Wednesday, 27 February 2008

LMS, CMS time for a merger?

Recently i have been playing around with LMS (Learning Management Systems), this is a way cool technology, and a whole ecosystem has grown up around authoring, editing and presenting courseware. 

My main interest is in providing LMS capabilities inside an existing Portal application, hence i have been looking at how to integrate an LMS system and a conventional Portal/CMS system. 

Having come from the publishing industry, i'm quite comfortable with the conventional view of publishing, articles, listings and other media. But my foray into the LMS side of things has shown me that there is a whole wealth of other content types that are not the traditional "flat" content. Working with an LMS and the courseware authoring systems, has opened my eyes to the fact that content should be capable of being active. 

I think the reason why we don't see more interactive content is there is a lack of embeddable "runtime" components for interactive content. Sure we have flash etc, but they are more production tools, and don't provide the standards and rich ecosystem  required for interactive content exchange. Flash essentially locks the content down to a singular presentation format, and does not offer the interchange capabilities that would allow the same interactive content to be rendered adaptively.  Flash is essentially similar in concept to PDF which again locks down the interaction and presentation models. 

In the LMS world there are a number of emerging standards for "packaging" courseware, one of which is SCORMS. Most OSS and commercial systems now support it as an interchange format for interactive learning material, its rapidly becoming the ".doc" format of learning content. 

I'll be writing more as i explore this space in the coming weeks, so stay tuned..... 

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