The Learning Management System (LMS) is nothing new, most commonly used by higher education institutions as a means of managing courses and students. The popular management tool has more recently been making an appearance in K-12 schools, providing educators and students alike a more efficient way to manage school work, retrieve reports on progress and performance, and store documentation. But the LMS is evolving at a rapid pace with new EdTech contenders pioneering the Learning Relationship Management movement.

What is Learning Relationship Management?

The “LRM offers a holistic student success solution that the education world has never before experienced”, says Senior Analyst, Brian Fleming. Combining the best that an LMS has to offer, learning platforms modelled on the LRM concept work to enhance the learning process for students by harnessing the power of relationships. Creating the most supported learning environment imaginable, the LRM brings together instructors, parents, administrators and students in a collaborative effort to unleash the potential of every single student. Linda Baer and John Campbell in the 2012 book, Game Changers, predicted a move towards the LRM stating: “One could imagine future analytical tools coming together in a “learning relationship management” (LRM) system that would be open to faculty and advisors. The system would not only provide a central point for analytics data, but would also provide a way of tracking interventions and related results. The LRM system would provide a comprehensive foundation for end-to-end student support.”

The Next Generation of Learning Management

Fishtree, who were the first to introduce a Learning Relationship Management platform, is a very unique pioneer of the LRM movement providing personalized learning solutions for every student. With the ability to sit within other learning management systems, the system has taken early definitions of the LRM to another dimension, combining the very best of EdTech innovation. “Fishtree is unique in that it does not aim to replace the LMS, but rather to enhance it as high powered middleware used, among other things, to enhance personalization through adaptive learning”, says Fleming. Simplifying the concept, Fishtree founder, Terry Nealon explains, “The reason we looked at LRM was to focus more on the relationships that exist, their pain points, individually and collectively, and how technology can help each stakeholder. We looked at trends that are important (social, mobile, content aggregation, and adaptive instruction), and then built a product that meets the needs of these stakeholders in an ever changing world, and in a job market that is radically different to what it was.” Through personalized learning solutions, collaboration features, and analytics, Fishtree ensures end-to-end support for every single student, closing the loop and providing an answer to the “What next?” question; “From this point, we wanted the ability to help every student in real-time, not just through resources, but through connections, helping educators to understand more about each student, and to be able to take the right action when, and where it’s needed, while also facilitating student-driven learning. Our goal is to accelerate the ability of teachers and instructors to reach their students while simultaneously simplifying some of the time-consuming tasks that take them away from their core focus of helping students to learn”, says Nealon.

With the vision of Baer and Campbell now becoming a reality, higher education and K-12 institutions are faced with the most adaptive solutions that have ever existed, unleashing the transformative power of LRM that simply cannot be ignored.

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About the author:


Lorna Keane specializes in language teaching and has taught in second and third-level institutions in several countries. She holds a B.A in languages and cultural studies and an M.A in French literature, theory and visual culture. Follow her on Twitter or connect on LinkedIn.

Image credits: Philippe Put / CC BY 2.0