1924 – 2012: LMS Evolution [Diagram]

LMS may seem like a new concept, but its evolution spans way back to 1924… yes.. the roaring 20s. This graphic shows the lifespan of LMS to what we have today, including the birth of SCORM (and its evolution). So enjoy, and thank you to MindFlash for creating this little diagram for our pleasure.

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Justin Ferriman is the co-founder and CEO of LearnDash, the WordPress LMS trusted by the world's leading organizations, such as the University of Michigan, Digital Marketer, WPEngine, and Infusionsoft. Justin has made a career as an elearning consultant where he has implemented large-scale training programs for Fortune 500 companies. Twitter | LinkedIn

One Comment
  1. This is fairly accurate synopsis. I apologize for seeming negative with my comments, but do feel inclined to point out some finer points where the presentation combines history of media delivery with history of distance learning in what is titled as “history of learning management.”

    A Learning Management System or Learning Platform embodies more than just instructional content delivery. It provides at a minimum, infrastructure and support for (Pilgerstorfer, 2005):
    • Presenting learning content
    • Tools for creating exercises
    • Tracking course/student progress,
    • Communication (peer-instructor & peer-peer communication,
    • Student assessment, and
    • Administration and control of the learning process.

    1. The LMS Evolution [Diagram] confounds several different segments and components of distance learning as if they are all a subset of a Learning Management System.
    a. Advances in technology (Radio, TV, PCs, Internet, etc.) relate to the medium of distance learning, not the management of it.
    b. The teaching machines were programmed instruction (required no instructor), but incorporated no management functions. Again, an example of instructional delivery medium only.

    2. Project Athena almost seems to be a forerunner of an LMS concept in the diagram; however, it was more accurately a forerunner of university networks. This makes it huge step forward in the evolution of networking and resource sharing, which many other concepts (including LMS) would later build upon. “Athena provides a bridge between the two familiar extremes of stand-alone personal computers and timesharing machines (Athena history, n.d.).

    3. Although some vendors (e.g. ILIAS 3) attempt to combine the two separate functions, another confounding of terms is the interchange of LMS and CMS (Content Management Systems). CMS only focuses on:
    a. Creation and administration of content
    b. Presentation and publication
    c. Content-syndication ore exchange of learning material (Reusable Learning Objects, and SCORM)

    4. The presentation on the evolution of LMS also ignores the early days of distance learning prior to computers (correspondence courses), which required some aspect of learning management. The transition from correspondence to Radio/TV delivery also included a transition away from any learning management for most applications in favor of quick delivery. Later, the transition to Internet-hosted delivery/access witnessed the return attempts to manage the student progress, completion, and assessment. This was no doubt in response to the parallel evolution of Instruction Design theory and standards of practice (Lee & Owens, 2004; Mayer, 2005; Rothwell & Kazanas, 2008; Smith & Ragan, 2005).

    References
    Athena history (1983 – present) from A to Z. (n.d.). Retrieved from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Website: http://web.mit.edu/acs/athena.html
    Lee, W. W., & Owens, D. L. (2004). Multimedia-based instructional design. San Francisco, CA: Wiley & Sons. 9780787970697.
    Mayer, R. E. (2005). The Cambridge handbook of multimedia learning. Santa Barbara, CA: Cambridge University Press. 9780521547512.
    Pilgerstorfer, M. (2005). Learning platforms. Current Issues in Technology Enhanced Learning. Retrieved from http://web.mit.edu/acs/athena.html
    Rothwell, W. J., & Kazanas, H. C. (2008). Mastering the instructional design process: A systematic approach (4th ed.). San Francisco, CA: Pfeiffer. ISBN: 9780787996468.
    Smith, P. L., & Ragan, T. J. (2005). Instructional design (3rd ed.). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley. ISBN: 9780471393535.

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