Op-Ed Monolithic LMS EDUKWEST

The Last Days of the Monolithic LMS

The LMS, as we currently know it, is a relic from a long-gone era. An era where the internet was in its infancy, where static, text-heavy content was the norm, and where the web was accessed from the desktop. Where services like AOL, Yahoo and MSN tried to be everything to everybody.

But here’s the problem: the Millennials and Gen-Zers in our classrooms and workforces don’t remember this era (and in most cases, weren’t even around to see it).

All they know is the agile, mobile, interconnected world that we live in today. A world where video consumes 80% of all internet bandwidth, where half of the world’s population is on Facebook, and where almost every industry has been disrupted and changed forever by rapid advances in consumer technologies and behaviors.

The LMS is linearbut this generation doesn’t consume content in a linear way.

The LMS is top-downbut they exist in a world where content can be freely created and shared by anybody, anywhere. Why should learning be ‘managed’, anyway?

The LMS is bloated and labyrinthinebut they’re used to slick, pixel-perfect user interfaces and unbundled best-of-breed apps.

The LMS grew up on the desktopbut they grew up on mobile.

To put it bluntly, the traditional monolithic LMS is an anachronism in 2015 — and while the current generation of learners may be tolerating it for now, they won’t for much longer.

And in the knowledge economy, with increasingly fierce competition for learners and for talent, this is a big problem. To compete in this new digital ecosystem, institutions and organizations need to start thinking beyond the traditional LMS.

They need to start encouraging and supporting the use of best-of-breed, tightly-focused learning applications.

They need to nurture this ecosystem by ‘planting and pruning’ learning applications over time, to ensure evolution and adaptivity in a rapidly changing world.

And they need to start building a cloud exostructure to support the agile, multi-platform online learning environment of the future.

Because the learning environment of the future isn’t a one-man band — it’s an orchestra.

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As a former educator now working in the technology industry, James is fascinated by the intersection of consumer and educational technology. He is an Apple Distinguished Educator, a published author on the topic of mobile and media-based learning, and currently works at MediaCore, where he helps the world's leading universities and companies transform learning with online and mobile media.