Love your LMS?

LMSDo you love your LMS? In my experience most people have a real love hate relationship with their LMS – with the balance generally tipping in hate’s favour. It looks horrible, has a clunky admin area and generally makes things harder to do than they should be. Why is this? Well an LMS is primarily a ‘management system’ rather that a ‘learning system’. Think little ‘l’ big ‘MS’ not big ‘L’ little ‘ms’.

LMS are designed by techies for administrators to manage learning resources and learners. They don’t actually manage learning at all – only the evidence that some learning may have been done – in the sense that someone accessed a course, went through all the screens and then passed the test. The result is that the learner experience on most LMS’ is pretty dismal. This is a real problem because the LMS effectively provides the ecosystem which is supposed to facilitate learning. In practice it feels like a big repository of stuff.

Things are changing however, with the rise of social media platforms, LMS’ are having to adapt and become more of a learning space rather than a repository of learning resources.

What constitutes e-learning or online learning is also changing with video replacing conventional SCORM modules on some of the newer learning platforms. Add to this the increasing interest in social learning , performance support, curation, gamification and user generated content (UGC) and suddenly existing LMS’ look like a technology from the stone age. Of course most online learning is still directed and managed and requires the structure that a conventional LMS provides but if you are investigating a new online learning platform there are some interesting alternatives out there.

Here are two new kids on the block that are worth a look:

Fuse

A ‘video-centric social learning’ platform from Fusion Universal. Fuse dispenses with the SCORM package and gets down and dirty with lots of videos and UGC YouTube style. It includes quiz functionality too so you get to test your users once they have watched the relevant videos.

Learn more about Fuse

Curatr

This ‘social learning platform’ from Ben Betts and his team majors on curation rather than creation and includes elements of gamification that mean that additional content becomes available only when you get enough points. I love it’s visually rich interface and it also works well on an iPad.

Learn more about Curatr

I have demo admin accounts on both platforms and will be doing a review of both platforms over the coming weeks.

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