The LMS is dead, not unlike God: thoughts on the NGDLE

By Jim Groom

I have been talking a bit about the EDUCAUSE Next Generation Digital Learning Environment (NGDLE) paper from 2015 in my talks recently as one possible vision of how loosely coupled publishing platform connecting various toll could be one way to imagine the power of what Kin Lane defines as the Personal API, which frames the importance of getting individuals more control over who and what has access to their online data. The learning management system (LMS or VLE in the UK) remains central to the future of the NGDLE despite our best efforts and judgement, and there is a lot of promising thinking around decoupling the pieces, looking at more cohesive integrations through LTIs and APIs, and generally acknowledging there may be life after the LMS, which for many of us who have been waiting for any such sign for 15+ years—that alone is almost enough. The bar is very low in edtech.

I’m pretty tired of LMS bashing; it has pretty much run its course. I still enjoy it from time to time, but I don’t get nearly the thrill I once did back in 2008 or so. Now it’s just kinda depressing. In fact, Leigh Blackall’s recent post on the process of adopting the LMS Canvas at his University captures this pretty well. How long have we been saying this? These discussions make me feel long in the tooth, as do most things in edtech these days. In fact, I was pleasantly surprised by Keegan Long-Wheeler’s presentation at Domains17 wherein he adeptly demonstrated how you can do use LTI integrations from within Canvas. It is premised on two simple tools SSL (via Let’s Encrypt) and Canvas’s redirect tool. The idea being a faculty member can effectively integrate all sorts of small pieces loosely joined cohesively through the LMS.

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