At the research stage, I created several LMS's on different platforms such as Canvas instructure, moodlecloud etc. to get a feel of some essential features required for a useful and responsive LMS and also to be able to build on these features on a different platform. Once I had gotten the needed information, I moved on to the next stage where I evaluated my options on platform use for developing the LMS. My pick was between Drupal and WordPress, both commonly used and well known for different benefits/preferences.
I settled on WordPress because, the developer learning curve was shorter and the platform more flexible for my use (especially given the time frame for my project). With that set, I researched on best themes and plugins and settled on two that have become my favorites (the Lifter LMS plugin and West theme).
After the site was built, I worked with various individuals for the next phases: course development and testing in an education setting. I worked with Dominic Cascarelli ( Michigan Educational Technology teacher) to build some sample courses on the platform, making sure to meet ISTE standards. Beyond this, I also worked with Noelle Smallish (a teacher in Costa Rica) and Daniel Adu Amankoa (teacher in Ghana) to have their students take a course on the site in the beta testing stage and received much needed feedback for improvements through the course evaluations and other direct user experience feedback from students.
This project has been a great learning experience for me and has helped me acquire a lot of experience in both LMS development and instructional design. My major lesson through the many hours spent on this project is always to focus on students needs and work at creating learning experiences that are engaging, accessible across devices, have opportunities for collaboration and social interactions among others.
Beyond this course, I am going to make some more design updates on the user interface and work at improving site content loading speed for an improved user experience, and collaborate with some more educators from around the world to build more courses on the platform, etc.