As I read this week’s offerings, I couldn’t help but make parallelisms to BC’s new educational philosophy, entitled “The BCEd Plan“– for those of you not from my neck of the woods.
If you spend time with “The Plan”, you will notice that it is a virtual carbon copy of of Kasper Spiro’s 2014 article, “5 eLearning Trends Leading to the End of the Learning Management System.” Catch phrases such as “Personalized Learning” and “BYOD Environments” are huge components to BC’s new educational conquest. The two documents are so similar in their points that it makes me wonder if Spiro was a contributor to the BCED Plan! (on a side note, Spiro’s website is somewhat of an advertisement for his cloud-based LMS software. It is in his best interest to convince folks to abandon ship on the old LMS guard!)
My only experience with a LMS has been as a student with my Masters. It seems to me that each professor has it set up slightly differently and therefore, they can tailor it to their own preference. Assessment is more or less the same in that we submit our work for personalised grading and feedback. I am fully engaged as a student, as for the most part, the readings are thought provoking, as are my fellow classmates’ postings. Through group work, I often participate in on-line, synchronous chats. It has been a very pleasant learning environment, overall!
I question, however, the effectiveness of a similar system with a younger, less motivated crowd. Motivated students will learn in practically any learning environment– they are the cacti of learners! They may prefer heaps of sun, but they can still survive with minimal water in a shady bathroom as well.
It’s the classic “reluctant learner” that I suspect would not fare as well, in certain LMS scenarios. The ones who come to class without having read the readings or watched the watchings. Or the learners who can’t actually stay focused on their studies when the course is on a screen. The lure of social media is way too tempting for most young brains to stay away from. I had multiple students beg me to let them sign out a text book this semester because using the on-line text was too distracting.
But here is the thing… Screens aren’t going away. Learning is evolving. Do we not attempt to evolve our teaching practices in order to avoid inappropriate use of social media? (It reminds me of when my school “banned” Facebook so many years ago. Guess what? It didn’t work.) Abstinence rarely is the answer. Producing engaging on-line learning opportunities has got to be the goal.
I also don’t believe in allowing corporations to dictate how and what I teach, therefore, whatever the LMS is going to be, allowing educators to tailor it to their needs, is critical. If the educators can’t personalize the system, then how can the students personalize their learning?