by ell brown
Today, many schools and districts have opted to use a Learning Management Systems, sometimes called "LMS" for short. These tools serve as online hubs for teachers and students to share files, feedback, and grades. Examples include Blackboard, Haiku, and Edmodo. And while these tools can enable anytime, anywhere learning for students, they must be used carefully. In some cases, this tool can actually negatively impact the kinds of learning that students experience.
Here are 3 warning signs to watch out for:
1. All student work is posted inside the walled garden of the LMS.
In a personalized, transformative learning environment, the most important thing we can do is to provide students with an authentic audience for their work. If all of their work is privately shared inside the LMS, then you're significantly limiting students' engagement and motivation to tackle complex problems.
2. Every student has a list of linear modules to complete inside the LMS.
Learning isn't linear. When students are empowered to make choices, synthesize their ideas, and analyze real content, ideas grow in an organic manner. If every lesson is comprised of a series of tasks, videos, or readings, then you're likely overemphasizing the acquisition of content. Students who spend much of their learning time in acquisition don't acquire the competences required for college and career.
3. Content is scheduled to appear and students do not self assess their own readiness.
In many LMS systems, you can set content to be released every week. While chunking the tasks and ideas that students grapple with is important, it is critical for students themselves to be involved in making the decision to move forward. Students should be constantly reflecting on their progress and getting feedback from others. It's THIS feedback loop that should drive new actions, not a time release formula inside an LMS.
So, as you analyze the ways that an LMS can be used, remember to begin with your LEARNING goals, not your technology ones.