2012 – a year of learning technology failures

It’s that time of year when all the movers and shakers attempt to predict what will be big in 2013. Well there are no such predictions here. However, they do say you can predict the future by learning lessons from the past, so I’m going look back over the past year instead and ask: what was crap about 2012? (I should reiterate that these views are, of course, entirely my own…) Continue reading “2012 – a year of learning technology failures”

Understanding Tin Can API

Tin Can has been getting lots of people in a twist lately. Early adopters are tweeting and blogging about it and anyone who’s anyone seems to be dropping it into conversations to prove they’re at the cutting edge of learning technologies. It is certainly doing the rounds as the Next Big Thing. But ask anyone, “What is Tin Can? Explain it to me” and more often than not you’ll just get a shrug of the shoulders and a quizzical look.

This is because Tin Can API is pretty confusing to the newcomer. I can vouch for that because I am a newcomer to it myself. This blog post is my collected notes and thoughts from one day spent learning about Tin Can API. It’s become pretty clear over recent weeks to me that most people understand that Tin Can API is the next version of the SCORM standard, but few people realise that it is still only at the DRAFT stage. There is a high level of vendor ‘early adopter’ activity with technology companies implementing the draft standard but there is also a high level of vendor hype with people like Articulate touting Articulate Online as a “Tin Can API-supported learning management system”. The level of hype makes it sound more real than it is, and the race to innovate seems to have taken the standards definition squad by surprise. While these people are still working on the final revisions to the draft specification, the hype in the vendor market is leading e-learning practitioners to eagerly search out press releases and marketing material that just aren’t ready yet.

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Open Source LMS Landscape in 2012

I’ve been meaning to generate an up-to-date list of open source learning management systems for some time. A recent trawl of Sourceforge, Github, Google Code and Codeplex for the term ‘learning’, as well as the list published at  http://list.ly/list/1Vt-opensource-learning-management-systems-lms-elearning, resulted in nearly 100 viable projects. There may be more, of course. Many thanks to my colleague, Duncan Croucher, for his substantial help in establishing and refining this list over the past week.

The full list is at the foot of this post. We then set about refining this list against a set of criteria as follows:

  • Is code being committed?
  • Are there regular stable releases?
  • Are there support forums?
  • Are there plugins available on the website?
  • Are there commercial support services available?
  • Is there developer documentation on the website?

Applying this set of filters reduces the full list down to a mere 10 LMS projects which can be considered mature, stable and sustainable. This is clearly a much more manageable and feasible list against which more detailed comparisons can be made. Those comparisons will come in a further post over the coming weeks.

Here are the shortlist of 10 and the full list of open source LMS projects. if you spot anything missing or can help improve the refinement criteria, pls let me know.

Continue reading “Open Source LMS Landscape in 2012”