One thing that I’ve seen time and time again while talking to different schools, universities and companies is the complete range of tools and software that is used, across all sectors.

Having spent so long in IT, I know personally that every time you try and find a product to fit all of your needs and requirements, you’ll often fall short and come to the fork of build vs. buy. This happens all over the world everyday. Not just in the education space. With more people around the world able to “code” the world is your oyster, in terms of what you want to achieve.

But when things like learning management systems are being created, fully custom, to meet all the needs of the establishment, do they take ALL parts of the LMS into account?

By that, I mean data standards.

Why is that important? 

There is one thing making sure it’s easy to create and manage course delivery to students and teachers alike, but it’s a very different thing managing the data output from those students.

Analytical data that comes from those courses is extremely important for us to understand our students learning. Without a data standard for collection of this data, it becomes incredibly hard to provide context behind such data.

To really take online learning to the next level, we need to understand more about our students’ way of learning; what suits them, where they are struggling, how effective our input is to them, how we can best support their online learning.

I’m not saying you shouldn’t get your own LMS created, or customise what you have to meet your needs, as it’s important to find what functionally works for each individual establishment. Just don’t forget that course delivery is one part of that and monitoring student outcomes with a standard around data collection is vital to push eLearning to the next stage in its maturity.

The standards set out by IMS give a great base for all aspects of Educational Technology from LTI, to Caliper, which help ensure that data quality and consistency is met across all technologies.