History of the LMS | LearnDash

Justin Ferriman provides commentary on a Synotive infographic on the history of the LMS, noting a couple of omissions. I think there are dozens if not hundreds of omissions, though nice to see a couple of shout-outs to Athabasca University and our own Rory McGreal. Did Rory really design a DOS-based LMS? You learn something new every day, even about old friends! Not to mention about operating systems: I know that it was possible to network DOS computers – I did it quite a lot – but I’m not sure it would be fair to describe anything built on the back of that as an LMS.

For me, the big missing chunks are mostly in the 1990s, which was an extremely prolific time for things like VLEs, MLEs and LMSs, with most of the major commercial players like Blackboard, WebCT, Lotus LearningSpace, Desire2Learn creating products back then, not to mention a huge range of concurrent and prior things like (say) FirstClass, Bodington, WOLF, CECIL, Web-Course-in-a-Box, and many many more. Even I helped to write an LMS in the 90s – everyone was doing it back then. Then there are all those interesting open source projects like ILIAS and DOKEOS, and somehow the infographic manages to include Sakai but not OKI (that Sakai’s component LMSs all used and that made it easy to bring them together). And where did all those MOOs go? Hard to miss what was then a big movement. And of course the wealth of standards that go unmentioned (where is IMS in this?), things like PLEs, beyond-LMS systems like Elgg, etc. etc. And there’s a chunk between 2007 and 2013 that includes the odd ‘minor’ event like Instructure Canvas or EdX. I could go on. Looks to me like they have no idea about the real history of it at all. Infographics are seductive things, making poorly researched weakly linked randomly chosen events culled from Wikipedia look like a believable story.

Address of the bookmark: http://www.learndash.com/history-of-the-lms/

I am a professional learner, employed as a Full Professor at Athabasca University, where I research lots of things broadly in the area of learning and technology and teach mainly in the School of Computing & Information Systems, of which I am the Chair. I am married, with two grown-up children, and live in beautiful Vancouver.

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