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Turkish Online Journal of Distance Education

Yıl 2007 , Cilt 8 , Sayı 1

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Online learning software – why pay for it?

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The basic price of e-learning software. In spite of the high cost of software and criticism of it, many organizations are still locking themselves into expensive contracts when there are freely available alternatives that can deliver most of the attributes of commercially available Learning Management Systems (LMS). Learning Management Systems were developed amid the dot com boom of the 90s and are typical of the simplistic software approach to managing human endeavors that were characteristic of that era. By buying and installing an LMS, it was claimed, an organization could provide online learning to its members, electronically track their progress though online testing and save a huge amount of money on face-to-face training. This claim proved to be somewhat extravagant with experience showing that the software was difficult to install and run, prone to faults and was not at all efficient at facilitating learning. With the benefit of hindsight the problems are easy to identify. For example, many of the learning materials were crudely adapted from paper-based courses and there was little understanding of how learners behave in an online environment. However the main problem was that the development was designer-led and that the learning architecture was ‘locked down’ in the sense that the learning administrators within an organization had no control over it. LMS of this era (and they still exist) have been described as an ‘albatross around the neck of a company that stifles learning’ ( ).

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