Monday, April 13, 2009

Has the LMS jumped the shark?

I was reading though my feed reader the other day and I came across this post. The author and I agree on many points, and I have elaborated more with my face to face colleagues on this issue.

I had brought up the issue of blogs, wikis, bookmark-sharing and other potentially useful. The response I got was similar to this:

Well, the new release of Blackboard now includes the ability to do Blogs, wikis, and most of what you are talking about.

Well OK, yes they can do it, but there are (at least) two problems with your logic.
1. those blogs (etc) are closed, so you can't get access to them from the outside. In addition once the course is over students also lose their access to THEIR work! With uploaded documents you can always retain a copy, with a blog or wiki this isn't an option.

2. you dunce! you are paying for the privileged to use something that is FREE!

I agree with this sentiment:
Maybe LMS vendors are taking advantage of the people/organizations who don’t have the technical resources to install these free open-source systems on their own. I think it’s a big problem; by using these tools within the LMS, people are now locking even more data into a closed system. One of the few LMS add-ons that I think may have merit would be a talent management module, mainly because it could integrate well with the data in an LMS. That seems like a good fit to me.

Instead of adding all this new functionality, LMS vendors should concentrate on better connecting and integrating with open standards and technologies. User data should be 100% portable. RSS feeds should be available both ways: people should be able to subscribe to a feed to monitor when new resources are added in the LMS, and the LMS should be able to import and act on data fed to it. The systems and the data should be mashable. The LMS will need to become one of the building blocks within the enterprise, rather than remain as a standalone system that doesn’t play well with others.

Of course the LMS-producers have little to no incentive to change for the better. I think that the only way they will change is if they see mass migrations to Open Source LMS systems that do give us those capabilities.
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