LMS - dare I ask?

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rgrozdanic

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May 6, 2020, 2:59:39 AM5/6/20
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Hi folks

Can you please provide me with feedback on Learning Management Systems you've been using including anyone who has experience with Learning Experience Platforms (old vinegar in new bottles?). I need to look at some products and I'd really appreciate your guidance on which ones are good and which ones to steer clear of.

I'm also hoping that you'll be willing to share any specification/requirements documents you might have in relation to procuring and selecting an LMS.

Thanks in advance!

Rose

Derek Chirnside

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May 6, 2020, 3:09:18 AM5/6/20
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Well.
Vinegar?
I'd say poison.

I'm interested at the moment in OB3.
Ocean Browser 3.
Beautiful.
Functional.
All things being equal, I'd use this for any personal projects.

I have looked at a range of commercial options for a side gig recently.  They are all in a certain niche, commercial courses and training.
New Zenler.  Teachable.  Kajabi.  Thinkific.  Learnworlds.  Podia    About 10 of these.  etc.

At present I work with an install of Moodle.  
Moodle obviously needs a lot of mods to be functional, without mods is 1) very delivery focused.
2) Not beautiful. 3) Time consuming to develop in.  🤔

-Derek
Hope you are good Rose




 

"The mood state Americans are in, on average, when watching television is mildly depressed" - Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi - from Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience

Is this true, and does it apply to the rest of us?


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Peter Allen

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May 6, 2020, 3:32:17 AM5/6/20
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Currently rolling out Moodle 3.8  -  Why moodle ? open source ( free),  needed to work with tablets, phones etc, needed  robust assessment infrastructure.

I looked at Sakai, Chamilo, and various Joomla plug-ins - but went with what we knew would work.

Cheers,


rgrozdanic

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May 6, 2020, 4:08:24 AM5/6/20
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Thank you Derek and Peter.  I may come back to you with more questions.

r

rgrozdanic

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May 6, 2020, 4:10:03 AM5/6/20
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Derek could you please say a bit more about the commercial products you reviewed - what were your observations and concerns?

r

Leigh Blackall

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May 6, 2020, 4:58:50 AM5/6/20
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I'm deep into Canvas at the day job. It's OK.. Shit on mobile. Very good help documents. Free to use at canvas.instructure.com

In also using Google Classroom.. Prefer it. 

I wish my work chose Moodle.. 

Things have definately gone backwards. 

Derek Chirnside

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May 6, 2020, 5:45:32 AM5/6/20
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Ahh. Google classroom. 2017.   120 hours at a girls school. They never told me about Byod. Chaos. The school was not ready.

But. At the start of a lesson. 

Zero to something constructive in GC in 70 sec.

I loved it. 

Alex P.Real

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May 6, 2020, 7:41:09 AM5/6/20
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Hello,

I find wordpress more useful than the standard LMS due to the possibility of tweaks without much ado. LearnDash is a GPL-licensed plugin with plenty of extensions, integrations, etc. and a large community. Finding the "GPL" may take some digging but it does exist. To develop content H5P is great and user-friendly. But, as always, the main limitation is the underlying edu mentality, bureaucrat decision-makers and educators' ability to shift to online learning besides the syllabus cut & paste. The classical W and different audiences' needs.

Moodle can be great but the amount of work required frequently leads to half-baked configurations many teachers don't quite grasp. This has become glaring during the Covid-19 confinement.

I hope you're all managing in these bizarre times.

Cheers,

Alex P. Real (not Hayes)





Leigh Blackall

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May 6, 2020, 8:25:43 AM5/6/20
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Good point Alex, and with so much of the wider Internet powered on WordPress, there's a lot to be said for the transferability of skill too. Some of escaped the oppression of edu tech through WordPress. Others mastered LMS, and there they stay. 

Nancy White

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May 6, 2020, 12:26:15 PM5/6/20
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Check in with Brian Lamb and Alan Levine!

Barbara Dieu

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May 6, 2020, 2:05:08 PM5/6/20
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Hi Rose,
I'm using Google Classroom with my high school classes and am very happy with it - very user friendly. It can be used together all other Google apps and tools and has a mashup with Edpuzzle... but it is Google :-(
For synchronous meetings the tech dept installed Jitsi.org on the school server and they are adapting it to our needs as it is open source but it does have (until now) the breakout rooms facility like in Zoom.
B.



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rgrozdanic

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May 6, 2020, 7:20:28 PM5/6/20
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Hi Nancy - when you say check in with Brian and Alan what do you mean - literally write to them?

r

rgrozdanic

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May 6, 2020, 7:28:26 PM5/6/20
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I love TALO. All of you have looked at this question through the lens of what software may genuinely allow us to design experiences, collaborate, manage content etc.

The driver for my question includes the (commonly held) view that an LMS can manage compliance and upskilling in one neat package. So the product I'm looking for will need to be able to do alot of tracking and talking to other systems (eg ability to stream content from various commercial providers, talk to HRIS systems like payroll, automate assessments, manage reminders etc). It is an optimistic view of things to say the least so my focus is on getting the least worst version of what that is with the possibility of then building on that over time to build the kind of environment that we all know is possible.

r

r

Nancy White

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May 6, 2020, 8:35:14 PM5/6/20
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Yup - Brian at his Uni has been super experimental and pragmatic and has lots of insights. @Brlamb on Twitter (i am not at home so don't have his direct email) and Alan Levine who I've cc-ed!

rgrozdanic

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May 6, 2020, 10:43:32 PM5/6/20
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Derek Chirnside

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May 6, 2020, 11:52:46 PM5/6/20
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I tried Grav last year.

Installed it locally and had a great help site up and running in 40 minutes.

Attractive.

-Derek


 
"The mood state Americans are in, on average, when watching television is mildly depressed" - Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi - from Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience

Is this true, and does it apply to the rest of us?

Alexander Hayes

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May 7, 2020, 1:49:06 AM5/7/20
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Hi Rose,

I'm finding https://www.bloglines.co an interesting experiment. 

Kind regards,

Alexander Hayes

PhD candidate
University of Wollongong, Australia
Aalto University, Helsinki, Finland

Twitter - @alexanderhayes
Website - http://www.alexanderhayes.com

Partner - Ngikalikarra Media 
Member - UNAA (WA Division), UNAA Academic Network 
Member - Australian Privacy Foundation

I acknowledge the traditional owners of the land I currently live and work on, the Whadjuk people of the Noongar nation. Always has been, always will be, Aboriginal land.



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craig bottomley

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May 7, 2020, 2:28:39 AM5/7/20
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Hey Rose

I work with Canvas which has been my employer's choice....

I've found that the skills I've picked with years of working with Moodle (previous employer) have transferred quite well across to Canvas. Although I do feel a bit like, being an IT nerd helps in this.

Not sure about interoperability on a wider scale, but Canvas seems to link in with things like Microsoft Teams, click view, khan academy, Dropbox, TedEd etc.

botts


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rgrozdanic

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May 7, 2020, 3:07:58 AM5/7/20
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rgrozdanic

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May 7, 2020, 3:08:23 AM5/7/20
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Nancy White

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May 7, 2020, 7:58:36 AM5/7/20
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Here is an example of Alan's SPLOT in action (just one fraction of it  https://splot.ca/extraordinary/)

Vance Stevens

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May 7, 2020, 10:52:36 PM5/7/20
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Hi

I've been looking for an entry here ever since you started talking about what to use for an LMS. I'm not sure of the context in which that was requested, and many good suggestions have emerged. Moodle and Canva are probably best implemented in an institutional context, whereas Google Classroom is geared toward individual classes. I couldn't reach Alex Hayes's bloglines.co site, but I found it at  https://www.bloglines.com/ .  

One that I have found useful in my individual classes is https://www.schoology.com/ . It looks and funcitons much like Moodle but has only a fraction of its capabilities. Still that fraction might be the ones that an individual teacher would be most interested in. It's free (like Moodle) and hosted at Schoology (unlike Moodle which has to be hosted on a server somewhere that will let you use it). It's quick to intuit as compared to Moodle, which requires more experience to get the hang of.

But what I am really responding to here is how this thread has been going with Nancy's mention of Alan Levin's https://splot.ca/extraordinary/. I'm collecting a similar resource (as are many among us) but by brute force, none of the sophistication of a properly scripted effort such as Alan's. Mine is here: 

Mine is a simple Google Doc. Anyone can write on it. It got to be a mess so I indexed it with a table of contents, and now it is nicely searchable and navigable. For example if you want a glimpse into what Nancy White is up to, she's in the ToC, https://docs.google.com/document/d/1pm4Q_jJbrWKu38-xv8-2QFrn-ialnZBT-qDofoXAWcY/edit#heading=h.gaknuq8q1uz

This is a part of my TALIN project, Teaching and Learning in IsolatioN, https://tinyurl.com/talin2020 , on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/talin2020

TALIN invites people who want to discuss their experiences in the context of the current situation online in Zoom. It's picked up decent traction. If you want to come online yourself and talk to us in Zoom, you can join the Google Doc (at the tinyURL)  and write-in your event in the schedule of upcoming events. We're pretty busy up through May 20, but there's nothing (yet) after that. There's an archive of our baker's dozen of events that have already taken place since March 30 here, 

Most of these have video recordings from Zoom, and any of you would be most welcome to join us.

I'm talking about TALIN at the Virtual Round Table event starting later today and going through tomorrow, program at https://bit.ly/VRT2020. My talk on TALIN is on May 9, here in the program (I presume there will be a Zoom link posted there prior to the event) 
https://docs.google.com/document/d/1TWE7FHPMUAWLP7cCB9ur_fS3B_ZjxoogJ5o_ooZuxtc/edit#bookmark=id.vmnucgrm2xs6

It's at noon UTC, 8 pm in Western Australia, and there's much to attract you at the VRT, so check out the program.

Incidentally, I was thinking about TALO when I came up with the idea for TALIN. Now that we are passing through this epochal event, this changes everything for the Future of Learning in a Networked World.


rgrozdanic

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May 8, 2020, 12:04:58 AM5/8/20
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Thanks Vance for your detailed explanation of your thinking around this.

In the corporate space people are encouraged to have magical thinking about online learning. They are told that an LMS, in one fell swoop, will manage every compliance need. You pop in a course (and there's no clarity on what a course is - it's just a thing that magically makes people learn something). The LMS tells you people have done it. You tick off your list. Compliance met. This is the story that vendors overwhelmingly sell.

In my world, my concerns are more around streamlining functions - face to face event management - enrolments, registrations, pre-requisites, reminders, job aids, capturing learning needs and licencing requirements, chasing laggards, rescheduling, reporting, evaluation etc. None of the systems seem to talk to each other. Everything has to be done 3 times and even then there's someone sitting in the office on a Saturday trying to reconcile 3 excel spreadsheets and make sense of the data. Learning seems to have no relevance to any of it - the sheer task of administration is so all encompassing.

So when I asked about an LMS I'm asking because that's what organisations are told they need. They listen to vendors and think that all their learning needs will be met - that employees will magically accept the "netflix of learning" which will come from numerous vendors as well as learning that be created and uploaded in a matter of minutes by HR folks etc. That employees will love this opportunity, complete courses, learn skills, apply them on the job, meet compliance obligations etc. However this simply isn't my experience. Over the years I've observed that you get a high number of people enrolling in something then it dies off within days and most people don't finish anything. Others spend their time, as we all do, scrolling through the "netflix" daze, not really doing anything but looking busy.

I feel like the 13th fairy in Sleeping Beauty. There's no perfect answer but I'm hoping I can find the least worst outcome. When I'm asking about an LMS I'm thinking about environments that will provide systems for administering, communicating, measuring, assigning, coordinating. The learning part of it is secondary, to be honest because learning is messy and can't really be mandated or controlled. I've been reading about Learning Experience Platforms as well and that sounds promising but all the ones I've looked at have fancy videos aimed at corporate decision makers and they all look like the netflix of learning - attractive content libraries of mostly animations or videos. I can't see anything that's suited to workplaces or likely to engender the kind of genuine learning or knowledge building that we've now been talking about in TALO for close to 20 years.

Some of the stuff I'm seeing here in the responses is academic focussed - tools for people to truly share and build and learn. That's not my experience of workplaces - only universities, schools and colleges. People still respond to face to face or nothing. And my own view of this is that learning needs to be in the flow of work anyway, so I'm secretly hoping that someone has built something that will do all the admin and clever database stuff as well as building in social tools that are genuinely useful rather than superficially social.

Holy grail maybe. But TALO is my go to when I have these kinds of questions.

r

Vance Stevens

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May 8, 2020, 1:53:42 AM5/8/20
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Thanks Roz for taking the time to explain your context. 

In my own career in academia my favorite LMS has been Moodle when one is available and when I can administer it, but in the classes I manage, often at the outskirts of some more locked down LMS such as Blackboard or Desire2learn. My instinct has been to buck the system (good thing I hit the b key there) and piggy back on the uberLMS with my own version, PBworks or whatever, over which I can have more control. But this is clearly not your context.

But thanks for explaining the nature of the present discussion. I have learned a lot in TALO from the people who populate it. I've been physically present at one FLNW event (in Thailand) and often this community have joined in many of my academically oriented efforts and initiatives. It is a fruitful community for sharing knowledge on every level, academic to corporate, and for transcending thoughtfully these domains.

I'm glad we've had an opportunity to exchange perspectives, and I'll stay tuned, and in touch.

cheers,
^V^

Nancy White

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May 8, 2020, 9:01:54 AM5/8/20
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Ah, I clearly missed the workplace bit. Let me ask a few folks I know supporting workplace learning. I think it is a whole different market as well as culture!!! (Waving at Vance as we pass by - I still owe you follow up)

Alexander Hayes

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May 8, 2020, 9:10:25 AM5/8/20
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There are some solid leads in here Rose you must admit.


Interestingly Dave Cormier had this to say at the time - http://davecormier.com/edblog/2006/03/01/the-lmsple-die-debate/

I got distracted though by Daves recommendation to visit https://www.fark.com/

What you are all searching for perhaps is this - https://alexander-hayes.squarespace.com/journal/open-lrm

"...Open Learning Relationship Management - a consultative schema guiding ICT backbone development allowing for attributes, mobile enhancements, deep data drilling, identity management integration and interoperability of third party service provision. Leo Gaggl (2011)

An open LRM.

Kind regards,

Alexander Hayes

PhD candidate
University of Wollongong, Australia
Aalto University, Helsinki, Finland

Twitter - @alexanderhayes
Website - http://www.alexanderhayes.com

Partner - Ngikalikarra Media 
Member - UNAA (WA Division), UNAA Academic Network 
Member - Australian Privacy Foundation

I acknowledge the traditional owners of the land I currently live and work on, the Whadjuk people of the Noongar nation. Always has been, always will be, Aboriginal land.


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