Going beyond the LMS

Pitfall 2 – going beyond the standard LMS. I like the LMS format. I find that it attends to my sense of organization and I find it exciting to make the folders connected and organized. OK – so I don’t have a lot to do on the weekends!

But the system is designed to be linear and that linearity is satisfying. To a point. There is nothing linear about my thinking and learning (and teaching?!), so I suspect the same may be true for many learners and teachers. But should this tendency to the chaotic and complex be part of decision or is the straight path the best for online/hybrid learning? What does it look like to develop something that may bring learners to a different place then they anticipated? Would this foster exploration or confusion? Or is exploration confusion?

OK – I am being a bit obtuse here and perhaps impractical. Can I be more concrete? So the idea is to go beyond the standard LMS and I am advocating for the potential of a non-linear path. But what does this look like? Well, in F2F learning there is the potential for emergence and digression that can be very valuable to the learning experience. Stories appear, new connections are made, conversations ramp up, significant learning may appear. But can this happen in an online setting? Can the LMS be an avenue for exploration rather than presentation? And how do you design this?

OK – so there are discussion groups, blogs, shared assignments. But can we think outside this framework; find a technology and process that fosters the emergence that can be so wonderful in learning and teaching?

OK – does any of this make sense? How do we use the efficiency of linearity in an LMS to foster the complexity of teaching and learning?

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2 Responses to Going beyond the LMS

  1. Demian says:

    Great post–I too struggle with the linear, convergent approach. I see my course frameworks much like a 3d mindmap (there are tons of examples out there, this is a start: http://www.mindmapping.com/).

    To get to your question about the potential for exploration, I think it exists, just possibly outside the confines of specific LMS. As an anecdote, several publishing companies are clamoring to get me to use their platforms (because I teach a 300-student course). While they all have different looks, most of them are just a replication of the same idea: to deliver an organizational framework for a traditional, linear course.

    I’m still waiting for Google to get involved in LMS creation and change everything…

  2. terrella says:

    Yes, I see your point! I really like having an LMS because I take comfort in the organization. But I definitely realize that doesn’t work for all students or teachers. I suppose all of my formal education has run in a more linear manner and thus my expectations of what a classroom should be like runs in a similar manner.

    I’m hoping that the hybrid allows my structured side to take off for the online portion, giving me more reason to let the F2F classes unfold more naturally (less linearly).

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