Friday, July 18, 2014

LMS Futures: Paving the Cowpaths

I want you to imagine you're a higher ed CIO or Provost in the year 2000, and you get the follow two sales pitches for a learning (or course) management system.

  1. If you buy LMS A, it will open up wonderful new possibilities for your students to learn using online technology. It will require your faculty to completely rethink their role, they will need to adopt new strategies and redesign their courses, but at the end they will have radically better results.
  2. If you buy LMS B, it will help enable your faculty to do what they are doing in the classroom now, but they can do it online. This will enable you to reach new students and engage your existing students using technology, without requiring any major disruption in the role of the faculty.
Is it any surprise that #2 was the winning strategy? Organizing the LMS around the course and modeling it like a closed classroom, was the right strategy for selling the product. But today we find ourselves "inside the (course) box". In a future post I'll discuss how a course-centric model implies a particular software design that's part of the frustration so many of us have with the LMS 15 years later. 

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