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Many educational technological tools have been designed to solve a specific functional requirement, whether meant to support institution, educator / learner, or classroom needs. Some of these have been terrific point solutions that have enhanced teaching and learning and improved institutional efficiency and productivity. But they have not yet delivered on one very big idea: how to foster the essential relationship between the learner (at the heart of it all) and the community of stakeholders meant to mentor the learner, most notably the educator.
The LMS platform workflows have made the lives of college professors infinitely easier, but in many respects the LMS is a point solution specifically designed to manage courses only. The Student Information System functions as a large data repository, not as a platform for managing teaching and learning.
An emerging approach is designed, however, from the ground up to reflect the lifecycle of the learner: the Learning Relationship Management (LRM) platform. In many respects LRM is analogous to the Customer Relationship Manager (CRM) found in the business world. The key elements of LRM embrace the concept that every learner is unique, and will have his/her own unique pathway or process, but that such a process cannot be viewed without also including the relationships with others that are at the core of learning. Thus any LRM platform may include a wide mix of the following essential elements: learning pathways, learner profiles, learning communities, digital portfolios, analytics tools, social elements, coaching tools, flags and alerts, learning applications, and more.
This paper, sponsored by the LRM Alliance, describes how this emerging category of educational technology shifts the workflow paradigm in both higher education and primary / secondary education, and how it can be an essential element in the larger discussion taking place about improving education and institutional reinvention. Wainhouse Research interviewed many of the category inventors and early entrants (Epiphany Learning, Fidelis Education, Fishtree, and Motivis Learning) as well as a number of leading universities (Southern New Hampshire University, American University, Bryan University, Concordia University Chicago) and K-12 programs (Teton Science Schools, Verona Wisconsin Area School District, Walker Elementary / West Allis-West Milwaukee, Wisconsin School District) that are early adopters. The result is a resource that will educate anyone new to the category concerning features and benefits, while also providing a description of best practices and methods of overcoming challenges as described by early adopters.