Over 24 months ago we had the crazy idea of building our own digital learning platform – from scratch! This idea became a reality earlier this year when we launched the campus. The campus, as it stands today, is not only powering AdvantageLearn.com but also a number of partner schools and organisations. We are extremely excited at the opportunity to provide the technology backbone of so many online learning solutions and providers across the country. This article takes a quick look at the journey up to this point and what it means for us going forwards.
We have been developing and managing online learning solutions since 2014. Over this time, we have largely leveraged open-source technologies (Moodle, WordPress) to deliver our digital solutions. This was hugely helpful for a number of reasons:
So, at the beginning of 2019, we started to journey towards developing our own digital learning solution – The Campus.
The campus, first and foremost, is a learning management system (LMS). It is designed to deliver and manage digital learning both fully online and in a blended-learning medium. We deliver a number of different variations of an online course at Advantage Learn: annual courses, open-access courses, high-intensive managed courses, and blended-learning courses. The campus was designed to deliver all of these variations at the quality we expect.
We had complete control over the LMS design which gave us the opportunity to meet the needs of our other partner schools and organisations. In doing this, we were also able to explore new possibilities with digital learning delivery. We quickly realised that there was potential that our new digital learning solution could not just power more than just AdvantageLearn.com. The campus could have many use cases if we built it in a dynamic way to support our partners and new solutions as well.
Advantage Learn ran a #educatedontcontaminate COVID campaign in 2020 that opened our Maths Online offering for free. This resulted in 20’000 sign-ups and wide usage. We realised a massive need for schools and teachers to be supported with their blended-learning implementation during this campaign. Following this, we realised an opportunity to deliver our Maths content into dedicated school campuses when the campus reached a mature phase of development. That is when the Neo Series was born.
The campus is now powering over 30 campuses across schools and organisations in a variety of different use-cases.
Deciding to develop your own software is one thing, deciding what to build it with is a different ball game! Navigating all the new technologies, languages, frameworks and tools is a minefield. Luckily our lead engineer, Jason, is a wizard when it comes to bleeding-edge technologies. He was able to provide us with a guiding light as we made decisions on which technologies to use.
The reality is that in any modern software application, there are countless technologies used across the full stack of the end solution. The core ones we use in the campus are:
These were all new technologies to the team, so it required a lot of up-skilling(and fast!), all while we developed the solution. We continue to discover and adapt to new technologies as they evolve.
Although we are celebrating the launch of the campus, we feel the journey has just begun. It is an ever-changing solution, with ongoing fixes, improvements and new features. There have already been drastic tweaks and changes in the first 4 months of being implemented and we hardly expect it to slow down. We strive to make it the most helpful solution for our partners with excellent feedback from our team and valued partners.
Is your school or organisation interested in finding out more about the campus? Contact us at [email protected] and learn how we can assist your digital learning needs.
This article was originally published on 26 May 2021
As Director of Innovation & Technology and lead developer on AdvantageLearn.com, I'm the guy who panics the most when things go wrong with our site! Luckily this doesn't happen too often and I can spend most of my time tweaking and improving both AdvantageLearn.com and your learning experience with us :)
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