Keeping your LMS neat, tidy, and running smoothly is a key goal for any LMS administrator and in this article we’ll explain why having a coding convention for your content is essential to that.
You don’t need a convention for everything- the most useful areas are Courses, Lessons, and Events – so we’ll also explain why you need them, where they are most useful, and share a few examples of coding conventions so you can decide what’s right for you.
Whatever convention you choose, do it from the outset – it’s hard to change later - especially if codes are hard wired into reports. Ingrain good admin habits right from the start.
Why you need a coding convention
Firstly, a defined coding convention helps you and your team to keep everything organised. And in turn, that means that administrators will be able to easily find the course/lesson/event they’re looking for. That applies both to day-to-day admin of your learning content, and also when reporting. In both cases, if you know the coding format for what you’re looking for, you’ll find it easily – and that will save you time, and probably some frustration too!
Second is scalability. When you start out with Learn you might only have a few Courses so it’s going to be easy to find what you’re looking for. But your LMS will evolve. In time you'll have more content and maybe a bigger team sharing admin responsibility, so plan to scale. Your LMS will evolve and it’s best to scale good habits.
Thirdly, think about efficiency. A code can tell you more than just the title of the learning. A consistent coding convention can deliver a lot of useful information in one place, removing the need to look in multiple different places for it. It’s great for new team members too. They’ll be able to slot into the team more easily if they have guidance to follow. Consistency is key to a smooth running LMS.
Simple is best
Your LMS will change over time, it’s not static. You’ll add more content, assign Lessons to different Courses, and Courses to different people. So a good convention will identify the ‘thing’, It doesn’t need to identify its relationship to other ‘things’.
For example, it might seem logical to give Lesson codes a suffix of 01, 02, based on their position in the course they are initially created for. But what happens when you want to retire one of the Lessons? Or if you assign it to a different Course?
Avoid including the audience for the learning in the title. The audience may change and then the code will be confusing. Remember, simple is best.
Example Course code convention
|Course code format
Example Lesson code convention
Identifying the Lesson ‘type’ in the code can be really helpful in reporting when you’re looking to focus on a particular Lesson:
|Lesson code format
Example Event code convention
You’ll have lots of Events to report on so how will you tell them apart? Date, time, and trainer are really useful for this.
|Event code format
Standardise, template, and review
Whatever you choose to do, always document the coding convention for all the team to follow, and review the codes that are important to you on a regular basis, to see that everyone is following the convention.
For Events, it’s possible to prepopulate every new Event Code field, with the required format that can be overwritten when it’s created. That will help ensure consistency.
Categories are also a great way to keep content organised. They’re mandatory for Courses only, but you can make Lesson categories mandatory too. Anything you can do to ensure consistency of use, will help keep Learn LMS running smoothly.