The Digital LMS Future

The doomsayers in the LMS marketplace say that the corporate LMS as it stands today will be dead in five years. German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche made a similar pronouncement once—admittedly not about the LMS marketplace.

As we saw in the survey conducted by the Elearning Guild and Adobe Systems, the LMS is still viable but will have to evolve to survive.

While corporate dissatisfaction with online learning remains high, there are many bright spots to focus on in the future of LMS development.

And it turns out that academic practitioners really do have something to teach their business colleagues.

The academic catchphrase, unfortunately, is another acronym that will probably evaporate faster than a water droplet on a summer sidewalk.

Okay, here goes: NGDLE, which to the uninitiated means Next General Digital Environment. Is this just another example of smoke-and-mirrors? Not really.

The standard LMS, which for many remains a platform for delivering discreet content with performance tracking, is slowly evolving into a dynamic system with custom applications involving a cross-disciplinary approach.

An example of NGDLE would be the gamification of learning. The concept was trialled at James Cook University in northern Queensland, Australia in a difficult bioscience course that encompasses various health disciplines.

The results of that trial are going to be released soon in an academic publication authored by Associate Professor Dr Katja Fleischmann and colleague Ellen Ariel.

The two brokered the development of a web-based tool to help bioscience students understand a complicated assaying process called ELISA (Linked Immunosorbent Assay. The ELISA test is designed to detect specific antigens from a virus like Dengue Fever, The process involves many steps with chemical re-agents and interpretations of screening results that can frustrate students who have a difficult time visualising meaningful results and processes.

The project involved the cooperation of designers, IT and content specialists to build a digital prototype to be used for a year.

Students were given a choice to “play” ELISA or access information about the process before playing. Those who decided to play the ELISA game could go through the process digitally, reset the results, and practice again before applying that knowledge to the lab-based enzyme process.

The results told the story. Most of the students who played the ELISA game found it useful and the overwhelming majority said it accurately reflected the real test.

Remember: This is an example of highly complex learning aided by digital design and execution.

The digital future of the LMS? Count on it.

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