Learning management systems (LMS), also referred to as Virtual Learning Environments, comprise a category of software and web applications that enable the online delivery of course materials as well as the tracking and reporting of student participation.[i] Viewed as a centralized location for the ephemera of learning experiences, LMS have long been adopted by colleges and universities worldwide to manage and administer online and blended courses. It is commonplace for students to access syllabi and readings, submit assignments, check grades, and contact peers and instructors through their institution’s LMS, while faculty monitor student engagement and performance at individual and course levels. However, some thought leaders believe current LMS are limited in capacity, too narrowly focused on the administration of learning rather than the learning itself.[ii] Next-generation LMS,  also called next-generation digital learning environments (NGDLE),[iii] refers to the development of more flexible spaces that support personalization, meet universal design standards, and play a larger role in formative learning assessment.[iv]Rather than existing as single applications, they are a “confederation of IT systems and application components that adhere to common standards …that would enable diversity while fostering coherence.”[v]

[i] http://searchcio.techtarget.com/definition/learning-management-system

[ii] http://er.educause.edu/articles/2015/6/whats-next-for-the-lms

[iii] https://library.educause.edu/~/media/files/library/2015/12/eli7127-pdf.pdf (PDF)

[iv] http://www.educause.edu/blogs/mbrown/lms-future-exploring-next-generation-digital-learning-environment

[v] https://library.educause.edu/~/media/files/library/2015/12/eli7127-pdf.pdf (PDF)