GoodSemester: Not an LMS, but a Learning Platform | Educational Technology in Higher Education |

A while back here on e-Literate, Phil wrote a post called Farewell to the Enterprise LMS, Greetings to the Learning Platform. In it, he wrote,

In my opinion, when we look back on market changes, 2011 will stand out as the year when the LMS market passed the point of no return and changed forever. What we are now seeing are some real signs of what the future market will look like, and the actual definition of the market is changing. We are going from an enterprise LMS market to a learning platform market.

What I mean by ‘enterprise LMS’ is the legacy model of the LMS as a smaller, academically-facing version of the ERP. This model was based on monolithic, full-featured software systems that could be hosted on-site or by a managed hosting provider. A ‘learning platform’, by contrast, does not contain all the features in itself and is based on cloud computing – multi-tenant, software as a service (SaaS).

There tends to be a pendulum swings in technology. In the old days, there were dumb terminals, with all the business logic residing on the mainframe. Then came the PC revolution, pushing functionality out to the edges of the network. Next came the internet, driving functionality back to the server. And now we have apps. Similarly, in educational technology, we started with a few tools, moved to an all-in-one, all-you-can-eat LMS model, and now are moving back toward more specialized systems. And one of the questions platform developers and teachers a like are asking is how much functionality do you really need? Is it just WordPress? Is it WordPress plus Google Docs? Is it WordPress, Google Docs, and grade book? Is it a simple LMS with only a handful of tools and an app store? There are lots of different models.