Posted by: crudbasher | May 25, 2010

Google’s Free Open Source LMS

Well this is an interesting development.  Google has this very interesting business model.  The more data they get, the more ways they can mix it and mash it up.  For example, google maps is a lot more than just pictures and maps, they have this huge search database where they can geolocate things on the map too.

Most of Google’s tools are free.  This is because the vast majority of their business model is based on selling ads online.  They use this stream of cash to give away tools that hurt their competitors.  For example, Microsoft’s two big cash cows are Windows and MS Office.  So Google is developing an OS (Chrome) and seriously investing in Google Docs.  They have the resources to just give things away, thus crippling their competitors.  I don’t have a problem with any of this of course. It’s business.

With all that in mind, Google has just given away an Open Source LMS called CloudCourse.  I imagine this includes integration with Gmail, Google Calendar, Mpas, etc…  They used this as an example for something called App Engine.   This lets you develop online applications easily and for lower cost then you would in the past.  I am not sure if this is tacky in blogging protocol, but  I am going to quote myself from a post called What if Schools Don’t Change?

If you look at any industry that goes through a radical change, the leaders of the new industry are usually NOT the same ones who lead the old industry.
It is said that “Nature Abhors a Vaccuum.” If schools don’t change then somebody else will fill that void. In the 20th century the big names in Education were Harvard, Oxford, and University of Iowa. Is it possible in 10 years the big names in Education will be Google, Apple and Walmart? Yes Walmart. They are the barbarians at the gate right now.

Just remember, education is about learning, not about school.

Update: Found another good article here.

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.



  1. I’m delighted that Google is upsetting the Edu industry. The product won’t be used by any serious online schools. But there is a huge cottage industry of brick and mortar teaching services that could not previously afford an LMS that might use the Google cloud to manage a curriculum, schedules and rosters. These include small private schools, church schools, preschools, baseball leagues, private music teachers, martial arts schools, etc.

    • It definitely lowers the costs to start some kind of school. I will be happy when we have schools of all different types catering to all different kinds of learners. It will happen!

  2. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Jason Bedell, Andrew Barras. Andrew Barras said: My thoughts on Google's Free Open Source LMS #edchat #edtech […]

  3. Google’s operating system and Google Docs does not compare with Windows and Microsoft Office and is unlikely to catch up with them but a little competition does not hurt either.

  4. Checked CloudSource today and seems promising although very preliminary. The fact that is build on AppsEngine promises some compatibility with google products.

    However, as a a seasoned elearning expert who have used most of the known lms’s like Moodle, eFront or Dokeos I would say that this is in no way a replacement for a regular lms.

    • Thanks for posting! Yes I agree that as an LMS what Google is offering is fairly primitive so far. You have to keep in mind that it was pretty much just a demo of what can be done with their CloudSource system. IF another company wanted to they could make a much better system. I think what I was pointing out with this post is that the bar of entry to making a LMS has been lowered quite a bit now.

  5. I live and work in Nigeria where learning is only about getting a certificate. The possibilities that orgs like moodle,efront, cloudsource or any other LMS provide ppl is very much appreciated.They expand the frontiers of learning for developing third world countries.I appreciate all the comments and much more. You all are doing a fine job. Keep it up!

  6. Does anyone know of some current examples of Google + LMS?

  7. […] post in terms of most views of all the ones I have written is one I wrote back in May 2010 called Google’s Free Open Source LMS. While it is a decent post it is mostly reporting on news with some of my thoughts with it. […]

  8. As with any other system or process going open source and then easily digestible at the user level, it would lead to the popping of many online schools, educational systems which would be equipped with all the tools and learning systems but content with 3rd grade quality.

    I cannot say for sure whether it would have any impact on the established schooling systems and the more traditional modes of education but education would suffer some declines for sure. What we could hope to see is an improvement in technical skills and knowledge.

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