Learning Management Systems
Information about Learning Management Systems (LMS) and the initiatives under way with the LMS development partners
Choosing an LMS
An LMS is a software product that sits within a school’s Managed Learning Environment (MLE). The LMS is regarded as the school’s central hub of the teaching and learning activity (curriculum and pedagogy).
Funding assistance is available for eligible schools that wish to purchase an LMS or parent portal functionality. Further information is available about eligibility criteria and the funding on offer.
Guidelines and advice on selecting an LMS can be found on the TKI website, including:
- identifying what the school needs from an LMS
- exploring why a school would invest in one
- assessing some of the purposes of an LMS
- analysing the school’s priorities and
- selecting products that will meet the school’s needs.
Note that TKI uses the terms "Online Learning Environment" (OLE) or "Managed Online Learning Environment" (MOLE), rather than MLE. An MLE is essentially the same as an OLE or MOLE, although these latter two terms are becoming less used in New Zealand. An MLE includes facilities for online collaboration and publishing, digital file repositories, eportfolios, communication, content management and delivery, social networking, planning, course and assessment tools, federated search engines, identity and access management, parental portal, and all the commonly used SMS modules.
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LMS development partners
As well as providing funding assistance to encourage schools’ uptake of LMS, the Ministry is funding Edtech, Watchdog and Catalyst IT to develop LMS products to meet the evolving interoperability standards. The three LMS products are Ultranet, KnowledgeNET and Moodle.
This interoperability means that schools will be able to share resources and work seamlessly in their school-wide MLE. Students will be able to enjoy the new style of learning opportunities and retain a digital record of that learning that can mature and move with them.
Schools can now purchase an LMS from one of the Ministry's development partners and be assured that the ongoing development pathway will in part be directed, supported and funded by the Ministry. LMS vendors that were not selected for the MLE tender are able to access the specifications to enable the required interoperability, however they are not being financially supported by the Ministry.
The MLE concept in New Zealand is still maturing and the total development time will be several years. It is recommended that you regularly check here for updates on LMS initiatives.
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LMS development initiatives in progress
A number of development initiatives are currently underway, with some functionality available to schools now.
Identity provider (IdP) and single sign-on (SSO)
SSO allows users of school systems to sign-on once to the applications in their MLE via the IdP, a web-based portal that allows staff and students to log into all of their web/cloud-based services. Once signed-on, users then have transparent access to multiple online services, both within and outside of the school’s Local Area Network (LAN). SSO has been implemented in Ultranet, KnowledgeNET and Moodle. The library management system, Access-IT, also supports SSO via the IdP. A full list of services supporting SSO is available at www.iam.school.nz.
The IdP is a service model based on SimpleSAMLPHP. There are currently five IdPs being run by various groups and organisations. Three IdPs are being run by regional loops in Wellington, Christchurch and Nelson. There are also two commercial offerings from Edtech and Watchdog. All are based on the same technology and standards, enabling schools to choose freely which offering to select.
Available to schools: Now. See www.iam.school.nz for further information.
Moodle and KnowledgeNET integration
Aspects of Moodle and KnowledgeNET have now been integrated. Moodle course and grade-book functionality as well as selected Moodle activities, resource modules and blocks are now available within KnowledgeNET as an optional module.
Available to schools: Now, contact Watchdog for further information.
KnowledgeNET and Ultranet have both implemented SMS-LMS interoperability which enables the sharing of data between the school’s LMS and SMS, to provide parents with online access to information about their children, including attendance and assessment information.
Funding assistance is currently available for eligible schools that wish to use a parent portal. Further information about eligibility criteria and the funding on offer is available.
Available to schools: Now, contact your LMS vendor for further information.
Supporting Moodle for New Zealand schools
Catalyst IT, with the advice and support of the Moodle Reference Group (made up of nominated school representatives), has developed a New Zealand schools edition of Moodle. It is supported by a website where New Zealand schools can get information and support.
Watchdog are providing support for schools that would like it, funded by the Ministry of Education.
Available to schools: Now at www.moodleinschools.org.nz, and contact Watchdog for information about support.
Open Education Resources (OER) via WikiEducator
Re-usable and portable content for New Zealand schools is available via WikiEducator. Some early adopters have already received training in collaborative authoring of OER at WikiEducator taster sessions. WikiEducator makes it easy for all teachers to author, search, and reuse OER content. OER exemplars have been developed to serve as examples for teachers to create, share and reuse digital content.
WikiEducator will continue to become a richer source of content as the community using it grows and contributes.
The Ministry has supported the development of tools to make the wiki easier to use for all teachers, encouraged the building of a distinctive New Zealand Wikieducator community, and supported the development of OER exemplars to serve as examples for teachers.
Available to schools: Now at http://wikieducator.org.
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What Learning Management System are schools using?
The following pie chart shows LMS market share as at February 2012. The chart is based on information provided to the Ministry by LMS vendors and schools. (Market share for open-source products is based on estimates only.) Approximately 28% of New Zealand schools use a learning management system and the graph represents only these schools.
- Ultranet 290
- KnowledgeNet 250
- Moodle 130
- MyClasses 34
- FirstClass 14
- Scholaris 5
- Other 4
The breakdown by school type is: Secondary 240, Composite 49, Primary 430 and Special 4