The recently published JISC report on IMS Learning Design by Sandy Britain makes interesting reading. The institutional question is which of the different software approaches to take? They don’t seem to be either complementary nor similar, which does not allow for easy evaluation routes.
1) There is LAMS, which promisses to go Open Source in Feb 2005 or so, and which currently is the most sophisticated learning design tool available. It also has a simple and usable UI.
2) CopperCore looks promissing, but is a background engine tying tools together in a type of timeline scenario. Unlike LAMS it is IMS LD compliant, however, it is not a user tool.
3) Then there is EduBox which has just been married with Blackboard inc. Is IMS compliant, but commercial.
4) Reload is perhaps the best hope for a tool that is IMS compliant and user friendly, we have to wait and see.
What I don’t want to find ourselves in is a situation where we locked our learning design in a tool like LAMS and then can’t change, or we use CopperCore but it does not integrate with the tools we have, or we try EduBox and have to pay loads of money.
For some time we have been searching for the pedagogic model and instructional design (ID) to underpin our e-learning architecture. I decided to now use Robert Gagne’s model because it categorises learning outcomes and instructional activities in a way where it can be implemented across different disciplines with relative ease and with little training.
Gagne’s conditions of learning will form the basis to our software developments, staff development and creation of learning materials and learning objects.
I recently tried CITRIX which we currently pilot in my institution to provide a common set of applications to a distributed user group. Once I got it to log me in, it worked really well. It provided me with a shortcut to Word, Excel, and Powerpoint, but the best thing was actually the desktop it provided.
On the desktop, we can provide the most common applications such as Adobe Acrobat or MS Office. Because they run on the server side, they are blazingly fast, and can be updated easily and regularly centrally which makes the roll-out of upgrades or new network wide applications quick, thorough, and easy.
The desktop maps to your own local drives so it feels like your own computer. Even on a dial-up modem some applications work faster through CITRIX than accessing them from the desktop! Brilliant.