I think it's a good discussion point for everyone involved in Adapt to mention what they use or have experienced. Whilst working with Adapt for over 3 years now I've found nothing that works seamlessly (until now) from being in an LMS to accessing content and it's one of the reasons why Appitierre have built their own from the ground up based upon Adapt's philosophy of being pluggable, adaptive, responsive and easy to use. I work at Appitierre, but to try to be un-biased I'd like to comment on my experience with other LMS's and mention a new rumour of another LMS coming to the market.
Moodle: Moodle is great because it's free. It's not great because of it's user experience. It's configurations can sometimes seem backwards and completely not for a beginner. Free is great - when you need help a community member can help you out, if you need support it quickly becomes an expensive journey. Most of my clients who have come from a Moodle background and people I’ve spoken to a recent events have mentioned how they setup a Moodle but couldn't keep up with the support, maintenance, hosting and updates as they ran the install package off their hosting. They also complained heavily around the user experience and learners being lost.
If you're using Adapt content - it's important to remember that it doesn't support advanced tracking, responsive content has to be pushed into a new window (for me that loses the learners journey) and Moodle itself is not fully responsive (although I believe they are working on this).
I’m not against Moodle in anyway but it’s important to remember that there’s a few issues with content playing and support costs. Appitierre recently posted a blog post about the elephant in the room (developer costs around eLearning which you might like to read http://www.appitierre.com/blog/2015/07/30/the-adapt-learning-framework-and-the-elephant-in-the-room/ ).
Bloom: Bloom is a new LMS built by Appitierre. It was built with Adapt content in mind. Built fully responsive from the ground up and is capable of analysing advanced tracking data to help improve your courses for later/give a detail breakdown of how your learners are actually doing (instead of SCORM based data saying you’ve completed it). All Adapt plugins are able to store data and pass this back on load of a course meaning you can use some of Appitierre’s plugins below as well as the Open Source extensions:
"Book Shelf" - The ability to store Articles of content for later browsing or revision. Imagine storing a video or maths equation to watch/look at before an exam.
“Course Assessment” - A course wide assessment that enables any question in a course to count towards an assessment. This means not tying this to an Article and instead you’re able to analyse the learners journey with a built in analytics package.
“Notes” - Take notes during the course and retrieve them outside of Adapt in Bloom or during your course.
“Achievements” - Gamification elements baked into Adapt and Bloom enable you to engage the learner even further. Appitierre have points, stars, badges and lives, all are tracked across the whole system to create a coherent experience of gaining and achieving through learning.
“Assignments” - Enable the learner to upload/write an essay or long answer in Adapt without having to go back into the LMS. This has proven to be a valuable way of allowing learners more creative freedom from the standard yes/no, correct/incorrect feedback. Built into Bloom is a marking system that enables feedback and two way communication between Adapt and Bloom.
“Tags” - The start of filtered learning, tags enables learners, managers, teachers to gauge how a learner is doing based upon what types of content they answer correctly. This helps build profiles around the learner to know which types of content they like, what they know (competencies) and whether the current learning style is effective (maybe they like video or content based learning?). Appitierre are then able to adjust this for future reference.
Adapt is powerful and if you’re planning on using Adapt content exclusively (as it can take things like captivate videos) then Bloom is a good choice as it’s completely integrated with Adapt and it’s pluggable nature. If you have other content (tin-can/experience API or SCORM) then Bloom will also take this and present it in a responsive nature like other LMSs.
Bloom has a pluggable dashboard allowing flexibility by toggling a few JSON attributes. But the types of plugins you have are:
“My Communities” - A social platform for engaging your learners further through the use of posts, comments, likes, helpful tags and activities. Activities are special posts that enable the teacher/manager to set a task in a discussion and link courses and achievements - so when a course is completed it automatically gives the learners involved an achievement - imagine automatic certificates being handed out.
“Trails” - Learning paths with an end goal. Imagine setting a path for becoming a manager or web developer and seeing your staff/learners follow this path to achieve a final outcome.
“Timeline” - Enable course to be available at set times giving learners notifications when they are ending and starting to encourage learning/retention.
On a side note and if you want an integrated system with your LMS, content creator and content player then Appitierre also have an authoring tool to help with editing and importing straight into your LMS.
Totara: Built upon Moodle - so you still have a few of the issues I’ve mentioned above. However the companies involved have done a great job in cleaning up the frontend themes of Moodle and have also implemented a responsive theme. Both Learning Pool and Kineo use this as their main LMS. I know from working with the Learning Pool and Kineo teams that they have cleaned up a lot of the issues above. Support will come from one of the Totara Partners here: https://www.totaralms.com/partners so you’ll be in good hands in terms of support/updates or customisations.
Now for the new LMS coming to the market soon:
If you’re using Adobe Captivate, Adobe Presenter or Adobe Connect - well guess who’s releasing an LMS? You can read the blog post here:
So to sum it up and trying hard to not be biased. I would contact the LMS providers you’re interested in and ask for a demo. Ask them if they support responsive, multi-device content (possibly give them a zip of Adapt content and get them to put it in their system to see how it runs). You probably know what features you want and I think it’s always important to make sure it’s easy for the learners accessing the system.
Too many times I see the buyers of LMSs get caught up in the features list and instead don’t care about the learning experience or how the user is going to access the content. The statistics imply that learners are starting to access content from their mobile devices on the go - so make sure that you’re future proofed and go with something that is responsive and ready for any device.
Hope this helps in some way.
(Edited by Lucy Hodge - original submission Wednesday, 5 August 2015, 9:04 AM)