In a workshop at the central library last week, a speaker gave a short presentation on e-learning. I was able to go, but I have to admit, it was fairly basic. I was hoping to learn more about LMS’s, and what others are doing with them. It seems that LMS’s are too new for there to be a large group of people using them together in the same room.
The speaker has a guest account with a D2L platform for a credit high school English course. She introduced the group to it briefly, but didn’t seem to know very much about the platform. She indicated to the group that discussions were not used here, but could be in college or university courses.
Bells and Whistles
Discussions can be used in D2L; in fact, that is one of the main reasons why we are exploiting D2L and Moodle right now in SLT. Discuss and share. What is your experience like? What are your thoughts on this particular reading or concept? A teacher can choose not to include discussions in their platform, (which for me would be nonsensical, but to each her own), but discussions, and groups are a huge part of many LMS’s.
The speaker had responded to a question about student interactivity. I did stick my hand up and share that yes, if the instructor chose, this option could be added. As could blogs, groups, glossaries, and any number of other functions.
Choose what works for you
I know that for me, and for my learners, there are some functions that are more useful that others. Having clear content, weblinks, discussions, handouts, and quizzes are part of the learning experience that makes sense to them. Or so I think.
What my learners prefer, and what they find challenging, I will find out on Friday. I will create a poll in the LMS to ask the whole group, but for now, I will have two of my learners come to school to be interviewed about the LMS. I chose two; one of whom always did everything I asked in the LMS, and the other who tried but struggled. I think we need to hear both perspectives.
I think that both learners will talk about how difficult it can be to access the platform at home; that they both got so much more out of it when we had access to the lab at school. The more technie of the two will likely be able to appreciate the practice and recognize an LMS’s applicability to the workplace. I think that they will prefer the free-writing aspect of the system, but that they both will also comment on being able to access videos, links, SCORMs etc. outside of the classroom on their own time. Yes, it can be hard to find the time, but when you do find it, you can enhance your learning significantly by using an LMS.
The Future of Learning
I hear, regularly and often, that learning is changing, that education is changing, and that instructors need to be ready to embrace this change. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it here – there is no one stop shopping for learning. There is no one model or method or pedagogy that works in all situations in all times. We don’t work that way.
As Jim Edgar told me once (he was quoting someone but can’t remember who), technology is not going to replace teachers. But teachers who use technology are going to replace those that don’t.
Why not surf this wave and see where it takes us? If there are authentic learning opportunities available for our students, lead on, MacDuff. If these authentic learning opportunities will open up doors for our learners in the workplace, then we have a duty to support them.