Learning management system
A Learning Management System (sometimes also called "Course Management System", "Pedagogical Platform", "E-Learning Platform") is a software system that delivers courseware plus e-tutoring over the Internet.
LMS should not be your starting point. Typically, when decision makers talk about E-Learning they want to know what system to install. First of all, so called LMS are not the only answer, you also can implement E-Learning with other tools (e.g. groupware, content management systems or even a wiki or other hypertext system, often in combination with a forum. Second, in any case you should start by thinking about an appropriate instructional design that uses appropriate teaching strategies for various learning types.
““LMS” is a catchall term in SCORM. It refers to a suite of functionalities designed to deliver, track, report on and manage learning content, learner progress and learner interactions. “LMS” can apply to very simple course management systems, or highly complex enterprise-wide, distributed environments.” (SCORM 2004 3rd Edition Overview Version 1.0)
- LAMS A good learning design system that we can recommend (for people with serious activity-based e-learning in mind)
- Rapid elearning (for mostly simple facts & skills training needs)
- LCMS (Learning content management systems)
- Student management system
- Classroom management software
Components of an LMS
Feature lists are getting quite long and it is not easy to decide which features are the most important unless you have a good background in various areas like instructional design, ergonomics and systems management.
Typical features are:
- Course Management, e.g. lists of courses, registration, credit information and syllabus, pre-requisites
- Display of teaching Materials, i.e. courseware (either through content authoring and/or importing standard IMS or SCORM packages developed with an external tool )
- Self-assessment quizzes
- Content authoring (structured XML or HTML) of learning materials and other contents (e.g. instructions)
- Asynchronous Communication: email, forums
- Synchronous Communication: chat, whiteboard, teleconferencing,
- Student tools: Home page, self tests, bookmarks, progress tracking, ....
- Student Management Tools: progress tracking, on-line grading (assessment), ....
- User and group management
- Learner feedback: course evaluation surveys, test evaluation surveys etc.
Other features include:
- ecommerce functionality
- integration with other systems, e.g. single-sign login, other learning platforms
- support for informal and social learning
Usually LMS are closed circuit platforms (logins, restricted access to classes), so the idea of sharing contents and reusing products generated during classes does not exist in the world of "LMSs" (main-stream e-learning).
List of software
These lists needs updating, therefore, before looking our lists please check the links section at the end of this page. Others do a much better job than we do. In addition, it is very difficult to find truly independant reviews by real experts - Daniel K. Schneider (talk) 16:15, 9 October 2013. As of 2019, there are probably a few hundred systems.
Free / Open Sourcource Portalware
Software to install on your own server, some are probably also availble through commercial hosting or cloud services.
- Amadeus (the Brazilian Federal Government public software LMS)
- ATutor (used at TECFA our student's to play with)
- canvas (LMS)
- chamilo (made by people who left the Dokeos development).
- Chamilo LCMS Connect. Same team, but very different from Chamilo, Try it
- Claroline (Older sister of Dokos and Chamilo).
- Claroline Connect (Beta, ready in summer 2014?) - try it
- Dokeos (popular in french and spanish speaking countries)
- e-Learning XHTML Editor (contents can then be imported to most LMSs).
- eFrontLearning (fairly user friendly, not tested, there are commercial variants)
- Fle3 (research system, maybe dead)
- interact (Dead link)
- KEWL.Nextgen (Dead link)
- Moodle (used at TECFA for several courses)
- OpenUSS and sourceforge site
- Sakai, “a community source software development effort to design, build and deploy a new Collaboration and Learning Environment (CLE) for higher education.”
- Segue (dead project)
- Stud.IP (Studienbegleitender Internetsupport von Präsenzlehre). More like a portal, made for German higher education.
- WordPress LMS (since summer 2012).
You can try out some of these system at http://www.opensourcecms.com/ (in addition to many other portalware). You will have full administrator rights (all systems will be refreshed every hour).
Most of these hosted LMS are commercial, but some basic services may be free. In addition to providing LMSs or individual classes to organizations and teachers, there is also a trend for selling contents as service, e.g. like openclassroom or MOOC services like Coursera.
- Haiku LMS
- Canvas, a popular, more recent cloud-based system. As of 2013, many sites seem to migrate from Blackboard to this. It does have a Auth2 / https / JSON based API. Single teachers can sign up for free. There is also a community edition can be installed on your machines.
- FeatherCap (trial version available)
- ProProfs (free version available)
- KoolLearning, new in 2013. Offers good integration of resources.
- Adobe captivate prime
- Schoology, A LMS-social platform hybrid. Single teacher free account.
- Easygenerator. As of 2016, a new tincan/scorm compliant system with an easy to use interface.
These are either available for self-hosting, as service or both. Some (e.g. blackbaord and canvas) target higher education, others industry and organizations. Most systems have similar features, in particular, content authoring/delievery, user management, tracking/user surveys, quizzing, communication. Below are a few examples, there are many more.
- Blackboard Vista (former WebCT)
- TopYX, a service-based social LMS
- Brightspace (formerly Desire2Learn
- Halogen eLearning Manager
- Rapid Intake (several tools, both for corporate and school environments).
- Skilitix, a service-based LMS using the new Tin-CAN API (2013). At its core is a roleplay application.
- ExpertusOne. Popular system in industry. Rather an LCMS, it can import learning objects such as SCORM 1.2. It includes gamification and a chat. Modules can be delivered as widgets (embedded contents in other websites).
See also rapid elearning, more popular in industry (low-level) training
There are many sites that will give you advice on how to choose a standard, main-stream E-Learning System:
- elearningindustry.com maintains several lists (search the site), e.g.
- Course Management Systems (formerly Landonline).
- Probably the best site out there, if you are interested in criteria-based selection of an LMS
- This site was built to assist higher education in using a more rational decision making process to review the many options for a course management system.
- LMS Talk List of products, forum, etc.
- Elearning Platforms (Learning Management Systems) by EduTech, the technological support for the Swiss Virtual Campus project. Much shorter list, but enough for most of us ....
- LernmanagementSysteme.DE German blog about LMS, includes a large comparative table of LMS's (added oct. 2011).
- The Re.ViCa wiki has been set up to provide an inventory and to show the results of a systematic review of Virtual Campus initiatives of the past decade within higher education throughout the world.
- What is an LMS Free educational resource site with comprehensive articles explaining the different aspects of Learning Management Systems: features checklists, cost comparisons, support & technology, enterprise LMS checklists, LMS vendor comparisons, LMS & LCMS comparisons, proprietary/open source & SaaS LMS comparisons and many more.
- Amazon’s Quiet Dominance of Higher-Ed Learning Platforms, Chronicle of Higher Education, July 2016. Describe an increasing trend adopting cloud computing.
- Usability / Evaluation of LMS studies
- Inversini, A., Botturi, L. & Triacca, L. (2006). Evaluating LMS Usability for Enhanced eLearning Experience. In E. Pearson & P. Bohman (Eds.), Proceedings of World Conference on Educational Multimedia, Hypermedia and Telecommunications 2006 (pp. 595-601). Chesapeake, VA: AACE. Retrieved March 4, 2014 from http://www.editlib.org/p/23070.
- Chua B. B., & Dyson, L. E. (2004). Applying the ISO 9126 Model to the Evaluation of an e-Learning System. Proc. of ASCILITE 2004, December 5-8, Perth, Australia, pp. 184-190.
- Al-sarrayrih, Haytham S.; Lars Knipping, Erhard Zorn, Evaluation of a MOODLE Based Learning Management System Applied at Berlin Institute of Technology Based on ISO-9126, ICL2010. PDF
- Kakasevski, G.; Mihajlov, M.; Arsenovski, S.; Chungurski, S., "Evaluating usability in learning management system moodle," Information Technology Interfaces, 2008. ITI 2008. 30th International Conference on , vol., no., pp.613,618, 23-26 June 2008. doi: 10.1109/ITI.2008.4588480. http://ieeexplore.ieee.org/stamp/stamp.jsp?tp=&arnumber=4588480&isnumber=4588363
- Chandra, V., D. Fisher, and V. S. Chang. 2011. “Investigating higher education and secondary school web-based learning environments using the WEBLEI.” In Technologies for enhancing pedagogy, engagement and empowerment in education: creating learning-friendly environments, ed. Thao Le and Quynh Le, 93-104. USA: Information Science Reference, IGI Global.
- Chang, V., & Fisher, D. (2003). The validation and application of a new learning environment instrument for online learning in higher education. Technology-rich learning environments: A future perspective, 1-18.
- Chang, V. (1999). Evaluating the effectiveness of online learning using a new web based learning instrument. Proceedings Western Australian Institute for Educational Research Forum 1999. http://www.waier.org.au/forums/1999/chang.html
- Kurilovas, E. (2009). Methods of Multiple Criteria Evaluation of the Quality of Learning Management Systems for Personalised Learners Needs. European Conference on Technology-Enhanced Learning (EC-TEL'2009), 1-10, Retrieved from: http://wwwis.win.tue.nl/lms-ale-09/Kurilovas_paper.pdf
- Srdevic, B., Pipan, M., Srdevic, Z., Arh, T. (2012). AHP Supported Evaluation of LMS Quality. International Workshop on the Interplay between User Experience (UX) Evaluation and System Development (I-UxSED 2012). NordiCHI 2012.
- Vinesh Chandra, Darrell L. Fisher, Students’ perceptions of a blended web-based learning environment, Learning Environments Research, April 2009, Volume 12, Issue 1, pp 31-44.
- Jay Melton, The LMS moodle: A Usability Evaluation, http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.124.7533&rep=rep1&type=pdf (ref to find/add)
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