Over the last couple of days, Harold Jarche and I have written a series of postings about the future of the LMS, which have proved extremely popular, attracting huge numbers of hits. Here is a reminder of the postings again, just in case you missed any:
- JH: What is the future of the LMS?
- HJ: LMS is no longer the centre of the universe
- JH: A Transition Path to the Future
- HJ: Identifying a collaboration platform
I now want to move the discussion on further and take a look at some of the collaboration platforms we have mentioned. I'm going to start with Elgg since that is the one that Harold talked about yesterday in his posting.
Elgg in a nutshell
Elgg is a free, open source social engine that lets you create a social environment / collaboration platform. Although iIt has social networking principles at its heart, it is much much more than this as it includes social bookmarking, blogging, wikis, RSS feeds,
micro-blogging functionality and more - all in one platform.
Setting up ElggElgg is totally configurable and customisable with core and 3rd-party plugins so can be set up with the social functionality you want. For instance a basic collaboration platform might include the following functionality:
- Dashboard - displays the river of activity of the members
- Members List - where users can browse a list of site members
- Profiles - each member can set up their own profile using a set of (draggable) widgets
- Bookmarks - personal and/or group bookmarks can be set up
- Blog - personal and/or group blogs an be created
- Pages - personal and group web and wiki (ie editable web pages) can be created
- Files - personal and/or group files can be uploaded - PDFs, Word documents, spreadsheets, videos, etc
- Private micro-blogging - an internal Twitter-like service
- RSS feed reader - personal feed reader
Examples of Elgg in useI have set up a instance of Elgg for use with clients and customers at www.c4lpt.net . Although I call it SoLearn - as its purpose is to support both the formal social learning programmes I run as well - it is a fully collaborative environment.
If you'd like to see how it works, then send me an email email@example.com and I will set you up with an account to explore the platform. You can download a 2-page Quick User Guide by clicking the Help tab You can also join one of the open groups, e.g. the Transition to the Future group to find out more about the group functionality, and feel free to set up a group of your own to see how easy it is to do this.
Other examples of Elgg
Elgg is being used in both education (universities and schools) and businesses (profit- and non-profit making). Here are two examples:
University of East London
World-wide Fund for Nature
How does it compare with Facebook and Ning?
AS Elgg is intended as an enterprise-wide tool, it is more sophisticated than Facebook or Ning. But if you are familiar with these two platforms and want to compare it, take a look at my comparison chart.
How to set up an Elgg-powered collaboration platform?
You can download Elgg from www.elgg.org. It requires a WAMP or LAMP stack, ie Windows/Linux environment, Apache Server, MySQL and PHP. If you need any help with set up or customisation, find out how we can help you here.