ON LMS and eLearning

Good day, dear readers, It’s been quite some time since I flexed my typing fingers on anything other than email, gaming or coding, but it sure feels good to write something new for a change!

To those of you who don’t know me, allow me to introduce myself, my name is Ahmad Barake, and I am the head of user experience at Marefa Digital, an Arabic eLearning content provider based out of Dubai UAE, in other news I consume coffee by the litre, spend most of my time staring at monitor screens, and enjoy any sort of development work ranging from simple web pages to full blown unity games. Now that we’ve gotten the introductions out of the way, let’s get right to the epicenter of the topic.

Learning management systems (LMS) have become a standard in most organizations in the region. With the ever present focus on training and development, this standard practice is gaining momentum due to a number of factors, the most prominent among them are on-demand accessibility, time efficiency, high rate of learner retention (due to gamification features) and last but not least, the countless benefits it brings to blended learning experiences.

As with all trends in tech, startups, organizations and countless business to business establishments are racing to lead the way and provide the “Complete” LMS solution that covers everything from A to Z. Over the past few months, my job had me evaluating a number of existing solutions, and some non-existent ones as well, so If you are to take one core take-away from this whole article, take the following sentence:


See what I did there? It’s a quote so it must be true. All non-funny jokes aside, there’s a real lack of actionable training content in the region, what’s more is that most international solutions are localized to their market of origin, and this makes them hard to relate to locally (with some exceptions of course). Take this scenario for example, a training professional from “Im A Demo Organization in Europe” can easily find eLearning courses on “Women and Career progression” or “Induction and On-Boarding”, its as simple as running a google search, validating the content and cost, and a few clicks later, users are already taking the courses online, but there are monumental differences in the core essence of these two topics (and countless others) when provided in the GCC or even the middle east as a whole.

Cultural relevance is one of the most important aspects of eLearning (if not the most important aspect) and language is a completely different focal area to consider, So those same courses might not apply fully, if at all, for organizations that are operating out of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia or the United Arab Emirates. You can buy or build the most sophisticated eLearning portal, but it’ll be as useless as a PC without an operating system if you don’t have the right content to run on it.

So to abruptly conclude this article and go back to replying to emails and crafting awesome user experiences for Marefa Digital, here’s a quick recap.

  • Find the right LMS solution (or build it yourself)
  • Think Local when choosing content
  • Talk the talk (as in speak the language of your users)
  • Always focus on the right fit for your needs

I hope you enjoyed reading this as much as I enjoyed writing it, and do drop a comment or follow if you’re looking to chat or learn more about LMS, Content and my personal favorite, Jibber Jabber. Until next time.