I’m prompted by Stephen’s response to my last post on Learning Management Systems to expand my thinking….
Stephen suggests a better starting point is to develop a process for needs analysis in relation to this kind of technology? I couldn’t agree more – which is what I was trying to move towards in the last post. The point is, it’s not much use comparing the features of different LMSs if we don’t understand how and why we want to use them.
The group I’ve been working with have come to this point – and are now designing a questionnaire for schools and teachers that is intended to act as a catalyst for self-reflection about the teaching that takes place in their schools, and how the use of an online environment might assist.
By using a series of prompts and questions that encourage teachers to describe their current pedagogical approach, it is easier then to consider the sorts of online activities and approaches that might be useful.
By avoiding the notion of an LMS (implying an “off the shelf”, “one-size-fits-all”, “out-of-the-box” solution) and introducing the notion of an online learning environment, we can begin to thing much more flexibly about what the suite of tools and applicaitons we want to use might be.
Inevitably we will end up being faced with considering one of the existing LMS products as a starting point – chosen perhaps because of the range of tools and applications it already contains, or perhaps because of the ease with which other applications/tools/components can be integrated into it.
The keyword is interoperability – and I’d back a choice that focuses on an open-architecture LMS any day. Empowering schools and teachers to consider the choices available to them from a position of pedagogical understanding has to be the way to go.
Seems I’m not the only one contemplating these issues at the moment – see George Seimen’s latest blog entry on course management.