Facebook + SCORM Cloud

We get asked all the time, “What is an LMS?” So, here’s a challenge… express it as simply, as elementally as you can. Here’s my effort:

A tool that authenticates students, connects them to a topic, as well as each other, and provides the tools to efficiently deliver, track and assess the learning process.

– (Think you can do it better using only 140 characters? Step up and leave a comment…)

We’ve been pondering different applications and how they apply to that definition. And I can’t stop coming back to Facebook as a great candidate for an LMS of the future.

A tool that authenticates students
Social elearning with SCORM Cloud and Facebook
 
…connects them to a topic…
Social elearning with SCORM Cloud and Facebook
 
…as well as each other…
Social elearning with SCORM Cloud and Facebook
 

This is where SCORM Cloud comes in. Courses could be hosted on SCORM Cloud and delivered via Facebook.

…and provides the tools to efficiently deliver, track and assess the learning process.
Social elearning with SCORM Cloud and Facebook

Assessments and tracking could also be integrated:
 
Social elearning with SCORM Cloud and Facebook
 

Thinking about what could be is something we do a lot… Lately several of us have often discussed what SCORM Cloud + Facebook could be. I thought it’d be a good idea to expand the discussion and bring our followers into the mix.

Apps in Facebook are nothing new, and they’re the future of the platform:

The next five years will be defined by apps and the depth of social engagement.

-Mark Zuckerberg at F8 2011

 

The social learning platform has created thousands of successful virtual farms and Vills. While many of the popular apps currently on Facebook are games, the Facebook population seems to be underutilized for eLearning. Students and Facebook have a healthy relationship — the site’s popularity was born from college students. I’m willing to make the argument that the blend of eLearning and the Facebook environment would be a useful marriage.

Facebook advantages:

  • 800+ million users (and growing)
  • Easy to manage people and groups
  • Users are loyal, familiar and comfortable with Facebook
  • Streamlined registration and management process
  • Frequent log-ins, easily accessible across platforms and devices
  • Every month, more than 500 million people use an app on Facebook or experience Facebook Platform on other websites
  • More than 7 million apps and websites are integrated with Facebook

Social elearning with SCORM Cloud and Facebook

By using Facebook to facilitate learning with students and instructors, developers could create a fast and intuitive way to group students and deploy courses. Learning within Facebook provides a platform students are comfortable and familiar with. Relationships formed via a Facebook-based experience could continue past the life of the course, creating a more genuine social experience than traditional eLearning has been able to give. The possibilities of a Learning App within Facebook are exciting to imagine and one I think could become the next big movement of eLearning.

Arguably, this rush to manage learners within Facebook will start soon, and I’m excited to see it begin. We’ve built our SCORM Cloud to be flexible and adaptable with this scenario in mind. We’ve seen several integrations of our SCORM Cloud. So far it has been blended into Moodle, Sakai, Dokeos, Ilias, WordPress and Google Apps. Instead of reinventing the learning platform, just plug our SCORM Cloud into Facebook and move on.

Facebook is the next step, and one we’re excited to see someone take. Our SCORM Cloud can relieve the pain of hosting content, managing courses, tracking assessments and reporting grades. Facebook will manage students — all a developer needs to do is plug the two together. We’re open to ideas on how we can make this process easier.

Group discussions, wall posts, notifications, real-time chat with classmates, leader boards… the Facebook platform offers plenty of elements that can be combined to create something cool. What could be within this solution keeps my mind racing. I hope that some momentum for this develops soon.

Social elearning with SCORM Cloud and Facebook

So the logical question is, “If an e-learning Facebook app is such a great idea, why not do it yourself?” We have built the toolkit that can make this app possible… we’ve got a lot of development projects in cue. We’ve made it obvious we’re hiring, great ideas like SCORM Cloud + Facebook are why. If this sounds cool and you’d like to jump in and create a Facebook integration, go for it. Where it goes from here is up to you. Are you willing to take the leap and become the first to navigate these waters?

We know this process takes time and effort. We’re willing to lend a hand, let’s discuss what that could look like by dropping a comment. If you’re interested in working with us to make this happen, email me — chris.tompkins@scorm.com.

Some images from: benstein & FindYourSearch


  • Rod Ward

    It sounds to me like your definition of an LMS is slightly skewed toward social networking so that you can include Facebook.

    If you leave out the words:”as well as each other”, then the definition is: “A tool that authenticates students, connects them to a topic, then tracks and assess the learning process.”

    I’m not against anyone finding a way to turn Facebook into an LMS as well. I just don’t believe that social networking is an essential part of the LMS featureset per se.

    There are lots of LMS vendors currently trying to build in some form of social networking. But that’s not because LMSs don’t work without social networking. They’re doing this because they want to hitch a ride on the popularity of it.

  • Tim Martin

    Rod… traditional LMSs may not have included the connection to others, but I think the inclusion of that connection is appropriate. A big part of learning in schools and elsewhere comes from interacting with others… While the traditional LMS may not include that to a large degree, does that mean that the ideal learning management system doesn’t?

  • Rod Ward

    Whether or not an “ideal LMS” is one with social networking built in is (I think) yet to be determined.

    As I said before, I have nothing against social networking being added to an LMS.

    But…the original premise of Chris’ challenge was to come up with a definition for an LMS and “express it as simply, as elementally as you can”.

    I just don’t believe that the definition of an LMS is incomplete without the words that limit it to a system that has social networking. That’s not simplifying the definition of an LMS. It’s adding an extra (nice to have) level of complexity.

  • Rod, I can see where you are coming from… a valid point. I included “as well as each other” as a requirement from my experience as a student. I have taken online-only and traditional courses. Students discussing topics with one another was a core component of nearly every class I’ve ever had. With online-only courses, the discussion boards were not just a luxury, every instructor required a minimum level of participation. When classroom-based courses went online to supplement a topic, participation on the LMS’s discussion board was also a typical requirement. I’ll admit that I’m a product of my environment, but my experience has led me to believe that interacting with fellow students is something that is a fundamental part of my education… in class or online. I’m sure courses could exist without interaction, but I feel it’s been a basic element of my learning experience, so I included it.

  • James Kingsley

    I have been thinking of something like this ever since Mike showed SCORM Cloud to me at DevCon. I think I even mentioned it to him…
    I will be sending you an email to open discussions soon.

  • Rod Ward

    Understood. But I think we need to remember that your challenge was basically to come up with a phrase that gave the requirements statement for an LMS.

    In software design (and LMSs are definitely software), every extra requirement you add is an extra constraint on the design. By throwing in an extra constraint based on your personal experience in education, you’ve constrained the design according to a person preference of how you like to learn, not because that feature was essential to the functionality.

    I’ve seen this done an awful lot in software projects I’ve worked on, and I can tell you…from my experience…that this is the point where they start to fail.

    Distill the design down until it cannot work at all if you take anything else out. I think my version of your requirements statement, is simpler, sticks to the elemental requirements, but would still create a working LMS.

    If you include social networking in your core statement, what you’re saying is that your system has to treats the user base as a group shared experience, not as an individual endeavour. If that’s your premise of an LMS, fine.

  • Rod Ward

    Just had a thought…maybe we could get around this impasse by just altering the original challenge slightly. If we said the challenge was to come up with a statement that defined a Social Networking Learning Management System, then the words “connects learners to each other” would be seen as essential.

  • Tim Martin

    OK, point taken. Something like “an application that authenticates users and tracks what they learn” is probably a more elemental definition. There are others who would say that the interaction is fundamental, but I get where you’re coming from.

  • TJ

    I think it’s important to differentiate between facebook (The technology) and Facebook (The Company). This is something that i becoming increasingly more difficult today. It’s easy to differentiate “Microsoft Word” from “Microsoft”. It’s clear that one is the company and one is the product. The current startup landscape doesn’t lend itself easily to this sort of differentiation except in unique cases where companies are creating multiple pieces of software (FogCreek, 37Signals, etc).

    The idea of combining my educational information with facebook (tech) is a wonderful idea. I suspect the benefits mentioned above are only the tip of the Iceberg of Awesome ™. However, Facebook (the company) has proven itself to be an entity with an attitude towards privacy that feels at odds with the educational world.

    My complaint isn’t that the website has privacy holes, all websites will have these problems, these are really HARD problems. Rather, my complaint is that Facebook has not prioritized these issues nearly high enough to instill the level of trust necessary to use it as a platform for an LMS.

  • Prathapkumar

    A software that can efficiently deliver content, track learner progress, report training programs and conduct classroom & online events.

  • Juan Manuel Sánchez Vargas

    Voy a echarle detenida cuenta a lo que propones y, probablemente, necesite ayuda para implementar este tipo de curso a través de facebook. Pero los SCORMS los tengo porque tengo buenas nociones de HTML, Chris.
    Gracias por tu aporte.

  • A valid complaint TJ, something that will shape the public’s willingness to go along with Facebook’s plan.

  • Juan, feel free to ask questions. I’m here to help if I can.

  • Kevin Fernando

    Great idea to consider but many times an institution will want an entirely closed off system (which they control completely) to ensure a consistent experience and protection of its intellectual property and students. Using facebook as an LMS raises some concerns in this regard. We at scholarix e-learning solutions actually wrote a similar article on the implications of using Google+ as an LMS
    feel free to take a look

    http://www.scholarixsolution.com/wp/can-google-deliver-on-line-education/

  • Kevin Fernando

    Great idea to consider but many times an institution will want an entirely closed off system (which they control completely) to ensure a consistent experience and protection of its intellectual property and students. Using facebook as an LMS raises some concerns in this regard. We at scholarix e-learning solutions actually wrote a similar article on the implications of using Google+ as an LMS
    feel free to take a look

    http://www.scholarixsolution.com/wp/can-google-deliver-on-line-education/

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  • Rustica Lamb

    Hey I love this concept has anyone done it yet using SCORMcloud?

  • Hey Rustica Lamb, no one has done it yet using SCORM Cloud. Though if someone did we think it would be pretty neat!

  • Rustica Lamb

    Ok tell me how we could do that together?

  • Rustica Lamb
  • We don’t have this on our product roadmap right now so unfortunately won’t be able to collaborate on this project in the short-term. Thanks for thinking of us though!

  • The SCORM Cloud API would be a way to integrate SCORM Cloud into any web based web application. We’ll follow up with you directly to talk about how this would work!