Learning management systems (LMSs) have been around since the late 1990s, when Blackboard introduced an online platform to help educators customize course management. Today, there are more than 60 companies providing such services worldwide.
“Blackboard, Moodle, and Sakai … are typical LMSs–software that’s licensed, often for quite a bit of money, to school administrations and then provided to the faculty, primarily as a way to keep files and grades,” said Hunter Horsley of Lore.
Lore, originally known as Coursekit at its launch last year, offers its platform for free. “Lore offers similar things for courses, like calendar, file, and grade management, but we don’t think of ourselves as an LMS. We’re building a platform for learning,” Horsley said, noting also that the company markets directly to students and teachers.
Other free social learning platforms include Edmodo and Schoology. Edmodo, which launched in 2008, has approximately six million users in about 70,000 U.S. high schools. Schoology, which was founded in 2009, is available in more than 18,000 schools internationally, although most of those schools are in the U.S. Lore is already in use in 600 U.S. colleges and universities.
Teamie, which launched last year, offers a pay-as-you-go social learning platform that costs on average 3 to 7 Singapore dollars per student each month. Ashwin Singh, co-founder of Teamie, said that while the company also offers a free version, the subscription service can be customized to an institution’s business processes and offers administrative features to better manage multiple classrooms. Other differentiators for Teamie include support for multiple languages–including Mandarin, Japanese, and Hindi–and games.