A Comparative Study on LMS Interoperability

A Comparative Study on LMS Interoperability

José Paulo Leal (CRACS/INESC-Porto & DCC/FCUP, University of Porto, Portugal) and Ricardo Queirós (CRACS/INESC-Porto & DI/ESEIG/IPP, Porto, Portugal)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-0011-9.ch804
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A Learning Management System (LMS) plays an important role in any eLearning environment. Still, the LMS cannot afford to be isolated from other systems in an educational institution. Thus, the potential for interoperability is an important, although frequently overlooked, aspect of an LMS system. In this chapter we make a comparative study of the interoperability features of the most relevant LMS in use nowadays. We start by defining a comparison framework, with systems that are representative of the LMS universe, and interoperability facets that are representative of the type integration with other broad classes of eLearning systems. For each interoperability facet we categorize and identify the most representative remote systems, we present a comprehensive survey of existing standards and we illustrate with concrete integration scenarios. Finally, we draw some conclusions on the status of interoperability in LMS based on our study.
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Lms Evolution

The evolution of eLearning in the last decades has staggering, from the early monolithic systems developed for specific learning domains to new systems featuring reusable tools that can be effectively used virtually in any eLearning course. These types of systems evolved from Content Management Systems (CMS). The CMS was introduced in the mid-1990s mostly by the online publishing industry. This type of system can be defined as a data repository that also includes tools for authoring, aggregating and sequencing content. The main goal of these tools is to simplify the creation and administration of online content (Nichani, 2009). CMS are focused on content with the main purpose to store information and provide access to it. CMS content is organized in small self-contained pieces of information to improve reusability at the content component level. These content components when used in the learning domain are called “learning objects” (LO) and the systems that manage them are called Learning Content Management Systems (LCMS).

Nowadays, an LMS plays a central role in any eLearning architecture and can be defined as software application for the administration, documentation, tracking, reporting of training programs, classroom and online events, and training content (Ellis, 2009). Typically it is used by two types of users’ groups: learners and teachers. The learners can use the LMS to plan their learning experience and to collaborate with their colleagues; the teachers can deliver educational content and track, analyze and report the learner evolution within an organization. There are open source systems, such as Moodle, Sakai, .LRN or Dokeos, and commercial systems such as WebCT/Blackboard or Desire2Learn.

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