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Choosing a suitable MLE

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Started by Monika Kern 25 Mar 2012 12:31pm () Replies (29)

Hi there, I'm fairly new to VLN but trying hard to get up to speed :)

I work at a Decile 1 Intermediate in the Far North. I would like to run my computing class web based, and advice in a different group was to look at moodle or similar. The MoE website lists three providers for MLEs, KnowledgeNET, Ultranet and Moodle. We have also received information from a 'new to NZ' firm offering EduSpot.

How do we choose the most suitable MLE??? Money is an issue (goes without saying). Any advice would be MUCH appreciated!!!!!


By the way, EduSpot run a webinar on Wednesday 28 March 12:00

Link: https://promo-manager.server-secure.com/ch/7360/r9nb4m/484293/3a1199zcm.html

Meeting Number: 620 618 844

Meeting Password: eduspot

Many thanks in advance, Monika


  • Darren (View all users posts) 26 Mar 2012 2:22pm ()

    Hi Monica,

    Your school is roughly 200 students so do you even need an LMS?  And if so why not share an LMS across schools.  More cost effective and opens up interesting possibilities on the collaboration front.

    The reality is google apps will do everything you need and more, without any huge costs involved (all that would go into professional learning).  As a long time user of Moodle and google apps, the only reason I persist with Moodle for an online space is that I teach fully online classes (i.e. no face to face) and the ability to track student participation is very useful.  Otherwise it would be all google apps and other web 2.0 technology.

    So my advice is to either share an LMS across schools or just leave them to the big schools and go with google apps.


  • Darren (View all users posts) 26 Mar 2012 3:31pm ()

    We have had this discussion before in another forum Chris.  Unfortunately, because you work for a provider you have a vested interest in making sure an LMS is seen as something worth investing in.  My advice to Monica comes purely from a teacher pespective (I am not selling anything) and unfortunately I'm not sure your advice can be treated in the same way.  You are right though, roll doesn't come into it.  No school needs an LMS.

    All the functions you listed can be performed by google apps and in many ways better than any LMS I have used (and I have used most, including Ultranet).  And all that comes at a cost of domain hosting, which is a pittance.

    Our schools have enough of a struggle with resourcing without wasting it on things they don't actually need.  I have no problem with those schools who have an LMS, but Monica was after some advice and I have given it.  Happy to continue the conversation in private if you would like.

  • Darren (View all users posts) 29 Mar 2012 11:32am ()

    A lot of wisdom in there Nick, but I am going to challenge you on a couple of fronts.

    Once again the assumption here is that this school and schools in general need an LMS and that simply isn't true.  If we base our actions purely on the needs of learners (including teachers) what are we actually trying to do at the end of all this?  Surely this is about ubiquitous learning.  Being able to learn no matter where you are.  The implications of this sort of learning for schools is enormous, because it challenges the very foundations of the traditional model of schooling.  Why do we want to recreate our schools as little (or big for some) silos online when we can do things so much differently and for the benefit of our learners.

    There is no need for one school to invest in a server to host "in house" as you say.  We here have an online environment (Modle and Mahara) that runs across around 30-40 schools.  Each uses it to a different extent, but all they need to invest in is developing one or two people to act as admins and the rest goes to developing teacher capacity.

    I would challenge Monika to go back to school leadership and say  - why don't we do this dffierently?  How could we work with other schools in our region, rather than try and do all this "in house"?  All it takes is some initiative and leadership.

    And if all else fails they already have google apps for education, which while not an LMS will  allow the development of online spaces, rich collaboration, ePortfolios, blogging, the ability for learners to social network or connect online.  What else do you need?   All the school needs to do is develop teacher capacity on the learning front and a couple on the admin front.

    One of our schools, Akaroa Area School (160 students) does everything using google apps for education.  Where a teacher or two want to travel the LMS route they can with the CantaNet environment, but otherwise the needs of their learners are perfectly met with what they have.  

    It is all about developing teacher capacity in taking learning online any way.  The tools don't actually matter - but the teaching and learning does.  I hear endless debate about which LMS is better and that schools need to consider their choice carefully. Not true in my opinion (and that is all it is).  There is no single LMS that is more suited to a certain group of learners (teachers as well) than another.  Just get the learning online and examine the pedagogy.  That is what makes the difference, not the choice of tool.

    Anyway, as I said why not work with other schools?  The N4L is going to challenge us to do this anyway.  Well I hope it does.

  • Darren (View all users posts) 29 Mar 2012 1:05pm ()

    It is externally hosted and managed with two main admins and then admins based at a school level where needed.  The uptake is variable as I said, but school readiness for a blended approach to learning is variable as well.  It at least provides an easy way for schools to launch into things.

    There are negatives with a shared environment.  Many schools use an LMS to get a lot of admin online and it is more difficult to do that with a shared environment.  I would argue that a content management system (sorry to throw another term at you Monika) is better served to do that.  Some schools also like to brand and again that is difficult in a shared environment.  Does it really matter though?  The positives outweigh the negatives in my opinion.

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