The LMS (learning management system) market has been dominated by Blackboard for years but low-cost, free, and open source alternatives are on the rise (see CanvasCourseKit OpenClass pedagogy andragogy
Sometimes I wonder if online instruction is based in research or if institutions are just copying what everyone else does. One institution, Western Governors University (WGU), is the only institution in the nation that utilizes a competency-based approachWGU separates instructional duties from evaluation duties see this article on grade inflation
Still, other institutions offer courses with asynchronous (e.g. discussion forums, recorded lectures, etc.) and synchronous learning events (e.g. live discussions, live interactive lectures, etc.) designed to spark interaction and collaborative learning. Learning team assignments may be an integral part of the learning process whereas other courses may be based entirely on individual assignments.
Not all LMS platforms are created equal; where some do a great job of offering features that foster a collaborative, interactive learning environment, others leave users (faculty and students) wanting. It seems to me that some educators believe strongly in some methods over others, but I am curious to know how the online learning platforms remain educator-driven. Upon what research are institutions basing their instructional methods or is this online education thing just a big experiment? WGU certainly seems to be an experiment since it is the only institution in the nation that offers a competency-based approach to learning. Maybe experimentation is a good thing. Perhaps different learners need different options. Who has it right? What works in online education?
If you are a faculty member, advisor, student, higher ed exec, technology guru or just a person who likes to give an opinion, maybe you have an opinion about these LMS alternatives (see below) as well as the features that you think are critical to facilitating the learning process. What should we see 5 or 10 years from now in learning management systems and how will online instruction methods evolve?
Watch Video on Canvas LMS
Watch Video on CourseKit LMS
Watch Video on OpenClass LMS