Thursday, 18 April 2013

The Learning Stack

At the Gartner HE Conference at the moment. Some excellent sessions. This one from Marti Harris, on Building The Learning Stack.

Our institutional relationship with most of our customers will ultimately be in a cloud based ecosystem, particularly with students around learning platforms. The future learning environments will have to balance our assets - applications, platforms and content - to form a collaborative, agile learning stack. The extent an institution adopts a learning stack concept will determine teaching/learning agility and future relevance. It will consist of things we do ourselves, and services including SaaS and other cloud based offerings,

As well as known assets, we have a considerable amount of unknown assets, including software, services and devices being used in our academic environment. Even with known assets such as the LMS there is redundancy and overlapping functionality with other admin systems.

Can build the learning stack on a context platform to include services including, lecture capture, mobile apps, social media, eportfolios, web conferencing etc.


Sandboxes are important to allow experimentation. Can easily remove and add things. Could the context platform be an existing LMS such as Blackboard? Yes, but will be more viable providers in next 5 years who are developing a much more flexible and agile learning environment. Or could be built on Sharepoint, or Google apps, does not have to be a conventional LMS. Different disciplines could have different versions of the stack.

This very flexible agile learning environment will need to be managed flexibly. Cloud will be important, as well as sharing assets and services with other organisations.

Students' expectations set by their consumer experience. They can do everything on-line, so why do they have to stand in line?

More choice now for learners, from getting a degree, obtaining credits, or just learning for knowledge with no credits. Also most courses are delivered through a hybrid on-line and on-campus model. MOOCs could be disruptive to this model. They are on Gartner education hype cycle just over the peak heading towards trough of disillusionment. Gartner view is that it will rise to plateau of productivity fairly quickly, but will have a different name and will have changed to be more integrated with other forms of learning and will have credits that can contribute to a degree. Also, students will be able to take "MOOCs" at other institutions as part of their degree course. Challenge will be to identify the student and ensure that they are learning.

Interesting to see that investment in education technology companies is rising, lots of start up companies and new providers. Will of course be followed by mergers and acquisitions!

Sourcing of marketing, development and delivery is increasing as an option for many institutions, especially with special online courses and programmes. MOOCs good example of this, but may lead to changes in delivery platforms that can be used for more traditional courses.





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2 comments:

Chris Barran said...

If we need to be so flexible and agile in the future, will the department be funding Yoga lessons? :-)

Chris Sexton said...

good idea!