Friday, March 04, 2005

Breaking Down the LMS Walls

This recnt article by Michael Hotrum Masters of Distance Education Programme, Athabasca University – Canada's Open University, for the International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning (March - 2005).

Breaking Down the LMS Walls

The Internet is independent of device (hardware or platform), distance, and time, and is well-suited for open, flexible, and distributed learning. Yet traditional online, distributed learning methods are anything but flexible, open, or dynamic. What went wrong? Parkin (2004a, b) believes that we failed to appreciate that the Internet is a vehicle for connecting people with each other. We implemented LMS methods that imposed bureaucratic control, diminished learner empowerment, and delivered static information. “In a world hurtling toward distributed internetworking, e-learning was still based on a library-like central-repository concept.” Parkin suggests it is time to explore the true promise of e-learning, and to rework our ideas about how learning should be designed, delivered, and received. It is time to stop letting the LMS vendors tell us how to design learning. It is time to stop the tail from wagging the dog.

Thanks to Peter Le Cornu and his blog Learning, Knowledge & Technology for bringing this to my attention.


Jude said...

Thanks Leigh, the article articulates my thoughts precisely, his comment that "LMS methods that imposed bureaucratic control, diminished learner empowerment" is a huge frustration in using platforms such as Janisons. I am too often disappointed at the plethora of online teaching material that is static.

Leigh Blackall said...

Me too Jude.

I have been a student several times on both Janison for Cert 4 Workplace Training and Assessment, and Blackboard for my Dip Ed. Both experiences nearly made me walk away from the courses I was doing - and I'm a highly motivated learner and Internet user.

I have not taught in either yet, but have met enough teachers who use them and have family lecturing in unis using webCT. I have heard their complaints, so believe these LMS are not much better for teachers either. Good for admin though...

3 very big points for me are:

1. When I started both courses, at least 30% of my class mates dropped out, or suffered terribly because of frustrations with the LMS.

2. After investing all that energy as a student, contributing to forums, uploading resources etc etc, at the end of it all I was locked out of what I had made, left to start again, no links, no contacts, nothing. I didn't think to back it all up, why would I?

3. When I did finally learn how to use Blackboard to my full advantage, the next institute I enrolled with as a student was using Janison! I had to start all over again! Never again, I will use Blogger, Gmail and Bloglines (or similar) so I can take it all with me when I leave.

Next post to an LMS forum I make will be "see comments on my"