Stephen Downes: why pay for an LMS (MLE)?

Stephen Downs is a respected thinker in the world of e-learning, and he’s been around it long enough to see an awful lot of money get wasted. Today he gave a talk to the Australian College of Educators and the Australian Council of Educational Leaders in which he challenged the value of wrapping up digital content inside proprietary MLEs.

And if the sales representative comes to you and tries to sell you an LMS [UK translation: MLE] or (worse) an LCMS, ask them why you have to pay them so much money for something the web and web browsers do for free.

If the sales representative tries to sell you online course and lessons, ask them whether it supports random access so students can use it when they want, even if they’re not at school, or ask them where you can access the dynamic feed with daily updated content, or how easy it is to place images from the course content in your blog.

Well, Paperless School is a proprietary MLE, so at first I felt a bit defensive. But then I actually ran a check against the tests that he proposes

why you have to pay them so much money for something the web and web browsers do for free

The Paperless School system is free. What we actually charge for is certain services within it, such as auto-marking. We charge for those on a per-student basis.

ask them whether it supports random access so students can use it when they want, even if they’re not at school

Absolutely yes. It’s hosted on our global server; anywhere you can access the internet, you can access Paperless School.

ask them where you can access the dynamic feed with daily updated content

Here’s the RSS feed for our ICT Encyclopedia, used in our GCSE Applied ICT course and soon to be used in other ICT courses.

how easy it is to place images from the course content in your blog

There’s no dastardly copy protection in Paperless School. Just copy and paste.

It’s worth reading the whole speech.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s