Learning Management Systems, LMS as they are commonly referred, are no stranger to the education community. Companies such as Moodle, Blackboard, D2L have been around for years. But these companies use a very traditional approach, where the teachers drive the content, pace and instruction, giving students little to no control or flexibility in creating content.
A typical LMS is designed to provide a learning environment beyond the walls of the classroom. Teachers have the ability to post assignments, discussions, media and other useful information that allows students to learn, share and collaborate 24/7. While all of these are great, they still do not give students the ability to create their own content, pull content on their own that is relevant to instruction or facilitate how to learn in a style that best fits their needs.
My ideal LMS would have the features/functionality of the standard platforms today allowing for all the items listed above, but the difference would be as a teacher/facilitator (because the role changes in this environment) presents information on a particular topic, the student has the ability to choose various media/text content from multiple sources (both published and open) to enhance his/her learning experience. That student would also have the ability to create content and share with others in his/her learning group. In this world, the teacher becomes a facilitator of learning, a guide to help students navigate through the learning.
Learning Management Systems require that an educational institution already made a significant investment in other technology services such as dense wireless, access for all students (either via 1:1 or personal devices) and sufficient staff training on how to effectively implement the LMS.
As you either evaluate the current LMS in your district or look for a new solution, keep some of these thoughts in mind on how you want the LMS to play a role in your schools and how it will be used by teachers and students.
JDS | CIO