Even though they go by many different labels, I like to call online learning programs “learning management systems.” Some people have a huge problem with that, some agree, and some don’t care. I tend to be in the don’t care group. I’m more interested in what they do, and not what they are labeled.
Currently, it seems like Blackboard/WebCT is playing catch up feature-wise with the less popular open-source options of Moodle, Sakai, DrupalEd, etc. Social networking features, such as blogs and wikis, seem to be all the rage. But I am starting to notice a new trend appearing on the horizon: Second Life Integration.
Sloodle is clearly the forerunner in this category. Sloodle is a project that combines Moodle with Second Life. I looked at Sloodle briefly in an earlier post. Now, it seems like Angel Learning is entering the Second Life education race.
To be honest with you, I’m not all that familiar with Angel Learning, or their Learning Management Suite (their name for it). There is a lot of information on their site, but no pricing guide that I can find. A lot of the information falls into the buzzword/hype category, which means it could be right on, or total fluff. I’ll have to dig around more. But a recent news article on their site points out where they are going with their Second Life island, and part of that does include “creating a future presence for extending the ANGEL learning platforms.”
Angel seems to have a good amount of financial backing (I can’t tell if they are open-source or proprietary, but I am leaning towards proprietary), so I predict that they may be able to go farther with their SL integration than Sloodle. Something to keep our eyes on.
Matt is currently an Instructional Designer II at Orbis Education and a Part-Time Instructor at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley. Previously he worked as a Learning Innovation Researcher with the UT Arlington LINK Research Lab. His work focuses on learning theory, Heutagogy, and learner agency. Matt holds a Ph.D. in Learning Technologies from the University of North Texas, a Master of Education in Educational Technology from UT Brownsville, and a Bachelors of Science in Education from Baylor University. His research interests include instructional design, learning pathways, sociocultural theory, heutagogy, virtual reality, and open networked learning. He has a background in instructional design and teaching at both the secondary and university levels and has been an active blogger and conference presenter. He also enjoys networking and collaborative efforts involving faculty, students, administration, and anyone involved in the education process.