Education Technology Trends - Part II - LMS and LCMS, Education Marketplaces

Janet Wagner, Data Journalist / Full Stack Developer
Aug. 23 2013, 08:00AM EDT

This is the second post of a three part series covering recent trends and developments in Education Technology. Check out the first part here.

This post features information about Learning Management Systems (LMS), Learning Content Management Systems (LCMS), and Education Marketplaces.

LMS and LCMS Platforms

There are currently no standardized LMS industry definitions for Learning Management Systems (LMS) and Learning Content Management Systems (LCMS). However, there are common features that LMS and LCMS platforms will often include.

Learning Management Systems (LMS) allow organizations to develop web-based training programs and educational coursework, manage class registrations and rosters, provide distance education, provide methods of testing and assessments, and to implement other e-learning features.

Learning Content Management Systems (LCMS) include many of the same features as Learning Management Systems. However, Learning Content Management Systems are more complex platforms and focus on the creation, development and management of content for online and web-based courses. Learning Content Management Systems also feature a learning object repository which is a searchable digital library containing learning materials and metadata.

Here are a few examples of LMS and LCMS platforms that provide developers programmatic access to their education technology or platforms.

LMS Platforms

Schoology

Schoology is a learning management solution that focuses on collaboration and connectivism. Platform features include unique course pages, aggregated calendars, workload planning, audio/video recording, and many other LMS features.

Schoology currently offers an Apps Building Platform as well as a Schoology API. The Schoology API can be used by developers to create third-party applications and to integrate existing systems with the Schoology Platform.

Blackboard

Blackboard provides a variety of education technology platforms including Blackboard Collaborate, Blackboard Engage and Blackboard Mobile. The Blackboard platform makes it possible to create MOOCs for K-12, higher learning institutions, professional, corporate, and government organizations.

There is a Blackboard Collaborate API available that developers can use to integrate the platform with an existing LMS, CMS and other systems.

Moodle

Moodle is an open source platform used to create and manage web-based courses. Moodle also provides a selection of free educational courses and templates that can be imported into the platform via Moodle.net.

Moodle features a suite of Core APIs that can be used by developers to create Moodle Plugins.

Education Marketplaces

A fairly recent development in education technology, education marketplaces are platforms, websites or applications that provide a "marketplace" of free and/or commercial educational resources such as video and audio lectures, digital text books, educational articles and worksheets.

Many MOOC and LMS platforms provide access to vast collections of educational materials and resources. However, Education Marketplaces are generally standalone platforms and are not necessarily associated with any specific MOOC or LMS platforms.

Examples of Education Marketplaces include iTunes U, YouTube EDU and OpenCurriculum.

iTunes U

iTunes U was launched back in 2007 and is a section of the iTunes Store which provides free educational content such as video and audio lectures, digital books and presentations. Content is provided to iTunes U by top educational institutions including Stanford University, Duke University and MIT.

Eddy Cue, Apple Senior Vice President of Internet Software and Services, commented in the press release announcing the launch that:

"iTunes U makes it easy for anyone to access amazing educational material from many of the country’s most respected colleges and universities. Education is a lifelong pursuit and we’re pleased to give everyone the ability to download lectures, speeches and other academic content for free."

Although there are some limitations, iTunes U data can be accessed using the iTunes Store API.

YouTube EDU

YouTube EDU is a section of YouTube that provides educational videos on a variety of subjects including Science, Engineering, Math, History and many other subjects. Content available at YouTube EDU includes short lessons, full courses, professional development material, and speeches by industry leaders.

The YouTube API can be used by developers to programmatically access YouTube EDU Categories, Courses and Lectures. There is detailed documentation available on accessing YouTube EDU content via the YouTube API.

OpenCurriculum

OpenCurriculum is a non-profit technology initiative established in 2010 to help "ensure access to high-quality K-12 education opportunities for every single child in the world."

OpenCurriculum announced the launch of the OpenCurriculum Platform in August 2013, a brand new online educational collaboration platform that combines features of social media platforms, online marketplaces, and open-source software to create an "Amazon-like Marketplace" of free educational materials.

The new platform allows K-12 students access to "Over 10,000 resources" free to download which includes educational articles, videos, audio, worksheets, and more. The platform allows users to generate and collaborate on new textbook content as well as share content with other OpenCurriculum users.

The platform also features a fast search feature and one-click import of materials from other platforms such as Dropbox, Gmail, and Google Drive.

There is an OpenCurriculum API that is currently in closed Beta. However, OpenCurriculum will be opening the API to a select group of developers soon. Developers interested in using the API can apply for an early developer invitation.

The Next Post

The next and final post of this three-part series features information about adaptive learning technology and integration with legacy systems.

Janet Wagner Janet is a data journalist and full stack developer based in Toledo, Ohio. Her focus revolves around APIs, data visualization, machine learning, and data-driven journalism. Follow her on Twitter: @webcodepro and on Google+

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