Hitchhiker’s Guide to the eLearning galaxy

Written By: Cudy

22nd April 2023

Hitchhiker’s Guide to the eLearning galaxy

Last year I wrote a blog post called Hitchhiker’s guide to the elearning galaxy where I introduced you to an analogy that we use in our company. I would like to repeat this today, because it’s the best way I know to explain what is going on with the elearning industry.

The universe is like a spiral galaxy, and every new year we are going deeper into it. We are constantly looking for new ideas, techniques, and tools that will help us go faster, further, and explore more.

This journey has been going on for more than 15 years now. But every time we discover something new we realize that there is even more out there waiting for us to discover.

That’s why I believe that in the next 15 years, there will be even more technologies and tools that will change the way we create learning content. Here is a straightforward illustration of how this universe looks like:

The spiral galaxy

The first layer is the most basic one. It’s made of many different galaxies, but I’m going to focus on just one. It’s the one that you can see in the center of the illustration. It’s a very simple galaxy with only two stars in it. One of them is elearning and the other one is learning management systems (LMS).

eLearning Galaxy

Let’s start with elearning galaxy. This is where everything started, when computers entered our lives and we realized that they could be used for learning.

We started to use software for creating interactive content and simulations and called it eLearning. There were many ideas and approaches, but there was no common standard or accepted best practice.

Only a few major players had the biggest market share: Captivate, Articulate, Lectora, etc. This galaxy is the simplest one, and it’s where you can still find many people. They are still using the tools that they know well and are comfortable with.

Learning Management Systems Galaxy

When elearning started to become popular we realized that there is a need for an application where we can store our courses, track students progress, grade them and do many other things. This is how learning management systems (LMS) were born.

I am going to focus on one specific LMS in this galaxy, because it has a huge market share and most of you will be familiar with it: Blackboard. It was released in 1999 and since then many people have used it for their elearning projects.

Many companies have created their own learning departments or schools just to sell Blackboard licenses. You can even call them blackboard farms.

I believe that only two companies in the world have made a significant profit selling Blackboard licenses – Ellucian (Blackboard’s owner) and AT&T, who acquired Desire2Learn back in 2008. I’m not sure if AT&T has ever made any profit from this acquisition though


Written by

Cudy

Cudy is an online marketplace for real-time learning where students can achieve mastery over their subjects by learning live from educators who are passionate about providing the best learning experience for their students.

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