21st century Learning Management Systems

by Viv on October 3, 2009

An interesting day at the eLearning Network on 25 Sept where the focus was Learning Management Systems. One of the themes was the way that websites that we consume in our leisure e.g. BBC, Amazon set expectations of functionality and look & feel for other web-based systems that we use. So what’s next in the LMS world?

Well presumably, more of the same i.e. user interfaces inspired by iGoogle, iPhone apps, Facebook, Twitter…and whatever other websites enter the mainstream.  Users will increasingly demand the ability to personalise how information is presented to them, download widgets and customise the types of information that their employer is pushing at them.

The countervailing trend is the need for more and more systems within an organisation to talk to each other effectively, so that the same data is only stored & updated in one place, but used in many. To date this has been at the expense of look & feel, so the typical user experience is akin to using an accounts system…from personal experience I’d say there’s nothing much to get excited about that as a vision.

Whilst you have to hope that there will be scope to cover both needs, in the short term it looks like there will be a power struggle where LMSs are the battlefield…do the users have the real power? (an internet paradigm), or do the budget holders have the real power? (an unwritten rule of business).  It will be interesting to see how the enterprise level LMS players manage to respond to both needs compared to the more nimble mid tier LMS providers.

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