Those of you who have followed this blog will know that I am a big advocate of the EduPunk movement; seizing control not only of one's education but also the means of producing education. Whilst Google tools and apps have started to provide the means to create educational material without any start-up cost, the UI and functionality has been very raw, almost the very equivalent of punk's 3 chord songs.
All that is about to change though. I sense that the imminent explosion of cloud-based LMSs such as TalentLMS (whose growth prediction for 2015 is 200%) will lead to a proliferation of new course and instructional designers willing and able to branch out and produce innovative education accessible to all and at reasonable cost. In comparison to the licence fee of a mainstream commercial LMS like Blackboard or the development and maintenance cost of an open source LMS like Moodle, cloud-based LMSs provide a basic format on which the instructional designer can easily and cheaply design and deliver learning. The skill as ever lies in the creativity, innovation and support of the designer and the instructor (or as I prefer to call them, the Master Learner), truly reflecting the value of the individual artist rather than the cost of an over-priced platform with over-staffed administration.
I've been playing around with several cloud-based LMSs, particularly TalentLMS, as an alternative to the Google site LMS I established at the end of last year. I can tell you that all the functionality present in commercial LMSs such as Blackboard is all there, all the analytical tools, all the reporting functionality, security, certification/accreditation, everything. Maybe the UI needs some gloss (although TalentLMS is fully customisable) but that will come I have no doubt in future upgrades/releases. And let's not forget that neither Blackboard or Moodle in its various guises are particularly good looking or easy to navigate!
So, my big tip for 2015: cloud-based LMS. For the independent course and instructional designers amongst us, and for corporate L&D departments looking for accessible low-cost platforms, this is going to be the beginning of something huge.