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LMS and Moodle

The Learning Management System (LMS)

Perhaps the most broadly known and certainly the linchpin component of the architecture is the LMS. Originally conceived against a virtual school analogy, the LMS is effectively an online system for facilitating the process of teaching-learning including access to resources, assessments, grades, teacher-student and student-community communications and so on.

LMSs are complex, feature rich and highly commoditised in the sense that the feature set is well 'understood' in the market. The LMS also emerged and reached maturity as a system in the 1990s quite quickly with most being developed by dedicated software vendors rather than being developed in-house by the user institutions themselves. This contributed to the rapid commoditisation as the requirements were distilled across the industry instead of from specific institutions alone. Commoditisation has also meant that Open Source developers have been able to subsequently and rapidly enter the market and compete perhaps more effectively than the original proprietary software development companies.

Although originally conceived as stand-alone systems, LMSs are not whole-of-business systems. For example, they do not manage content effectively but are rather 'content dumb'. Neither do they handle the complexities of student records management with the detail generally required. They also do not as yet contain many teaching-learning tools at a level of sophistication similar to other specialist systems.

LMSs therefore need to be deployed in an integrated partnership with other systems that manage other aspects of the business of Education.

Leading examples of LMSs include the Open Source Moodle and Sakai, and the proprietary Blackboard and Desire2Learn systems amongst many others. Blackboard remains the most popular in the US.


Moodle, which is one of the most powerful and most usable, is perhaps the most popular on a worldwide basis and continues a meteoric rise in popularity. COPHE and COPHE's Educational Technology partner Androgogic prefers to deploy Moodle as it is Open Source, has a vibrant development community, integrates relatively well with other systems in the architecture and is popular amongst trainers, teachers and students alike. Androgogic has also been actively developing Moodle for 8 years and has a track record including more than 100 Moodle installations installed, hosted and supported, and a long list of successful integrations and customisations and has found Moodle to be very effective at achieving the needs of the broad range of educational institutions it works with,