LMS 2.0: How to Select an Advanced Learning Management System
Web-based teaching tools promote communication and collaboration for enhanced e-learning
A White Paper by Timecruiser Computing Corporation
Institutes of higher education rely upon Learning Management Systems (LMSs) to support quality education delivery in face-to-face, online and hybrid classroom environments. The core components of this essential academic computing software enable faculty to design and manage course content, as well as assess and track student progress.
The growth in Web-enabled collaboration and communication technologies has produced the next generation of LMSs — LMS 2.0 — to replace old-school commercial applications and become the new standard for e-learning. When seamlessly integrated with campus portals, LMS 2.0 provides one-stop course management and communication for the entire campus community. This innovative approach to learning management promotes the achievement of educational goals through enhanced student-faculty engagement, interaction, communication and collaboration.
Migrating to a new learning management system (LMS) has been likened to breaking into faculty classrooms, throwing their course materials into a moving van, and dumping them in a heap at the new location — leaving the faculty to sort and reorganize their course content long after IT support has driven off. This painful process can be averted by assessing faculty needs and expectations, and selecting a solution that supports seamless content migration and intuitive course management. That may be easier said than done.
The $350 million market for LMSs is populated by more than 140 vendors whose mission is to support best practices in the preferred pedagogical approach of colleges and universities. The proliferation of academic computing solutions has cluttered the market with applications that are bloated with extraneous features. Too often, institutions are lured into the trap of deploying an LMS that is the current favorite, only to realize that these applications are too unwieldy and burdensome to use.
In fact, nearly 24 percent of schools with LMS deployments experience buyers’ remorse and would change systems if they could, according to a 2007 study by Bershin and Associates. Common purchasing mistakes include failing to define system requirements, focusing on price rather than value, overlooking interoperability and scalability, and selecting customization instead of configuration. In addition, vendor lock-in so constrains many institutions that they believe they can’t switch to a new vendor without substantial real or perceived costs.
At a price tag upwards of $35 per user to purchase and nearly twice that to implement and maintain, an LMS is too big an investment to make without careful consideration of how it will help faculty achieve the institution’s educational goals and objectives. This paper presents a brief overview of the evolving LMS market and introduces criteria for selecting an advanced LMS that will be readily adopted by faculty and students alike.
Excerpt from "LMS 2.0: How to Select an Advanced Learning Management System," A White Paper by Timecruiser Computing Corporation, April 2008. Copyright 2008 Timecruiser Computing Corporation, Fairfield, N.J.