of assessments.
  3. Assessment management systems usually provide an easier and more friendly user interface for Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) to author questions, for instance our easy-to-use Questionmark Live collaborative authoring environment.
  4. As mentioned in my earlier blog post, How Topic Feedback can give Compliance Assessments Business Value, being able to score and give feedback at the topic level lets you provide actionable feedback in compliance. You don’t just know  people are weak, you know where they are weak and how to improve it.
  5. Assessment management systems offer more question types, allowing more variety and more engaging and realistic questions.
  6. An assessment management system like Questionmark lets you deliver assessments on paper as well as on-screen, and also on mobile devices including smartphones and iPads; you can deliver assessments in more places.
  7. Test analysis reportMost LMSs have only basic assessment reporting – but to make your assessments valid and reliable and legally defensible, you need item and test statistics reports and other professional reports.
  8. Assessments can continue to be delivered even if you change LMS – and many organizations are thinking of changing LMS or moving the LMS to the cloud.
  9. Often an LMS is provisioned only for employees, but you may need to assess partners or contractors; it’s easy to allow direct login to Questionmark if desired.
  10. Last but not least, the typical LMS does not major in test security. Most employees taking compliance assessments will not want to cheat, but it’s useful to have the stronger security — allowing monitoring, preventing cheating and avoiding fraud — of a professional assessment management system.

Bottom line, an assessment management system gives you trustable results that you can rely on. A large organization relies on employees who are geographically and functionally separated, but they all must act competently and follow proper procedures to make the business run effectively. Assessments delivered online to employees via an assessment management system are one of the few ways and likely the best way to touch individually your entire workforce and ensure that they understand their role in your business and what is required of them to meet business and regulatory needs.