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MOOC and Learning Management Systems (LMS)

MOOC and Learning Management Systems (LMS)

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.

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Massive Open Online Course (MOOC)

Massive Open Online Course (MOOC)

The world is getting ever smaller, thanks in part to remarkable advances in technological communication over the past few decades. One of the most exciting movements to grace the globe is that of MOOC, or in layman’s terms, Massive Open Online Courses.

What is MOOC?

A Massive Online Open Course is a course offered for free by a university or educational institution to anybody with access to the Internet. Although a fee may be required for educational acknowledgement, the MOOC movement is essentially offering free, first-class education from any number of distinguished organisations. A growing amount of well-known schools are jumping on board, including the prestigious Stanford University, who see the advent of their online department as a step in restructuring the face of the university to meet the needs of the imminent future.

Who Started It?

In 2008 Canadian university Professors George Siemens and Stephen Downes created a course called “Connectivism and Connected Knowledge,” which was offered for free to over 2 000 registered online students. Dave Cormier bestowed the term MOOC, and thus this burgeoning trend had begun. However, the event that made the movement really explode onto the world’s front page was the enrolment of over 160 000 students in an online artificial intelligence course offered by Stanford Professor Sebastian Thrun and Google Research Director Peter Norvig.


The publicity and popularity of the Stanford course mentioned above spawned the creation of two dedicated online course platforms, Coursera and Udacity. MIT responded with MITx, and Harvard released EDx, and the number of online course providers continues to grow. Australia is no small contender in this game; Melbourne University, University of Queensland, and the University of Western Australia now also offer courses for online study. With Australians considered to be some of the most proficient Internet users in the world, this number will only continue to grow.

What it Means for the World

Free online study from distinguished universities makes higher learning available to a whole range of people who once may have found it impossible to fit regular courses into their schedules or budgets. Admittedly, a quick search online would have offered an abundance of options for online study, but the fact that these courses are from renowned
institutions makes them an invaluable product in the eyes of the world. Like any trend, MOOC is catching. As more of the world begins to study online, more of the world will want to study online. Suddenly there is a promise of a future with a more educated and aware global population.

How it Works

Like any university course, MOOC varies depending on the school that is hosting it, but a few factors remain constant. The course is scheduled, and enrollment is necessary before the commencement of term, which usually follows the academic calendar. Some courses offer assessment based on peer reviews and collaboration, while others take a more traditional approach and call for set assessment pieces to be submitted online. One characteristic of the newer MOOC courses is the predominance of a linear model, where students are presented with the course in designed chronology, rather picking and choosing what modules they wish to pursue.

MOOC is a trend that has changed the way the world looks at education. What exactly lies in the future of this relatively young program is hard to tell, but the path forward can only be educational. For many Australians it offers an exciting opportunity for higher education that was previously unavailable.

Watch this space for our next blog in the series, MOOC and Learning Management Systems.

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Understanding Learning Management Systems, Basic Functions and Benefits

Understanding Learning Management Systems, Basic Functions and Benefits

An LMS is a software that is used for planning, creating, delivering, assessing and tracking eLearning courses, their applications and outcomes.

Typically, an LMS provides instructors with ways for

  • creating and delivering content,
  • monitoring the participation of students, and
  • assessing how students perform.

The LMS may also offer higher level of interactivity in eLearning, like

  • video conferencing,
  • threaded discussions, and
  • discussion forums.

Sponsored by the US Department of Defense, the Advanced Learning Distance group has come up with a set of specifications referred to as SCORM, or Shareable Content Object Reference Model, in order to promote the standardization of the Learning Management System. This is too allow eLearning courses to be integrated with any number of LMS.

At the very base, an LMS should have these features:

  • Centralized and automated administration;
  • Self-guided services;
  • Compile and deliver learning content quickly;
  • Consolidate initiatives for training on a scalable platform for web use;
  • Support standards and portability (SCORM);
  • Customize content and enable the reuse of knowledge; and
  • Deliver webinars and training sessions online.

Most people and employees today spend most of their time on the computer connected to the Internet. So why not take advantage of that connectivity to broaden how the education system can reach anyone who wants to learn. By making learning more accessible, learning becomes easier.

An LMS is usually a web-based software. This allows for learning to expand beyond the four walls of a classroom, making it possible for distance learning to be enjoyed by as many people as possible. This also eliminates the need for physical books and classrooms with you can host supporting learning materials and discussion online.

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Using Social Media To Establish Your Brand

Using Social Media To Establish Your Brand

One huge advantage of social networking sites is the ability to establish and promote a personal brand. Establishing a brand and setting yourself or your company up as an expert in your field is time consuming and cannot be accomplished overnight. It is well worth the effort and time it takes though, as being recognized as an expert greatly enhances your chances of success in your field. Let’s look at how we can use social media to establish your brand.

The first step lies in building an online profile that is interesting. One’s goal should be to establish himself/herself as an expert in his/her chosen field. This can be done through a series of steps such as posting comments on blogs that relate to that field. Making connections with movers and shakers in the field of interest can lead to invitations to guest post on their blogs or websites. Extending the same invitations to them to post one your blog or website can lend their credibility to your brand.

If one does not already have one, creating a blog is one excellent method of establishing a brand. Social media sites can be used to direct traffic to the blog if one takes the proper approach. It is important to remember that social networking sites are created for the purpose of creating friendships and groups that share common interests. Any messages that promote one’s particular brand should not take on a self aggrandizing tone.

Following the posts of other experts in your field can create opportunities for educated discourse. If you disagree with something said in one of these blog posts, state your disagreement in a comment on the blog. Do so with a respectful tone that shows that you recognize that person’s expertise by outlining the reasons for your disagreement without stating that the person is wrong. After all, there are many times when people disagree without either one being completely wrong or right.

Engage in conversations with these experts that are open to public viewing. This is especially important if they are already well known and you are just beginning to create a personal brand.

Make posts on social media sites that tell people about you and your brand in an informative and interesting way. It is important to avoid making these posts sound like advertisements. People become resistant when they feel as if they are being pushed into something.

One thing that many business people fail to do that can prove invaluable when trying to establish a network of connections is searching the internet for content that will be interesting to those whose attention one is trying to attract. Pass this information along, even if it means driving traffic to someone else’s website. If you are seen as a source of valuable information, the information you provide about your personal brand will take on its own value.

Using social media to establish your brand can lead to success at a much faster pace than any other method of getting the message out. It also creates a self perpetuating stream of targeted leads of a quality that one would be hard pressed to find using any other media.

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Mobile Solutions, is there a need?

Mobile Solutions, is there a need?

Consumers are using their mobile devices to access the Internet more than ever before – and it’s expected to grow at astonishing rates over the next 12 months and beyond. Here’s some facts:

  • There are approximately 4 BILLION mobile subscribers across the world.
  • Most mobile device users keep their phones within arm’s reach over 90 percent of waking hours.
  • Nielsen predicts that smart phones will account for nearly half of worldwide mobile sales by 2013. This is a clear indication of how much more the Internet will be accessed via mobile devices.
  • People in developed countries today are spending an average of three hours per day on the Internet from their mobile devices.
  • Over the past few years, the shipment of mobile handsets has grown 16% annually – reaching 400 million sold in the last quarter of 2010. Mobile device companies sold a total of 1.39 billion units in 2010.
  • Approximately 30% of U.S. mobile phone users have a smartphone according to Nielsen. This number is expected to grow to approximately 43% by 2015 according to eMarketer.
  • In 2009, approximately half a BILLION people went online using their mobile device. This number is expected to double within the next 5 years.
  • By 2014, mobile Internet usage is expected to exceed desktop Internet usage.
  • According to Nielsen, 70% of mobile users plan to upgrade to 4G service within the next year so they can have faster Internet speed while using their mobile devices.
  • According to founder and CEO of, Jeff Bezos, customers around the world have ordered more than $1 BILLION U.S. dollars from using a mobile device.
  • Gartner also predicts that by 2014, more people will access the internet from their mobile devices than from their PC desktops.
  • According to Facebook official statistics from January 2011, more than 200 million users (out of over 600 million Facebook users) access Facebook using their mobile devices; also, mobile Facebook users are twice as active as non-mobile users.
  • More than 200 million YouTube views occur on mobile devices every day.
  • 86% of mobile Internet usage happens while the users are watching TV.
  • Mobile marketing methods have proven to be effective in acquiring new customers, providing service to existing customers, and driving repeat business through relationship-building.
  • When combined with other marketing methods, mobile marketing has proven to increase conversion rates.
  • Studies show that as time goes on, people will prefer to deal with technology over human interaction.

Now, you know why you should build a mobile compatible website, apps, mLearning or even a mobile eCommerce shop for your business.

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