Selecting OS learning technology platforms

Dave Cormier has written a great article on selecting a content management system (CMS). Dave discusses three platforms, all of which I have used – WordPress, Moodle, Drupal. All are open source and there are a variety of hosting models available for most budgets. Like Dave, I’m not crazy about Moodle because it replicates the institutional course-centric education model, which I feel is outdated. I use a similar approach in initially analysing technology needs, succinctly stated by Dave:

I like to put CMSs into three simple categories based on the CMSs that I think of as being best of breed in the open market right now. Do you want to do a wordpress project, a moodle project or a drupal project. (you could also say ‘a project, a moodle hosted project or a ning project if you don’t care about controlling your data… which I do… but you may not)

I would add Elgg to mix if there is an interest in the functionality of Ning, but with the advantage of open source.

I used to use Drupal for this website but switched to WordPress a few years ago. Drupal is much too powerful to be running a simple blog like mine. Dave covers the pros and cons of these systems quite well in his post and I would recommend it to anyone considering platform selection. Yes, it can get much more complicated, but looking at these three for education or training projects is a good start.

2 Responses to “Selecting OS learning technology platforms”

  1. Bill Brantley

    An observation and two questions:

    1) I believe you dismiss Moodle too quickly. You can set it up either by topic, chronologically, or as a set of forums. It was this last configuration that I used to create a community of practice for a Ohio state agency. So, Moodle doesn’t have to follow the traditional course structure.

    2) How do you define “course”?

    3) What are the informal learning alternatives to the traditional course that you feel are better?

  2. Harold Jarche

    I don’t dismiss Moodle, Bill, I have just found the structure to be focused on the course. A prime differentiator of Elgg is that it centres on the person. A course is just a node in Elgg and not a space that you have to enter. Some comments about Moodle (2008) are here:

    I would define “course” as something constrained by content/curriculum.

    Most of my practice is in workplace learning. I find the course too constraining and find that performance support tools, expertise locators, communities of practice and collaborative applications more appropriate for learning at work.


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