I bring this up as this week I am taking another look at the LMS choices my institution might make. Currently, most if not all learning management system (LMS) companies take a bundled approach in the products that they offer. Calendars, grading, enrollment, analytics, collaboration and mobile integration are all combined into one system. What the user ends up with is a bundle of services by a company that only does a couple of them really well and the rest are just okay. Because these products are an expensive investment, it is difficult for institutions to switch away to another solution so … most just use the features that work for them and find some other third party solution to the less desirable components. It is like the TV/DVD combo unit I had a couple of years ago. The DVD player stopped working but the TV was fine but … every time I turned on the set I was reminded of the broken piece that was forever bonded to the unit. Unbundle the future I say.
We don’t ask our plumber to also provide house cleaning services or our gardener to take care of our electrical needs. The trash/recycling company does just that ... trash and recycling. What if for your monthly fee you also got legal services and internet connection? Crazy you say? But that is the model many industries still promote. The changing needs of faculty and students along with the growing ubiquitous nature of mobile media technologies should lead us to the model I propose. Unbundle the learning management system. The company that gets this right will truly clean up. If schools and institutions could choose the modules they needed, the use of the LMS could be a much more agile application. Proprietary software or bundled solutions tie us to products that quickly become obsolete. Current technology totally supports the mix of different apps working together in harmony to provide a much better outcome than the one-product-that-does-all-things model. Separate modules that would work together could come in all “flavors” and allow user institutions to respond to the changing needs of their stakeholders. This would also allow companies developing these products to focus on their strengths, not on a smorgasbord offering. Unbundle the future, just sayin.