Inside Higher Ed-"Freeing the LMS" October 13, 2011
Discussion of Pearson's new platform OpenClass, that was just released. The article notes Pearson's hold over 1% of the LMS marketshare and how this completely free system could be the future over the "last generation learning management system" (Gonick, cited in article).
However, the article notes that even though this and other open-source learning tools maybe attractive to colleges and universities over their pricey counterparts for "e-learning, e-tutoring software, and other 'digital content' products," institutions may need to open up their wallets to keep the tool running smoothly and to make adjustments for their own needs. This is also what the higher education community has largely dealt with in terms of adopting commercial or externally developed e-tools for measuring and reporting educational outcomes.
The question I pose is how will colleges, departments, and even instructors make informed decisions about what (or which) of these e-tools are right for them? Certainly the issue of cost is right there at the top of the list. But what about student needs and learning; where does that fit into this discussion and decision making? The learning curve of adopting new learning management systems, such as the classroom time devoted to making sure students and teachers understand how to use the tools must be weighed against the amount of time lost for teaching and learning course content. Although this example may seem insignificant in the long-run or even silly, when applying it to potentially a student's semester, where-say-three of his or her courses use different forms of e-learning technology (i.e., A Sakai course platform such as IU's "Oncourse", Google docs, and Scribd), what are the benefits and drawbacks to learning for this student?
Learning or Managment Systems? Siemens, G. (2006).
Pearson Debuts Free LMS with Google Apps Integration Campus Technology