Virtual Learning Platforms.

Ok so Virtual Learning platforms are definitely being talked about at the moment. So here are my thoughts.

The main contenders have always been Blackboard and Moodle. As s student and educator over the past 7 years I have used and hated both.

In recent weeks things have changed. iTunes U has existed since 2007 but on the 19th of January the¬†introduction¬†of iTunes U courses made a difference as Steve Jobs would say ‘this changes everything’. I have been creating courses for over a week and find the experience so incredibly user friendly and can see the benefits. However the gigantic drawback is that unless a college makes their courses public there is limited access.

As you can imagine with FETAC guideless etc there are a lot of issues to be discussed before putting any of our own further education courses forward to be downloaded publicly so this is a big brick in the way. For private courses students need access to iOS devices. Sure about half our students do but it is still not ideal.

So in between all of that I have been busy researching and creating keynote after keynote and tweaking courses when I get a twitter notification to say that an education company called Lectrio were following me on twitter. I don’t usually take notice but I was in need of a break so decided to check them out (and you should too)

Lectrio is everything that Moodle isn’t (user friendly) and is both mobile and computer friendly unlike iTunes U courses.

The platform is currently in beta testing but allows teachers to create a course and upload documents to it. There is also a calendar option which is not available in iTunes U. iTunes U may look a little flashier but other than that Letricio has got it all.

Here is my analysis

iTunes U Courses

Pros

  • Unlimited file size.
  • Links items already in the iTunes U store.
  • User friendly
  • Can upload videos / images/ documents.
  • Free.
  • No storage limit

Cons

  • A college needs to be signed up to iTunes U
  • The use of private courses is limited to iOS devices.

Pros

  • Widely used so it’s got to be good….right?

Cons

  • Horrible interface from both a teachers and students point of view
  • Not user friendly
  • Not mobile friendly
  • Files are not organised
  • Files need compressing.
  • Expensive

Pros

  • User friendly
  • No storage limit
  • Integration with google docs
  • Works perfectly on iPad (although an app would be a bonus)
  • Has a calendar

Cons

  • Have only been trying it a couple of hours but so far none. Advantages over iTunes U Courses in access and tons easier than Moodle so I think it is a serious contender it will be interesting to see where they go in the future.

 

 

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