Three Different LMS Alternatives (Part 3): Cloud-Based LMS

We are wrapping up this 3-part article series about the three LMS alternatives that institutions and enterprises can use for their e-Learning goals.

The first one was the Proprietary LMS that is created by a company for the purpose of earning from it. The second alternative is the Open-source LMS that is created by a community of programmers who are passionate about LMS software programs.

cloud basedThe third and final alternative is the most recent addition to this group: the Cloud-based LMS. This is practically a mash-up of the cloud-based services and tools that can be accessed by anyone via the Internet. The idea is to sort through a web-based “toolbox” that contains resources that will help the user build their own LMS. These resources are existing social networks, communication tools, document sharing and other media options that are all free and available online.

For instance, an instructor may use Twitter to inform students about upcoming lessons. They can utilize WordPress to create a website that will contain the content needed for the eLearning program. They can even go as raw as sharing with student the files in their Google Drive. For one on one lessons, Skype or Google Talk can be an option. Sharing of videos (YouTube) and photos (Flickr) can also be done through existing and popular platforms.

Cloud-based LMS have certain advantages that is more prominent compared to the first two alternatives.

  • Very cost efficient. Since most of the tools are free and available online, the LMS will not really cost anything. If there is any expense, it will be very minimal. The more advanced features will require extra cost of cours. But if you are content with the basic use of the cloud-based tools, then you might not spend on anything at all.
  • Large variety of tools to choose from. Depending on what is needed, the instructor can choose among the many tools online. Thanks to the advancements of technology, there is hardly anything that you will need that is not yet there. If there is a need without a tool just wait a moment and it will be there soon.
  • Familiar to both instructor and students. The great thing about these web-based tools is that they are popular and that means students are more than likely to be familiar with them.
  • More room for flexibility. The existing tools are large enough and is expected to continue to grow. Not only that, the variety allows flexibility. The array of tools does not need to be consistent. Tools can be removed or added as needed. And since this is cloud-based, it can be accessed anytime and anywhere.

While these may seem to be perfect for your LMS requirements, it also has a couple of imperfections.

  • Cloud-based tools are usually hosted in a server that is beyond the control of the instructor and the institution or enterprise that they are representing. This will make enrollment, assessments and grading systems difficult to secure.
  • Security issues are always on top of the concerns of any cloud-based tool. The same is true for the Cloud-based LMS. Both instructor and students have to be careful about the information they will share online.
  • Free tools often come with advertisements. Owners of tools that are used for free typically profit from advertisements. This is why the tools you will use might be bombarded with ads every now and then. It might be distracting and unprofessional.
  • Cloud-based tools may be popular but that does not imply that everyone knows them. Having to learn various tools to complete the learning program might be too much for some students.

Now that you have learned the different advantages and disadvantages of all LMS alternatives, which one will you choose? Remember that you have the option to use more than one alternative. It all depends on your specific requirement and how good the IT staff or instructors are in implementing them.

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