As I continued reading Martin Weller’s 25 Years of Ed Tech, I assumed the subsequent chapters covering the noughties would discuss technologies I was more familiar with – I was surprised to discover this was not the case. While I didn’t live entirely under a rock during that time, the technologies I didn’t know outnumbered those I did, and even with the ones I did know, I don’t think I’ve ever considered their use in education. Despite this, I have had experience with the learning management system.
My first experience with a learning management system was in 2015 when I worked for the municipal government in Calgary. I worked for the department that managed training and development programs related to software and technologies used by internal employees. One of my first projects was to create an online user manual for the new corporate Moodle LMS. An in-house developed course registration system had been used in previous years that allowed users to perform basic functions such as creating courses, registering for courses, and recording attendance. Much like what Weller (2020) says, “…when a new technology arrives, it tends to be used in old ways before its unique characteristics are recognized” (p. 64), the Moodle LMS was used for the same basic functions as the previous system. While many other features were available, they were not turned on – the idea was to that more features (e.g. SCORM) would be added in future deployments. While a few users inquired about other features, most users were unaware of what Moodle could really do.
Sadly, a couple of years after I left that department, I learned the Moodle LMS was no longer being used. I don’t know what it was replaced with, or the reasons for its demise, but I imagine Weller’s (2020) explanation of how “one of the issues with enterprise systems such as the LMS is that they require significant investment in terms of finance, expertise, time, and resources” (p. 65) seems to ring true.
I suppose the lesson here would be to explore why the LMS didn’t work – was the City not ready for it or was the wrong approach taken? While corporate LMSs exist, was it simply that we picked the wrong one? At any rate, I think back to all the work that put into getting it off the ground and can’t help but feel it was all in vain.
Weller, M. (2020). 25 Years of Ed Tech. Athabasca University Press.