Online learning is the way of the future. Universities have started offering Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) and this has created a need for technology able to host large-scale online education. Stanford’s Class2Go and MIT’s MITx were designed specifically for conducting MOOCs online, but traditional Learning Management Systems (LMSs) such as Moodle are other possibilities when it comes to exploring hosts for a new MOOC.
Requirements for an MOOC Learning Management System
Due to the pure volume of students, the LMS chosen to host a MOOC must have several capabilities that were not previously necessary. For example, the administrator may need to split the course population for assessment purposes, observe a number of group’s movements simultaneously and grade on a large scale. The LMS must also be somewhat interactive for students, as the course may call for self-chosen groups or peer assessment.
SCORM stands for ‘Sharable Content Object Reference Model’ and helps companies to create online training resources that are compatible with their peers and competitors, making life easier for everyone. It also sets standards for online learning and training which may be required by the institution hosting the event. SCORM is another factor in deciding which platform a MOOC should be presented from as some LMSs are set up to comply with SCORM standards and others need to have it implemented if required. SCORM is the catalyst for LMS to deploy rapid eLearning content, facilitate course delivery, automate participation tracking, and gathering of all statistics associated to online learning development, delivery and participations.
The Importance of Learning Management Systems to MOOC
One of the main selling points for MOOC is accessibility. To reduce effort required to deliver and maintain mass-education, a degree of automation is required. A course provider who presents information without being complimented by automation enabling technology like LMS will soon be left behind. LMSs also have the capability to be community based, linking to forums, blogs, instant messenger and discussions, all designed to compliment online learning delivery. The newer crop of MOOC LMSs seems to keep most of the activity on the course platform.
The Future of Learning Management Systems
It seems that the MOOC movement has started to capture the imagination of the world, so Learning Management Systems are coming under closer scrutiny for public use. It is rumored that the MOOC designed learning environment such as Udacity and Coursera will eventually share their coding for the benefit of the world but this remains to be proven. In the mean time, Open Source LMSs such as Moodle, and commercial large-scale LMSs (such as SAP, SABA, etc) can be used to provide online learning and internet-based training on a mass scale.