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Meridian Global LMS Gets Recertified

Written By: Sherry Fox
Published On: April 11 2011

Meridian Knowledge Solutions has participated in Technology Evaluation Centers (TEC) programs since 2007; however, it wasn’t until 2009 that I had the opportunity to meet the folks at Meridian to see what Meridian Global LMS was all about. As part of the TEC Certification process, Meridian demonstrated its learning management system (LMS) product to me during a three-hour session, following a detailed script that I had prepared.

This year, Meridian opted to renew its TEC Certification once again, so this past month I sat with Bill Perry (head of marketing) and Tom Klopfer (program manager in charge of upgrades) to review the changes the company has made to Meridian Global LMS over the last two years.


What Is Meridian?

Headquartered in Herndon, Virginia (US), Meridian Knowledge Solutions is a full-service e-learning company, offering a learning management infrastructure as well as implementation and development consulting and services. Meridian got its start back in 1997 and during its 14 years in business has supported some of the largest LMS implementations in the world.

Meridian Global LMS is a Web-based learning and knowledge management platform that integrates learning content management, social media, workforce analytics, knowledge management, and competency modeling into one unique system. The company is compliant with industry standards, such as Aviation Industry Computer-based Training Committee (AICC) and Sharable Content Object Reference Model (SCORM) standards, allowing the integration of both commercial off-the-shelf courseware libraries and custom content. Meridian has also won several awards, including 2010’s Best of Elearning Award of Excellence and various customer service awards.

Who Uses Meridian?

Today, Meridian has more than 8 million active users and over 300 implementations worldwide. Its clients range from companies with 50 users to organizations with 1 million users. Since 2009, Meridian’s customer base has grown by more than 50 percent.

From a business perspective, Meridian is aggressively pursuing international partnerships to attract European-based companies, as opposed to US companies doing business in Europe. Domestically, Meridian has focused on selling its LMS to organizations with a highly complicated set of learning requirements, such as Motorola, as well as to companies with an external audience to train, such as the Project Management Institute (PMI) and American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA).

While Meridian systems can manage all kinds of users, today’s focus is on the external and mobile learner. Meridian’s ease of use attracted the attention of numerous associations focused on training external audiences, many of whom are unfamiliar with learning technology. During the certification demo, Bill pointed out that Meridian does a great job of handling difficult or complex client needs such as those presented by the PMI and AICPA.

Some of the changes to Meridian Global LMS are, in part, in response to the changing user. As users become more mobile, they will require a technology that can serve their needs. Meridian Global LMS offers mobile device interfaces for Android, iPhone, iPod Touch, as well as BlackBerry and iPad (see figure 1).

Many of the recent changes are related to allowing users to manage their own information. For example, homepage configuration, homepage feeds, and e-mail notifications can all be changed by users for their own specific requirements.

When it comes to customer service, Meridian’s got it covered. According to Bill, each client project is assigned both a project manager and a customer care representative, who remain with the client throughout the life of the implementation—and beyond. Unlike many other companies, Meridian has a very low turnover rate, which allows for a much more intimate vendor–client relationship. I’m certain this is one of the reasons for its many customer service–related awards.

How Meridian Is Meeting Changing Needs

From a functional perspective, here are just a few of the new features that Meridian has added to its Global LMS solution over the past two years.

  • Language: Meridian has added 28 languages to its latest version.

  • Mobile Profile: Users can now launch and track training from their smartphone (via the interfaces available for several mobile devices) (e.g., see figure 1). Meridian Global’s architecture tags existing pages within the LMS and, without rewriting core business logic, renders a mobile device interface whether the request comes from a smartphone or desktop. That is, Meridian Global recognizes the device that’s initiating the request.




fig1.png

Figure 1




  • E-mail Notification: Users are already bombarded by e-mails. As such, Meridian has added a new feature that allows users to receive important notifications and alerts within the LMS, where users also can specify their e-mail preferences (e.g., frequency). Users without e-mail access can receive notifications directly within the LMS user interface.

  • User Homepage: Users can now add, remove, and move window panes by dragging and dropping them anywhere on their homepage (depending on what their current needs are) (see figure 2); windows can also be collapsed.




fig2.png

Figure 2




  • Homepage Feed: Authorized users can create a dynamic and engaging presentation (using html, hyperlinks, video, Flash, etc.) to be displayed on My Homepage. One current homepage feed can be selected for each user domain, and that is the one that is displayed to users.

  • Search Functionality: Hiring managers looking for a person with a particular expertise to fill an open position can now perform a search by using keywords (e.g., “nursing”). Queries can be further filtered, e.g., by specified content in certain fields, to return a more targeted lists of individuals.

  • Course Enrollment and Billing: Users can bill courses to the appropriate account by applying the account code in batch enrollment; through this screen, authorized users can see the balance for a specific account and the funds available. Administrators also can assign groups of users to particular account codes (and multiple account codes can be assigned to a single user in some cases).

  • Transcript Updates: The transcript layout has changed. Tabs have been added and modified so that content is organized more logically. The user is able to filter and export this content.


Meridian’s Other Offerings

Meridian Knowledge also offers Meridian Anywhere 3.0, a desktop application that allows organizations to deliver SCORM-conformant content without needing to connect to the organization’s LMS.

And Meridian’s Advanced Workforce Analytics Engine provides real-time flexible reporting, custom ad hoc graphical presentations, and a chief learning officer (CLO) learning portal.

These are just a few of the changes to Meridian Global LMS since 2009. For a more comprehensive view of Meridian Global LMS, check out the TEC Web site (where the 2009 report is still available). The full, new TEC Certification Report regarding this solution will be available for download next month.
 
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