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Exploring and Building Open [Source] Software for Learning Ecosystems

EXPERIENCE DESIGN / EDUCATION / MULTI-DEVICE / GRAV CMS

In a recent discussion the question of how a traditional LMS implementation compares to a flipped LMS was asked. Here are my initial thoughts so far, based on my experiences with several institutional LMSs and using the flat-file CMS Grav in a flipped-LMS approach:

So, why would course facilitators want to utilize a flipped-LMS approach?

Here are three primary reasons that come to mind:

  • To support pedagogical goals unmet by current LMS/platform
  • To increase capability of access, sharing and collaboration
  • To deliver a better student (and facilitator) e...

One of the (many) great things about using the open source CMS Grav for a flipped-LMS approach is that no database is required, which makes running a local copy of Grav on your computer for testing purposes a very straightforward process. This also makes deployment to a Web server a breeze - just a simple folder copy.

But first, what does the term ‘flat-file CMS’ mean? In a nutshell, content is stored as individual text files rather than in a database.

While I’ve been using the term learner experience (LX) design myself for several years, I am finding it more and more problematic.

Too often people think of learner experience design separate from, or a subset of, user experience design, but this is misleading and certainly not what I have found the situation to be. Learner experience design also assumes the audience in question are just learners, which is not the case either (they are people with goals to accomplish).

Key learner experience design goals:

  • Engaging
  • Convenient
  • Organized
  • Relevant
  • Enjoyable

I am excited to be presenting my approach of a Flipped-LMS at Simon Fraser University’s DEMOFest 2015 on November 24th.

Here is the description of my session:

Flipping the LMS: Benefits and Lessons Learned of Using an Alternative Front-end to Canvas

Let’s be honest, as course facilitators we want to deliver the best possible online learner experience but at the same time make our own experience as convenient as possible. LMSs, such as Canvas, provide some great pedagogical elements but often fall short when it comes to such things as streamlined course updates, content reuse, easy customization, and providing a truly open platform. The solution? Flip the LMS!

A flipped-LMS approach is where an open platform, in the control of instructors and students, serves as an alternative front-end to the institutional LMS.

With this approach, instructors can create better outcomes and experiences for students and themselves today. Deep-links to any needed LMS elements (i.e. assignment submissions, discussion forums, grades, etc.) with flow-through for user authentication is the only back-end requirement.

Desired qualities of a flipped-LMS approach:

  • Open (Platform + Data)
  • Collaborative
  • Choice (Instructor/Student)
  • Pliable
  • Networked