300px-Moodle-iconEvery time my board gets a new LMS (Learning Management System), I jump on it. I want to go to a PD Session about it. I want to learn how it works, test its functionality, and I spend hours creating my courses within it, and making it look pretty. It gets to the point where I know it so well, that I have no problem making it work within my needs–not the other way around. It’s a beautiful, wonderful honeymoon period. Then, we get new software or an entirely new LMS.

I think it’s reasonable to expect that there will be changes. Technology isn’t static. If a better tool comes along (and I mean, really D2L has much more functionality than ABEL Moodle) it makes sense to use it. Our e-learning students deserve the best possible interactions with us, the material, and their colleagues. Sometimes, though, the time I need to spend learning how to use a new LMS and making it functional and easy to use for the students, trumps time I could be spending developing new and dynamic activities.

The best analogy I can think of is this: I really want to experiment with new and delicious ways of cooking a turkey. I’m good at cooking it the way it is, but I think I’d like to delve deeper and make this a really innovative and unique turkey. But every couple of years, my husband insists on buying me a new oven, and I have to spend time practicing and getting used to the oven and all of its tricks, before I can expand on my new turkey ideas.

I was asked a question the other day, and it was this:
Do we really even need a Learning Management System? Could we run a course without one?
Well…the truth is that I’d never even thought about it. I don’t know how it would work, but I would like to know how it would work.

Some obvious pros are running through my mind:

  1. I don’t have to worry about learning a new platform every time a new one is released or becomes the standard.
  2. My students don’t have to learn how to use a platform (which can be hard for them for the first few weeks)
  3. I’m not constrained by the platform.
  4. I can do what I want (wow…freedom).

I don’t have any cons to publish here, because I really have nothing to go on. However, I have questions:

  1. How do I connect my students in the course with other colleagues?
  2. How do students submit work?
  3. How do I communicate with students as a group?
  4. Where does the course content go, and how do students access it?
  5. How can I ensure my students feel part of a community? What connects us all in one place?
  6. How are my students enrolled?
  7. Is there a help desk?
  8. How can I get started? Who can show me how this works?

I’ve tried Googling things about LMS-free courses. I’ve found Tin Can API

It claims to work without an LMS–and calls itself an LRS (Learning Record Store), however, I’m skeptical. I feel like it’s calling itself something else but is masquerading as an LMS.

So I want to know more, and for teachers out there doing an e-learning course without an LMS, please show me. I’m interested.


Photo credit: http://online.clackamas.edu/pluginfile.php/671291/mod_book/chapter/23139/300px-Moodle-icon.png