Whitaker-Taylor Insights

Programs and Curriculum in SuccessFactors LMS

Dec 16, 2015 4:32:47 PM / by Whitaker-Taylor

Whitaker_Taylor_Programs_Curricula-698370-edited.jpgSuccessFactors recently introduced a new object called Programs in LMS. Here is an overview and the key differences between Programs and Curricula.

Curricula Overview

The Curricula object was created to support the assignment and tracking of certifications/qualifications within highly regulated industries. A curriculum generally consists of a series of courses in which completions are required within a set timeframe. Some curricula may also have retraining periods to which the user must adhere in order to remain certified for a particular task or job.

To support the regulatory requirements of customers in such industries, Curricula is considered to be a standardized certification delivery system. This label means that everyone who is assigned a curriculum must follow the same rules without exception.

Programs Overview

The Programs object was created to deliver learning activities of various sources and types in a structured manner, similar to academic-style courses or MOOCs. A program typically consists of activities grouped in time-based or topic-based blocks and contains settings to control the flow of consumption by the end users.

Programs are adaptive to the training needs of the program participant, meaning that rules and requirements may vary among participants that attended the same program at different times. 

Programs comprise various types of learning activities, including the following:

  • online items
  • virtual sessions
  • ILT items
  • links to images
  • documents
  • JAM groups
  • web pages on the intranet and internet 
 

Type 

Programs in the LMS can be one of three types. The type dictates the structure and timing of the program in general.

  1. Scheduled– Programs of this type have a set start/end date and time.  This function can be compared to Curricula in SAP LSO, which are meant to be taken during a specific period. 
  1. Duration-Based– Programs of this type have a fixed duration overall, but learners can start the program at different times.  Learners have more flexibility here, allowing the program to be started at any point in time while dictating that it should be completed within a particular duration.
  1. Open-Ended– Programs of this type provide the most flexibility, dictating no start/end date and no times or fixed duration. 

Progress Restriction

Within Programs, admins can restrict the progress through the various activities in a couple of ways.

  1. By Completion– Selecting this option for progress restriction requires users to complete previous sections before starting the next section of activities.
  1. By Schedule– Selecting this option for progress restriction requires users to wait until the scheduled time before starting a section with respect to the overall timing and duration of the program and sections within it.

Comparing Curricula and Programs

Table 1. Curricula vs. Programs

Curricula

Programs

Purpose:

Support the assignment and tracking of certifications within highly regulated industries

 

Purpose:

Deliver learning activities of various sources and types in a structured manner, similar to academic-style courses and MOOCs

 

Content:

A series of courses whose completions are required within set timeframes. Some may have retraining requirements in order for a user to remain certified for a task or job.

 

Content:

Activities grouped in time-based or topic-based blocks and having settings to control the flow of consumption by the end users.

 

Characteristics:

Curricula are considered to be standardized certification delivery systems. Everyone assigned a curriculum must follow the same rules without exception.

Characteristics:

Programs are adaptive to the training needs of the program participants. Rules and requirements may vary among participants that attended the same program at different times.

 

 

All logic is driven by individual item settings within curricula (e.g. prerequisites, approvals, due dates).

Logic is driven at the program level. Approvals, prerequisites, due dates at the item level do not apply.

Dynamic completion status that may change over time; “compliant vs. complete”

Finite events – completion is final

N/A

Certificate of completion (program level)

Can only contain LMS-based activities (items, sub- curricula)

Can contain internal as well as external (non-LMS) activities (links to any web address / files, custom activities)

Retraining support

N/A (Finite events – completion is final)

Automatically grant credit based on past completions

Credit granted only for post-program assignment completions

Compliance-focused – getting list of all required activities done by a certain time

User-focused – structure groups of activities in the order they are meant to be consumed

All activities displayed to the end user as a list

Progressive display of activities that require attention

Requirement pools – provide different ways to meet compliance criteria

Program completion achieved only by completing specific activities (can be down to specific scheduled offerings)

N/A

Can easily control flow of consumption (progress- and schedule-based restrictions)

N/A

Auto-registration into all scheduled offerings upon program enrollment (scheduled programs)

Commerce support

No commerce support (yet) 

Use Curricula when

  • the training requirements are driven by regulatory policies 

  • users must recertify 

  • users can be decertified based on later failure 

  • changes in training requirements impact certification status 

  • certification requirements must be consistent for all users 

  • certification is required for a user, and compliance status must be maintained

Curricula is ideal for training that is regulated, compliance-driven, and auditable. 


Use Programs when

  • we want to deliver a group of learning activities 

  • the intent is to deliver content in structured/meaningful blocks 

  • users must complete the training blocks in sequence 

  • my content includes external content, personal interactions, and custom activities that do not need to be validated by the system 

  • my content must be presented in a visual agenda layout 


Programs is ideal for MOOCs, leadership and onboarding programs, and academic-style courses. 

(*Source – SuccessFactors Release Information)


 

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Topics: SuccessFactors

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Written by: Whitaker-Taylor