You know what’s almost as delicious as Thanksgiving dinner? Designing an LMS. Ok wait, that metaphor doesn’t really work. How about this, planning a Thanksgiving dinner may provide some insights in developing an engaging, impactful, and delicious…ok, maybe not delicious…learning management system.

The presentation of the Thanksgiving dinner typically includes many different dishes, colors and textures. Yes the turkey is a centerpiece, however when you view the buffet or dinner table  it becomes a component of a what is typically a large display of the ridiculously generous spread of appetizers, side dishes and desserts that accompany said turkey that gives Thanksgiving its truly festive feel. In fact many people will say they enjoy the side items the most.

In designing an LMS,  consider that the items you have put the most effort into, courses, webinars, conferences, etc., represent the turkey. They’re some of the LMS’s major selling points, and you wouldn’t have the LMS without them. However similar to the side items and desserts at our Thanksgiving dinner, LMS’s can be created to provide a blend of different experiences that “make the meal.”  These might be in the form of blogs, Podcasts, peer to peer learning, polls, and resource libraries. This blend makes our LMS feel less like a stagnant website and more like a real learning community, where there is always something interesting and current to participate in.

So, after this year’s Thanksgiving meal, whether you’re satisfied or uncomfortably full, think about what “side dishes” you could add to your LMS to make the user experience more fulfilling and engaging.