We are in the tech-smart era; things are becoming easy to use in the day-to-day chore. The evolution of technology is moving on to next level of Cloud-based computing; data are stored on servers but not on a local disk. E-learning developers have done a contemplated research on the Cloud-based services looking into the core of technology with both developer and user perspective.
But, before speaking about the technical challenges faced in Cloud-computing, here is a brief summary of how Cloud-based services works and their models:
- Service model: IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service), PaaS (Platform as a Service) and SaaS (Software as a Service).
- Deployment model: Public, Private, Community, Virtual desktop
- Users: Service providers, System Admin & Developers
- Features: On-demand service
Presently, cloud-based services are facing many issues which must be addressed before adopting it for an LMS solution. Major issues and technological flaws are mentioned below which disrupt the amalgamation of eLearning and cloud-based services are listed below:
- Scalability: Well it is obvious that cloud-based computing technology is something that is available at cheaper costs because there is no need to buy a software package and go through installation and upgradation procedures. However, once you decide to scale-up your business for more number of users, the cost of implementation will increase as per the number of new users get enrolled.
- Security: One of the major issues in cloud LMS implementation is content security measures. A high-level security concern is required in cloud-based eLearning where data is at mercy of your cloud providers. Vulnerability in data leakage is a crucial concern of cloud-based service.
- Customization: To achieve great rating score in user experience, a decent customization availability is needed. LMS providers often offer a standard user interface for everyone. Therefore, you are in a mandate situation where you have to opt for what they offer in customization.
- Branding: Speaking as in user’s perspective, it is crucial to make your user feels like they are not redirected to a different place on a very different platform (as they know your website but not the LMS platform). Cloud LMS comes with default themes and logo placeholder where styles and navigation are minimal etc.
- Total Cost of Ownership: Comparatively with in-house based LMS, cloud-based LMS is cheaper for the initial business set-up. However, once you decide to expand your business with more number of users, the operational cost increases in term of every new user subscriptions leading to high course delivery cost. Moreover if you opt-in for additional features, integrations, security and performance implementations, ultimately the cost will also elevate.
- Restriction to usage in another country: Many countries do not find cloud-based LMS as a secure gateway for eLearning and restrict their access due to legal issues. Thus, it is important for cloud-based LMS to follow the government legal guidelines to host which is possibly a loophole 🙁
Thus, the decision of choosing the Cloud LMS for you should be driven-based on the relative comparison of weighing in all technical and non-technical factors, including the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO), Return of Investments, Licensing etc. The upfront cost of On-premise LMS could be higher than cloud-based LMS, still while looking for a long-term usage benefit it level-up. On-premise LMS gives the freedom of customization and branding the platform, easy to migrate from different versions, one-time licensing & annual maintenance cost, no server restrictions for usage with overseas users, etc.
As the things stand now it is about continuing towards perfection in LMS implementation. On-Premise LMS gives you the freedom to customize the platform as per your brand. No additional cost is incurred as per the increase in user subscription.