Talking about Learning Management System (LMS) or Content Management System (CMS) in higher education is a bit of a hit in a glass wall. You see where you want to go but for some reason you can’t reach a common point.
Many popular LMS / CMS today offer what it seems to be a similar gamut of features and tools. EduTools does a great job by letting you select which LMS vendor you’d like to compare and finally produces a comparison spreadsheet http://www.edutools.info/provider_list.jsp?pj=8.
The Instructional Technology Council (ITC) published a survey on elearning at Community Colleges page demonstrating WebCT and Blackboard still leading stats in LMS costumers in 2007.
There are two levels of expectations that I believe at some point they coincide but at many other instances they grow apart greatly.
Faculty = non-tech savvies expect simplicity; more experienced online members expect a greater range of possibilities; some others just need a usable gradebook and better tools to “control” their students’ performance.
Institutional = assessment numbers that bring great stats, a good support plan in case of external hosting (including ticket responses of 1 hr max)…
In-home Technical Team = power of influence on the vendor’s development team and a easy to use course migration tool. Among others…
Greeks and trojans are hard to please at the same time. However, at this point, is it worth to ask: what is it really that we look for in an LMS? what is minimal requirement?
I worked on comparing Angel, Blackboard and Moodle. There are many ways to look at LMS’s whether through the eyes of a programmer, developer, faculty, instructional designer, student and so forth.
I looked at it under a mix of three perspectives: a course developer who has four years of experience with instructional design, and that seeks to support faculty’s work with their online courses by meeting their needs – needs only and not so much on wishes. Because we wish many things but keeping it suitable to our needs is reasonable – and usable.
I came up with this comparison grid. This only reflects a personal experience with each LMS. It’s not official, and I’ve never been hired for doing this type of comparison. Here’s the PDF >> angelblackboardmoodle_lmscomparison
I’m currently working on a new comparison spreadsheet putting Moodle, Sakai, Blackboard, Desire2Learn and Epsilen.
As usual, Pearson is the most difficult to get demo accounts and so I gave up on them.