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Do we need Learning Management Systems?

March 31st, 2008 by Graham Attwell

I’m back on the road this week.

Tomorrow I head off to Karlsruhe for the launch of a new research project called Mature. “MATURE conceives individual learning processes to be interlinked (the output of a learning process is input to others) in a knowledge-maturing process in which knowledge changes in nature. This knowledge can take the form of classical content in varying degrees of maturity, but also involves tasks & processes or semantic structures. The goal of MATURE is to understand this maturing process better, based on empirical studies, and to build tools and services to reduce maturing barriers.”

I will be working on how Perosnal Learning Environments can be used as part of the knowledge maturing process. Could be a lot of fun.

And on Friday I head off to Pesero in Italy. On Saturday I will be running a workshop on social software, PLEs and e-Portfolios. The workshop is the last day of a five day course on Open and Distance Learning. There are five tutors on the course. We had a skype meeting to discuss what platforms we would use and as might be expected we all had different ideas. The first two days of the course are to be run using Dokeos. I had a try at setting up materials in this system. There is nothing wrong with Dokeos. I is a perfectly respectable Open Source Learning management System. But I just can’t get along with such systems. I guess I just find it too difficult to think in LMS structures. So, along with Cristina Costa, who is also teaching on the course, I set up a PBwiki, I was much happer with this. It is quick and flexible. And Cristina has extended it to include several Pageflakes mash-up pages.

I like this and will use the wiki for support material for presentations and workshops in the future. I will also use the wiki as part of the workshop for recording processes and outcomes. Everything is licensed under Creative Commons. So, if you want to reuse materials please feel free.

I guess I won’t have so much time for blogging this week. But I will try to post a couple of progress reports from the road.

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2 Responses to “Do we need Learning Management Systems?”

  1. Hi, I think the question posed by this post is overly simplistic as the straight answer is yes, we do need technological systems to manage learners – no doubt about that. We need to record results, produce transcripts, run admissions, collect fees and so on.

    I suspect that the question you are asking is more about online learning environments or in the common parlance Virtual Learning Environments (Moodle, WebCT, Blackboard, etc). Do we need these spaces for teaching and learning?

    My answer to that is no, we don’t need them but we are still struggling to demonstrate credible alternatives. By this I mean that although there are examples of enthusiasts running courses using these emerging technologies, I am not aware of examples where ‘massification’ has taken place. When the numbers of course staff and learners become large, my experience is that this gets very difficult.

    Cheers, Stephen.


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