Expanding our Online Learning Toolkit with WordPress

In most post-secondary institutions online courses are developed and delivered through a Learning Management System (LMS). It seems as though this has always been the way. And even though times have changed, technology has changed and even approaches to online teaching and learning have changed the LMS stays more or less the same.

Over the last several years in our institution we have seen a shift in what learners are expecting and what the sectors provide courses for want to see. Those combined with a movement in BC post-secondary institutions toward Open Educational Resources (OERs) has meant that we have had to evolve and look for ways of providing courses and resources that are open and more accessible than what is possible with our traditional LMS.

Here are some of the reasons we have turned to WordPress (WP) to help adapt to the shift we are seeing:

  • In line with the mobile-friendly and easy to navigate design of many websites, learners expect ease of use, simple user interface design.
  • Course design needs to be flexible and scalable – WP allows us to easily add/edit a course and add functionality if needed.
  • Learners and stakeholders are looking for content in smaller, easier to digest accessible bites – WP works well with the ‘Microlearning’ of small bites of learning.
  • WP design is responsive (mobile friendly).
  • With course management plugins such as Learndash, we are able to ensure a basic level of course tracking and management while keeping courses open and learner-friendly.
  • Today’s educational settings need a range of options for online learning or a ‘suite’ of ed tech tools as ed tech is not one size fits all.
  • There are no learner/student licensing fees for WP which ultimately keeps costs down for students.
  • WP allows to quickly and easily enhance existing courses

Although the LMS was not designed for today’s audience and training needs it still serves a purpose for our traditional, academic, distance ed courses. Today our focus is to be flexible and responsive to the needs of the learners and having a variety of tools to do this is essential to creating a successful learning environment.
You can find some examples of the courses/resources we have built in WP here on Our Projects page.