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ISSN 1603-5771

LMS in Nordic Countries

home > e > reviews > lms [VER. 7.AUG.2002]

Af Jesper Hundebøl — Morten Flate Paulsen of nettskolen.com in Norway has submitted a recently released (July 2002) article for review. The article is the fruit of an EU-sponsored research within the Web-edu project. The research offers an insight into the current state of affairs in the Nordic countries as regards Online Education and Learning Management Systems here.

In parrallel with the study in question, a comparative study (Australia) has been carried out. Both reports are available online from the links on your right (quicklinks).

major findings

As the report stresses, the 5 countries, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland and Iceland comprise more than 23 million inhabitants. The region has an overall high access to internet and relatively many people are advanced users of ICT. Indeed, the interest in the Nordic markets is growing, not least from the research community.

Recently e.g. the Oresund.net and the neva.net has shown an explicit interest in monitoring the Nordic e-learning market to gather information about trends and developments. The reports submitted contribute to the overall picture and offer newcomers an introduction to the region.

A total of 18 important findings are listed at the end of the report. The findings are grouped in four clusters:

  • the use of Learning and Student Management Systems
  • the need for integration between LMS, SMS and other systems (i.e. standards within technology)
  • economic issues such as cost effectiveness
  • issues of interest for providers of Learning Management Systems


In short (from the abstract) the research shows that

LMS systems seem to be widely used in Nordic education and there is a clear trend towards large-scale online education. [...] Higher education institutions have standardized on a few national student management systems, and they prefer LMS-systems developed in the Nordic countries. Among the 25 different LMS systems that were identified in the analysis, 16 were of Nordic origin. All other systems were of American, Canadian, or Irish origin. The research indicates that ClassFronter, WebCT, FirstClass, and BlackBoard seem to be the most used LMS systems. E-learning standards do not seem to have had much impact on online education in the Nordic countries.

Generally the analysis is well written and interesting to read. There are several tables outlining the points made, and the final 18 item list of findings and the abstract makes the analysis very accessible.

I have only one comment, however an important one, i.e. questioning the validity of the analysis, at least as regards the Danish higher education review. One must question the findings as regards the use of national LMS.

flawed analysis

Without arguing with the findings provided I cannot refrain from mentioning that at least as regards the Danish market, the analysis is eschewed. Only one university - and that is the smallest in Denmark - is included in the analysis, leaving out the Copenhagen, Roskilde, Aarhus and Aalborg Universities, the Danish Technical University and e.g. the two leading Business Schools, those of Copenhagen and Aarhus.

The research includes also college level institutions, and here the biggest, Copenhagen Business College, is ignored. Also five other leading Danish business colleges, grouped together in an e-learning consortium called @ventures, are ignored. The five colleges apparantly all use FirstClass.

Keeping in mind that these leading Danish educational institutions use non-Nordic LMS, the conclusions of the analysis should perhaps be questioned:

Copenhagen Business School uses "SiteScape", Copenhagen Business College "Lotus Learning Space", five other colleges use FirstClass, Aalborg University VirtualU and Roskilde University a BSCW, in other words, it is questionable whether the suggested preference for national LMS is actually true?

author's comment :-D

In a comment to this article Morten Flate Paulsen writes on 20 August 2002 to linqx|dk:

Takk for anmeldelsen av min analyse om LMS systemer i Norden. Du har et poeng når du hevder at konklusjonene antakelig ikke er dekkende for høgere utdanning i Danmark. Men vi har aldri hatt ambisjoner om å å gi bastante konklusjoner for spesielle type institusjoner i enkeltstående land. Vi ønsker å belyse viktige erfaringer og skape en debatt rundt dette. Jeg regner med at vi kan få mye diskusjon rundt arbeidet vårt og mange korreksjoner og motforestillinger.

Takk for at du bidrar til denne viktige debatten.


SEP03 Update: The link to the report has been removed (linkrot) /bot


Last update: 28.AUG.2002

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