Two Ways to Configure LMS Campuses
By Steve Pena, Senior Instructional Designer and Implementation Specialist SyberWorks, Inc.
Depending on your company’s organization and training requirements, you may want to
configure Learning Management System (LMS) campuses in one of two ways:
As multiple entirely separate campuses.
As a single campus with separate “sub-campuses.”
Most LMSs support either option, and some better than others.
If you need to keep your training constituencies entirely separate, then configure the LMS with
separate campuses for each customer. This gives each their own full-featured campus, but adds
to their campus-management responsibilities.
This approach also makes implementation a bit more straightforward. One need only create one
set of courses/classes, reports, and branding for each customer. This usually works best when
customers have larger user bases, since they require more administrators, instructors, courses,
content creators, classes, and in fact, more of just about everything. Such complicated training
applications are often best managed individually.
This approach is better when the separation of campuses is less important than overseeing,
tracking, and managing all of them from a single point. In this scenario, the LMS runs different
sub-campuses within one master campus.
But this can be more conceptually (and practically) messy to pull off. You may have to create,
manage, and track multiple sets of branding, customer-specific courses, and training results.
Here’s how it might work: Let’s say that you create training programs for telecom firms, each of
which has its own customized training. When a user for one company (TelecomA) logs into
their LMS, they should be able to:
Access only the classes available to them.
Access only their firm’s customized courses.
View reports about their courses and classes alone.
See TelecomA campus branding on their screens.
The LMS administrator for TelecomA will see only their company’s:
Some LMSs even let you define permissions for these administrators, to control the campus
functions they can perform. For example, TelecomA may want its administrators to:
Enter new user accounts.
Edit existing users.
Authorize users for courses.
Enroll students in classes.
Track students’ progress through training reports.
While a vastly different client (TelecomB) may want its administrators to perform only reporting
functions. They may wwant you to perform user-administration functions, assign courses, and
enroll students in classes. This flexibility is a strength of the campus/sub-campus model.
But an Organizational Hierarchy is key to making it work. Each client company can have its
own customized hierarchy structure… with up to 5 reporting levels (in larger organizations) or
only 1 level (in simpler firms). And with these hierarchies in place for each customer, you and
Assign individual users to hierarchy locations.
Create company-specific course content and associate it with their hierarchy.
Define and schedule company-specific classes and similarly associate them with the
Once this is done, courses and classes will only appear in company-specific course lists, because
they are linked into Organizational Hierarchy levels. While perhaps more complicated to
implement than the “multi-campus” approach this “campus/sub-campus” setup lets you:
Create things once and propagate them throughout the training site to all customers.
Grant different functional permissions to each customer’s administrators.
Separate customers’ training programs, but manage and report on them centrally.
Funnel all customers’ e-Commerce activity through a single credit-card merchant account.
I can’t say which option is better for you, but these are important deciding factors:
Simplicity for you and your customers.
Both approaches also require extensive pre-planning and detailed implementation blueprints.
And scalability issues could be the single most important deciding factor. So investigate
customers’ scalability needs early on and throughout the entire project.
About the Author:
Steve Pena is a Senior Instructional Designer and Implementation Specialist at SyberWorks, Inc.
(http://www.syberworks.com), Waltham, Mass. SyberWorks is a custom e-Learning solutions
company specializing in Learning Management Systems, e-Learning solutions, and custom
online course development.
SyberWorks, Inc. (www.syberworks.com) is a leader in the custom e-Learning Solutions and
Learning Management System industries for Fortune 1000 corporations, higher education, and
other organizations. Located in Waltham, Massachusetts, the company serves the multi-billion-
dollar e-Learning market. Since 1995, SyberWorks has developed and delivered unique and
economical solutions to create, manage, measure, and improve e-Learning programs at
companies and organizations in the United States, Canada, Europe, and other countries.