Archives For CSLE

LMS Market Share
Source: State of Higher Ed LMS Market for US and Canada: Spring 2017 Edition

While this type of data may be useful to the newcomer to the Learning Management System (LMS) marketplace or it may even help an organization start their exploration of LMS options, to the long time LMS user this picture reminds us there really are very few options when it comes to creating online learning environments. Having used most of the major listed products I can confirm we really haven’t made much progress since those early days back in 1996-97 when the researchers at University of British Columbia (UBC) presented their groundbreaking idea for a Content/Course Management System (CMS) or what we now refer to as the LMS. I recall stating back then that the UBC system had great potential to enable us to use technology to enhance the learning…if we could focus on building learning environments, not just content delivery. I used all these LMS and a variety of institutions and have also dabbled in the “Other” or “Homegrown” space and confirm except for a very small handful of active learning innovators most institutions are using their LMS as content delivery systems. The feature lists have grown the interfaces have become more polished but we really are still just using these systems to collect, store, and deliver course content, give students online exams and provide convenient places for students to check their grades.

It also really doesn’t matter who has the biggest market share or who is growing the most because we have reached a saturation and consolidation point in the LMS industry comparable to the North American Pickup Truck market. All the LMS listed can be compared to pickups. Whether you prefer the Dodge Ram, the Ford F150, the Chevy Silverado, the Nissan Titan, or Toyota Tundra all these trucks will work great if you want to pick up and deliver stuff. Most choices are a matter of preference and personal experience with previous models. Similarly, all these LMS will work great to collect, store and deliver content…it is just a matter of familiarizing oneself with where the typical controls are located and then getting comfortable with the way the tool handles. If you want to do much more then just deliver the content you have look beyond the delivery vehicle to consider how you Create Significant Learning Environments and how you give your learners Choice Ownership and Voice through Authentic learning opportunities.

Read the full post…

Are you looking at the bigger picture or have you intellectually stepped far enough back to see the full learning environment? Consider the following video as you think about whether or not you are looking a the full picture:

If the youtube video wasn’t enough to help you consider the bigger picture and the importance of learning environments then consider this infographic:



The reason that it is so important for us as educators to look at the full learning environment is that when we take the time to do so we can actually make a difference in the way that the learning environment is designed. I have argued repeatedly for many years that whether we are purposeful in its design or we just allow the circumstances to dictate its development, educators at all levels are providing some form of learning environment. There are some aspects of the learning environment design that we may not have control over like standardized testing or learners demographics but there are so many other aspects of the the learning environment that we an control. So rather than allow the environment to come together on its own and respond reactively to the learning dynamics that arise I suggest that educators become proactive and create significant learning environments. If we start with a student centred approach and purposefully assemble all the key components of effective learning into a significant learning environment we can help our students to learn how to learn and grow into the people we all hope they will become.

Are you being proactive or reactive in the deign of your learning environment? What type of a learning environment are you creating?

More thoughts on Creating Significant Learning Environments

BHAGThe notion of a Big Hairy Audacious Goal (BHAG) was first introduced by Jim Collins back in 1994 in the book Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies. Collins and many others since have used the notion of a BHAG to help define a visionary type goal that is more strategic and emotionally compelling rather then being simply tactical.

While you don’t have explicitly to use the term BHAG in presenting your course goal you should use the focus of the BHAG in your design and development to ensure that your goal is strategic and emotionally compelling enough to speak to where you students will be after the course. The goal should focus more on who the students will be or become as a result of the course and not just focus on what they will be able to do.

Whenever you are using a backward design model and are working within an outcomes based education (OBE) framework a clear focus on who you want the learner to become at the end of the course will help you to clearly articulate the course outcomes—which should focus on what the learner needs to do to get achieve the BHAG.

A big enough but still achievable BHAG will also address a fundamental motivator that you need to consider when designing a learning environment—the why. As Simon Sinek argues, people aren’t interested in what they need to do as much as they are interested in why they need to do it. Addressing the why also address the fact that we are much more emotionally than rationally motivated and that the head won’t go where the heart hasn’t been.


BHAG [Online image]. Retrieved June 13, 2016 from

Collins, J. C., & Porras, J. 1994. Built to Last: successful habits of visionary companies. New York: HarperBusiness.

Sinek, S. (2009). Start with why: How great leaders inspire everyone to take action. Penguin.

The following was inspired by Seth Godin’s post “What king of customers do you want?

Do you want learners (students) who are:

Grade oriented
Learning focused
Easily distracted

Here’s the thing: you get what you reward. Your learners respond to the learning environment that you create. If you don’t purposefully build a learning environment that requires personal responsibilty, reinforces a growth mindset, and fosters a passion for deeper learning you end up with what you tolerate.

You might not get the learners you deserve, but you will probably end up with the learners you attract.

Sure, you can stick to traditional methods and make it easier for everyone by teaching to the test. But is it worth it?