Monday, June 16, 2014

Doing without an Expensive LMS

Buying content from the major e-learning developers makes the already challenging task of budgetting for free tutoring operations particularly difficult. Students and families expect free access to materials, particularly if they are used infrequently and without a lasting commitment to the tutoring program. The best option financially is to buy a limited number of seat or user licenses from the provider and then switch user names as new students matriculate and other families stop showing up. Unfortunately, this means that recycled accounts are no longer available for those students who have left and returned again, something virtually all of them eventually do.

Another option then would be developing content in-house and making it available a-la-carte, with no log in necessary. This requires long hours of developing the format and entering the content, a tedious task for anyone. It only makes sense if it can be sold again, unless one has the kind of funding that organizations like Khan Academy enjoy. Barring that, one must really monetize content or set up a pay wall. All of this requires enormous technical skill and is fraught with all manner of problems that really distract from the mission of teaching.

A third option is purchasing an LMS, but here again, one ends up spending so much on set-up, hosting and maintenance or support fees, that it hardly represents an improvement over purchasing content each year. Adobe presents a potentially intriguing solution by which the teacher develops in Captivate and publishes directly to Adobe hosted connection services without the astronomical costs associated with purchasing a separate LMS.

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