Tuesday, 28 October 2008

From Learning Management Systems (LMS) to Managed Learning Environments (MLE)

I thought I would share some of the correspondence that has been flying around regarding
LMS's and interoperability. The fact is that, the solution is much bigger than just interoperability. Paul Seiler at the MoE is working on the LMS/SMS interoperability issue, but also on what such a beast would look like if it was able to talk to all systems, and whether a national or regional solution is possible. Here are some comments from a few of my colleagues as we begin to realise the scale of the task and what it means.

Phil Buchanan comments: "I really think that the big picture, a complete MLE single sign-on portal - much bigger than 'which LMS' or 'hosting solution' (or even SMS-LMS interop) should we use - is crucial for NZ education. Note Paul's message/advertisement in the next Gazette"
The interop and parental portal, which he has fostered, is a really strategic direction - to foster inclusion of the community in schools (delivered to their home) and also learning conversations at home - and the next step that he will fund/facilitate is very important for us all to understand.

Trevor Storr Comments: "I think the real challenge is not getting the technology to work, but is enabling leaders, schools and teachers to embrace collaboration. In a world context, NZ is tiny - some small cities have a larger population than the whole of NZ and operate one MLE for the whole city. Our challenge is to ensure that NZ schools benefit from the economies of scale that a large MLE can bring while still acknowledging the local flavours and foibles that 'Tomorrows Schools' encourages. An example of why this is important can be seen in the context of content authoring for an MLE using eg eXe. Do we expect all teachers to become experts in content authoring so that resources and classes can be put online, or do we think that a better solution is to enable national collaboration in content authoring so that the 'teacher experts' can share their wisdom and skill with others to reuse and refactor?"

The debate needs input from senior leaders at schools because this technology will influence the future learning environment for our students.