LMS: Friend or Foe

Learning management systems or “learning environments” as John Baker (2012) called them seem to be an all-encompassing way to house various technologies so that students, parents,  teachers and administrators can access them.  At the start of this presentation I did not have an in-depth knowledge of learning management systems (LMS), what they encompassed or what they could be used for.  After the presentation I saw a lot of potential from both an administrators and teachers point of view.  Unfortunately I also see potential obstacles that schools may face trying to put an LMS into action effectively.

 There are a number of issues that I see with the use of an LMS within a school.  Obviously there would be the cost associated with the technology, not only with the software itself, but with possible infrastructure upgrades needed to host this technology.  Bringing in a new initiative from my experience if not done properly with appropriate support can fall flat.  With regards to that, there needs to be training and support for all users.  From the teachers there would be a huge time commitment as they are the ones that are going to be responsible for producing the content and keeping it updated.  Unless this initiative came from the bottom up, I believe that it would be a struggle to move forward successfully, especially with the amount of work that I perceive being part of this project.   Another issue I see, is with the ability of an LMS to allow for necessary social contact.  Dunlap & Lowenthal (2009) state that one of the components missing from LMSs is the social interaction that gives the perception of a more human contact.  This social presence allows for connections to be made between students and faculty which leads to collaboration and allows for more purposeful communication. 

 I do believe that there could be a lot of potential for this type of a product both from a teachers and administrators point of view.  As Dalsgaard (2006) points out, “universities primarily use LMS for administrative purposes, and that LMS so far have had limited impact on pedagogy”(Introduction, para. 1).  The ability to drill down into the data and track students experiencing difficulties would be essential for administrators.  With the ability to use the Analytics portion of this program, teachers and administrators can keep track of students’ performance in order to put interventions in place before it is too late.  As far as having a limited impact on pedagogy, I believe that a teacher would need to see how they could use an LMS system in order to improve their teaching.  For example, as John Baker (2012) pointed out in his presentation, teachers have the ability to link outcomes to specific questions, assignments or test items.  This would provide the teacher with a much more specific picture of how students are doing, where they require more support and what direction the teacher should be going in to help the students.  This type of a product could allow teachers to better structure their lesson in order to meet the students’ needs.  

References

 Baker, J. (2012, February).  D2L story and overview.  Speech presented for EDER 679.29 L06 Elluminate class, Calgary, Alberta

 Dalsgaard, C. (2006). Social software: E-learning beyond learning management systems. Eurpean Journal of Open, Distance and E-Learning.

 Dunlap, J. & Lowenthal, P. (2009). Tweeting the Night Away: Using Twitter to enhance social presence. Journal of Information Systems Education, 20(2), 129-135.

About pjstokes

I like just about all sports...mainly participating in them. I have also recently taken up photography as a hobby (the background pic is one of mine).
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2 Responses to LMS: Friend or Foe

  1. drdoug says:

    You noted the time commitment required of teachers to produce content and keep it up to date. There is no denying this fact unless a school board has resources to hire instructional designers etc. – and most do not. As we think about various consortia models in the next few weeks, perhaps there is time to explore how we seriously leverage resources for students where “content” is the same province-wide. Another point in response is that perhaps teachers need to go beyond thinking about the “content” at first and learn to use some of the tools in the early going that require little up-front time in development or student training. This would include creative use of discussion boards, ePortfolios, assignment dropboxes that allow for formative feedback (as D2L does) etc. Just some of my own thoughts as I read your good post. Thanks Pat!

    -Doug

  2. I can not explain to you how frequently I’ve planned
    to like this on Flickr.

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