The Future of the Learning Management System

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Joshua Kim wrote a nice piece in IHE a couple of weeks ago that posed some very candid questions about the future of Blackboard. This company is the Leviathan of the proprietary learning management system market, and suffers somewhat from Microsoft-syndrome on account of its market domination. Very few educators I know have anything nice to say about the platform, other than the fact is tends to be pretty stable. This, of course, is very necessary, but also very dull. It is also a sad indictment on the quality of the student learning experience in higher education.

In an age when there is so much action going on within social media, it is most unfortunate that the market leader continues to trot out something that is quite so pedestrian. The problem, simply put, is that when you have such a large market share there is no pressure to innovate. You can make all the feature requests you like, but there will be no response until there is a critical mass of users making the same request.

Like Dr Kim, I wonder how much longer this strategy will continue to deliver. Monolithic LMSs are very 20th century, and to stay ahead of the game these days, versatility is everything. In short, a key consideration now is whether your delivery platform is going to be able to incorporate the new tools next year that no-one has even invented yet.