On Monday, Blackboard announced that its Moodlerooms platform had been certified in accordance with IMS Caliper, an industry standard for publishing learning data for consumption by researchers and learning analytics tools. This is now immediately available for all of our Moodlerooms clients and, thanks to a free open source plugin, we are enabling learning analytics innovation by any institution using the Moodle platform. Here are three reasons why this matters:

#1. It shows how open source and standards work in education

One of the benefits of Moodle’s open source community is the way that commercial vendors participate, contribute, and collaborate to drive innovation.  The same principle is true in the standards community.  The combination of open source and open standards multiplies this effect. This is why it is so important that Blackboard, as the largest Moodle provider in the world, really take the lead on driving standards in the Moodle community.  Interestingly enough, the leadership of Moodlerooms in the standards community was one of the reasons that Blackboard acquired Moodlerooms in the first place (Moodlerooms released Learning Tools Interoperability  and Common Cartridge code in 2011). Since then, the Moodle community has not only broadly adopted the standards, but its members have also continued to evolve the code as the standards changed.  With our support of Caliper certification, I’m extremely pleased to offer another example of how the Moodle ecosystem works: commercial providers and other institutions drive innovation forward, and the entire community benefits.

#2. Significant Caliper market availability

Last year, we added the Caliper certification to Blackboard Learn. Now that it’s been added to Moodlerooms and we have released the open source plugin, Caliper is available to a large part of the education technology community. What this means is that researchers, developers, and product companies can be more confident and connected when building tools that leverage its capabilities.  Availability and adoption are among the most important drivers in the success of standards.

#3. Enabling research

Blackboard invested heavily in learning analytics last year through two significant acquisitions: X-Ray Analytics and Blue Canary.  As a result, we introduced X-Ray Learning Analytics in January, and yesterday, at BbWorld 2016, we launched Blackboard Predict, which is built using Blue Canary technology.  There are countless projects and studies on learning analytics taking place around the world.  The more accessible the data coming out of learning management systems and other virtual learning environments, the more successful these projects will be.  Some of these projects are being done by our own clients, many of whom have institutional research groups that are constantly looking for more relevant data and insights.

The field of learning analytics is on the rise, and the more we can do to enable research and innovation, the more we will enable our faculty and students to find success.

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