Friday, August 19, 2016

Up the Down LMS

 A piece about George Siemens  appeared recently on the pages of Edsurge with Marguerite McNeal's name in the byline.  Siemens is said to have said that the LMS is "controlled, top-down, by the institution that bought it; it’s closed to anyone without a login. The LMS reflects a content-driven concept of education that encourages learners to master what the university thinks they should know." He is purported to have said this in an article that leads with the question "What does it mean to be human in a digital age?"

 If the LMS works the way that Siemens describes it's because a human being or group of human beings set it up that way. LMSs don't need to be "controlled, top-down." They don't necessarily require logins; requiring a login is a decision made by humans about how they want their LMS to function. It is very possible for a LMS to reflect a non-content-driven concept of education that encourages learners to totally ignore what the university thinks they should know, if it is set up that and used that way.

LMSs are very capable of engendering self-regulation and communication by students. An LMS can be a center of creativity, complex problem-solving and coordinating with others - if they're set-up that way and faculty are coached in how to use the LMS that way. If faculty are on their own to figure out how to make an LMS work to be a center of creativity, complex problem-solving and coordinating with others, well, then it might take them awhile to figure that out, but that's not the fault of the LMS. Teaching is an incredibly complex human activity - an LMS only enhances that activity when a teacher learns how to use this very complex tool for the very complex activity of teaching. When used properly an LMS is a very human tool. Here's one example Writing - The Elephant in the Classroom 

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