Museum LMSs and MOOCs

I was hired at the Canadian Museum for Human Rights to 1) research, evaluate and recommend learning tools and technologies for online programming and 2) to implement and administer an LMS for online programs, both for external audiences (K-12 teachers, professionals, K-12 classrooms, general public). In my research I found that very few museums use an LMS for online learning; about half a dozen. And some use MOOCs. In some cases they use both an LMS and MOOCs. Most museums use video conferencing, webinars and webcasts.


The American Museum of Natural History (AMNH) has 13 online courses for K-12 science teachers for professional development with an option for graduate credit. The courses are hosted in Moodle LMS. There program has been running for over 16 years. They are wonderfully designed courses using a customized template. They are financially successful and well received by their learners. AMNH also offers some of these courses as MOOCs on Coursera since 2014.

Seminars on Science

AMNH MOOCs on Coursera

The Tate has offered two online courses since 2012 in art instruction on Moodle LMS after their initial course, developed in 2008 proved to be unsuccessful.

Introduction to Drawing Techniques

Artists’ Techniques and Methods

The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) offers courses for teachers on Haiku a cloud based LMS with a per license usage pay system. Like AMNH, they partnered with Coursera in 2014 to offer MOOCs.

MoMOA online courses

MoMA MOOCs on Coursera


The School of Museum Studies at the University of Leicester and National Museums Liverpool partnered to deliver the MOOC ‘Behind the Scenes at the 21st Century Museum’ in 2016 on Future Learn.

Behind the Scenes at the 21st Century on Future Learn

The Metropolitan Museum of Art (The Met), located across Central Park from AMNH borrowed AMNH’s LMS to host a professional development course for K-12 art teachers. After a year long pilot, they abandoned the program in favour of a blended learning model that involved workshops at The Met and an online component using a set of social media tools and video conferencing.

I arrived at a decision to not implement on an LMS for online learning and programming for external audiences but instead recommended the use of Drupal, the CMS used for the website or Opigno the LMS built on the Drupal platform, some social media tools and video conferencing rather than an LMS. But I did implement an LMS for Human Resources for staff professional development and volunteer training.

Bates’s writing was one of several that informed my decision not to go with an LMS.



Tate Online Courses



About jhounslow

Soccer enthusiast, cyclist, web developer, e-learning professional, educator, husband to a graduate student, and father of four daughters.
This entry was posted in LMS, MOOCs, Museums and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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