Tuesday, 15 May 2012

The Learning Stack

First session this morning is on the Learning Stack, what's happening in the learning management space, and what's the future of the learning environment.

Currently we have lots of assets that aren't necessarily focused in a LMS, eg desktop and collaboration tools. At the same time, the industry is changing. There have been very few providers of point solutions eg Blackboard. But, new players are emerging. Also, there are "unknown" IT assets, things being used in departments that we in central IT often know nothing about including free, cloud based applications and social media applications.

Email, content management, productivity tools are common admin applications. Often, an LMS will have similar and overlapping functionality. Can we rationalise some of this redundancy?

Need to build a learning stack on a context platform. Underlying this is the student system, identity management etc. But, on top of this are many other applications.

We need to manage these in an agile way. Pieces can be taken out, and others added in. Management needs to be flexible to allow you to make quick decisions.

The big players, Blackboard, Desire to Learn, Moodle, Sakai, will look to be the underlying platform, or as many elements as they can get in the stack. The platform does not need to be one of these, could be Google, Microsoft for example.

Seem Universities have already gone down this route, and not used a traditional LMS, eg the Open University of Catalonia, which I visited last year. They have a very flexible system which uses many tools and can be delivered to all devices.

We must encourage and promote student involvement in the design of our eLearning systems. In most current models, it's a top down decision making process where academic staff decide how and what they use. We need to facilitate student choice. Learning stack environments should allow for student use, even if the academic staff do not set it up.

Learning stack challenges:
No top level view of the emerging education ecosystem
Governance budgets and campus politics
Resistance to change
No awareness of vendor roadmaps and how they match future trends
No assessment of current learning environment redundancies

Interesting session.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

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