Sunday, July 30, 2006

Learning Management Systems: What learners want

Interesting article, Do You WANT an LMS? Does a Learner WANT an LMS? over at eLearing Technology. It appears that wikis are beginning to make their presence felt in the LMS space. From a pure learning perspective wikis make too much sense. For the control freaks, where the primary purpose of an LMS is to track learners and monitor their every move then a wiki would never work. I have no doubt that the wiki approach is far more learner centered.

What often happens when systems become very complex is that they begin to get replaced by simpler systems. This is exactly what's happened in the Content Management space. Wiki's have exploded onto the scene. They only do about 10% of what a typical CMS will do for you. But, they are so dang easy to get going and use. So, they've supplanted the low-end of the market. It forces the CMS products to seek ever higher features to continue to differentiate - a vicious cycle.

Where I disagree is that a wiki has only 10% of the functionality of a CMS, and by extension an LMS. If data management is what accounts for the other 90% of what‘s missing then perhaps he‘s right. If you think that the content, collaboration, engagement… the learning, are substantially more than 10% of what‘s important then a wiki will more than do the job. If you let the students pick their system it‘d be a no-brainer.

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