A Brief History of Learning Management Systems

From early developments in the 1920s through to today’s customisable, interactive e-learning solutions.

What is an Learning Management System?

In modern day terms, a Learning Management System (LMS) is a software application which supports the management of digital training courses and content. They are well organised, managed systems that act as a single repository of information that learners can access 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Tasks within an LMS can be automated and tracked so that they can be analysed and reported on.

With internet accessibility ever expanding, the global LMS market has grown to turnover in excess of US$ 13.4 billion. The market is predicted to grow to US$ 25.7 billion by 2025, driven particularly by the shift in working practices caused by the restrictions of the Covid-19 pandemic. LMS continue to evolve year on year with more companies taking on digital learning, mobile learning, AI and machine learning.

Where does the idea of an LMS come from?

It may surprise you to know that the original concept of an LMS predates the internet by a significant amount of time – in fact we need to go back around 100 years to see its beginnings.

The first LMS

In the 1920’s Sidney L Pressey developed what he called the testing machine. Resembling a typewriter, it offered various kinds of practical exercises and multiple-choice questions with learners having to drill in answers which were recorded at the back of the machine. Much like features still used in today’s LMS, the testing machine wouldn’t progress until the correct answer was given.

1950s Learning System

In the 1950s, the SAKI or Self-Adaptive Keyboard Instructor was created by Gordon Pask and McKinnon Wood. This device personalised questions based on how well a learner performs and added levels of difficulty as the learner’s performance improved.

Dr. Donald Blitzer created a computer-based training program which allowed learners to monitor their own progress in 1960. PLATO (Programmed Logic for Automatic Teaching Operation) was also the first platform to work in terms of a learning community and allow collaborative learning thanks to its instant chat and email abilities. In 1968, the HP-9100A began paving the way for the advent of the LMS systems we recognise today. Hewlett Packard’s first calculator was packed with never before seen computational abilities.

Digital learning in the 1980s

Project Athena from MIT in 1983 allowed learners to access files from any computer on campus and in 2000 the world was introduced to the first open source LMS: Moodle. Modular, Object-Orientated Dynamic Learning Environment, allowed learners to pick the content they wanted enabling personalised learning.

By 2004, the need for a standardised format was addressed with the introduction of the Sharable Content Object Reference Model or SCORM file. This standard format specifying parameters on content packaging and metadata has now become a foundation of modern LMS.

LMS Today

The modern LMS has overcome a number of issues in recent years. Increasingly LMS are mobile compatible and customisable. Where in the past they have been observed as less than user friendly, the modern LMS is easy to set up, access and manage with exciting mixed media content. Learners can take control of their learning far more easily and administrators have access to exciting analytics. There are chat rooms, libraries of resources, interactive learning, live learning, bookable sessions and more all set up to meet the needs of the modern-day learner. More and more, LMS seems to be the future of learning.

LMS Training Courses for Dynamics 365 Sales

QGate can provide comprehensive Dynamics 365 Sales training courses in SCORM format that can be uploaded straight into a LMS. Our courses are created using ClickLearn, a powerful e-learning authoring and publishing solution and consist of the following:

  • Interactive step-by-step learning guides to take you through fundamental aspects of Dynamics 365 Sales
  • Practical tasks and exercises to put your employees’ learning into practice
  • A selection of quiz questions to further reinforce learning

Click here to find out more

To discuss your training requirements please email jonathan.small@qgate.co.uk or call him on 01329 222800

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