Learning Management Systems (LMS)

It’s important to clarify a distinction between LMS ( such as ANGEL)and Web 2.0 tools. LMS “use a top-down approach; blogs tend to go in the other direction. LMS offer a great deal of flexibility and the potential for creativity in the construction of the site, yet still feature the ease of use of a template-based system” (Godwin-Jones, 2003). LMS’s encorporate many of the social and collaborative authoring tools of Web 2.0, and while sometimes slower to market and stripped down of features, they offer more security. Lane (2008) clarifies the distinction:
integrated commercial [LMS] systems have a built-in pedagogy, evident in the easiest-to-use, most accessible features. The focus on presentation (written documents to read), complemented by basic “discussion” input from students, is based on traditional lecture, review, and test pedagogy.

Lane clarifies that this differs widely from a learner-centered, constructivist or inquiry based model of instruction, which many instructors believe in. Constructivist pedagogy sees the role of the instructor as one who creates an environment that is rich and conducive to learning. Such an environment might include independent projects, social interaction andor self-assessment. Web 2.0 applications, or LMS better support such teaching techniques and pedagogy.

An instructor who is already experienced with Web 2.0 applications and “lives on the web” may feel stifled when facing the managerial focus of a commercial CMS and wonder, Why can’t I do that? Those who want to offer learning experiences based in audio, visual, or mixed media formats, for example, find these systems clunky if not completely unusable for their purposes (Lane, 2008).

This has been the experience of this researcher and several of those who work in IT support at the schools I’ve worked at.

Works Consulted

Lane, C. and Yamashiro, G. (2008) Assessing learning and scholarly technologies: lessons from an institutional survey. Educause Quarterly. V. 31 no. 3 (July-Sept. 2008)

Lane, L. (2008) Toolbox or Trap? Course Management Systems and Pedagogy. Educause Quarterly V31 No. 2

Godwin-Jones, R. (2003) Emerging technologies: Blogs and wikis. Language Learning & Technology. May v. 7 No. 2 pp. 12-16 Http://llt.msu.edu/vol7no2/emerging/