For episode No. 177, long-standing EdTech podcast The Pulse (unaffiliated with us) reproduced a panel discussion from the USciences eLearning 3.0 Conference, hosted by the University of the Sciences in Philadelphia on May 14th.
The panel featured Blackboard’s Ryan McDonald and D2L’s Kenneth Chapman. Both companies sponsored the corporate-filled event and were present at the “The Future of Learning Platforms: Perspectives from LMS Vendors” session along with Ben Moriarty from lesser known Strut Learning.
Here are the questions and answers from the panel. It is on the audience members, listeners and readers to judge how “loaded” the questions and how self-serving the answers were.
How will the LMS look like in 5 years?
Blackboard — However the LMS is supposed to look like today varies from person to person, and there’s no expectation of a future where the interface is unified. Blackboard users who moved to their cloud counterpart were surprised at the many unexpected differences.
Going forward, however, he expects many factors to have an effect across the diversity. Blackboard expects Analytics and LMS Data to become one such driver, although McDonald hopes users lean on Blackboard Data rather than Instructure’s Dig.
Strut — Moriarty introduces the Data Science buzzword of Data Lakes, which he believes “will dramatically change” the face of the LMS. Strut’s face, he adds, is pretty unrecognizable already.
D2L — There will be radical attempts, but Chapman is tempered about the average user’s experience. There will be some refinements, but PowerPoint isn’t going anywhere.
There could be, however, successful trajectories, likely based on an insightful blend of technology and pedagogy, usable and with tangible benefits. If properly spread and understood, these trajectories could bring real disruption.
Will Instructional Design (and Designers) gain more relevance?
D2L — If anything, they will be more prominent across learning teams.
Chapman acknowledges his, but actually no LMS offers good enough experiences for Instructional Designers. Tools for design, planning, project management or weaving data and indicators into a course or activity.
In short, the LMS is missing the mark as an Instructional Design technology.
Blackboard — The “back and forth” will gain more relevance.
Data has been touted as a gamechanger for a decade. What is going on? And how will data privacy factor in?
D2L — The “LMS Data feedback loop” hasn’t been closed. The links aren’t clear.
Blackboard — People were recognizing the importance, but many factors have not allowed for an “LMS Data Trajectory.” But it is possible that the cloud, perhaps with Data Lakes, proves a more powerful sandbox. At this moment the industry is on a “massive move” to the cloud, so it might take some more time.
“It’s a cultural problem”
D2L — Interest about data might have increased but perhaps not at the pace of concerns and distrust. But these issues could be addressed through new messaging regarding new data features and, again, Data Lakes.
Strut — Proper understanding of the privacy framework and the issues at the EdTech team/company level is essential. A culture of privacy is an elementary ingredient for the understanding and trust that precedes a more fruitful use of data by the organization. EdTech companies need to embrace the idea that data belong to the institution/user, no one else. The LMS is the stewardess of Data.