Future of LMS

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About 5 years ago, when people talked about LMS(Learning Management System), they thought community system independently. So, the community activities considered as additional plug-ins. But now LMS like Moodle and Blackboard have included community functions, even blogs and wikis can be generated as course activities.

Now the coming-out of G+ has become hot issue. It reached huge amount of user numbers in short time period. You can check the links (red arrows) in mindmap for the information. It is actual war between Facebook and Google. Ironically, there will be many benefits for 3'rd parties. Facebook has been considers as learning platform for a long time. Then, what will be the future? Will it be LMS with SNS function or SNS with LMS function?

The idea has already been predicted abruptly by Wilson's proposition as PLE. There are many distributed services and those services will be customized and integrated to personal user. There are some more details.

If you use google, it has almost everything: Google Doc, Calendar, Groups.... Those are already perfect for LMS candidate. G+ will set a fire on these already powerful functionality of Google service. But it is not all.

If you analyze LMS, there are 3 things: Resources, User management, and activities. Resources will be distributed on any repository (LMS's, SNS's, and any other Cloud). But the unified user management control on learners will be keys for LMS formal learning. You should be able to track the behavior of learners on resources and activities. For the activities, quiz and homework turn in will be important activities, which should exist. Surely, the communication notification is a strong SNS activity candidate for LMS integration.

The hybrid coexisting stage will last for few years. For examples, it is possible to embed facebook block as Moodle block. So, you can get benefit of FaceBook communication from Moodle. Some institutions are trying to implement their total learning platform as FaceBook. But there are some limitations to use it as formal learning right now.

My prediction is coexistence of two services. The activities of LMS system will be segmented to be integrated with other SNS services. For these cases the open API technology should be implemented for seamless integration. Unfortunately, this will be a big risk for commercial LMS vendors. It might be hard to maintain a business model with this situation. It can be same hazard to open source LMS, but they can come up with flexible business model with SNS side or client demand.

The open API of Google+ will have deep impact on future LMS issue. We'll watch what it will like soon. The circle function of Google+ draw deep interests already, and show the possiblity of Google+ integration to othe learning activities.

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