When we talk about technology-aided learning, most of us speak of e-Learning and LMS in the same breath. LMSs have, undoubtedly, provided the much needed structure to the concept and flow of e-learning, but there is still a lot of debate on the usefulness of such a confined structure and pre-designed flow. The eye of the debate is how this structure might even hinder the effectiveness of learning, instead of aiding it. Breaking down the LMS walls, a paper written by Michael Hotrum of Athabasca University, Canada, questions the relevance of traditional LMSs in successfully imparting knowledge, as opposed to passing information.
Hotrum says that traditional LMSs were built on the classroom paradigm aimed at an efficient transfer of information, followed by tracking and assessment of the transfer. As a result, they were successful in fulfilling that aim, but the drawbacks of the system became more and more clear.
- Lack of motivation for the learners: The classroom had a teacher/instructor as well as fellow learners, while learning through the LMS was an isolated event where the learner had no control or involvement with the content.
- One-size-fits-all approach led to learning style mismatch: Every learner has a preferred learning style, a need that the LMS failed to address.
- Inability to apply knowledge into work: Due to lack of motivation, there was often a gap in retention of the information provided. This hindered the application of new skills or knowledge into actual work.
We think that new-age LMSs have overcome these drawbacks and are indeed successful in imparting knowledge. Modern LMSs do this by creating a learner-centric environment in which the learner is not just a passive recipient of information but an active participant in the process of learning.Here are some of the key attributes that differentiate the modern LMS from a traditional one:
- Involving the learner: Apart from the actual content, modern LMSs also have built in quizzes, tests and question banks, which increase the involvement of the learner. These interactive elements not only help to create a platform for assessing learner understanding from time to time, they are also a useful means to increase retention of information. While tests or quizzes can be built into the content, they have increased utility if they exist separately in the LMS. The learners are not interrupted while reading or browsing the content, and they also have the option of taking the tests as per their convenience.
- Collaborative learning and creation of digital repositories: Today, most LMSs have built-in collaboration tools – for e.g., blogs, wikis, etc. – which provide a space for learners to interact, share and learn though mutual collaboration. Some may argue that these tools are available on the internet as well, that an LMS providing these tools is not presenting anything new for the learner. But collaborative tools on the LMS also help in creating digital repositories out of the content generated through collaboration. This content is continually upgraded, as per the efforts of the learning community. The security of this content is also guaranteed on the secure perimeter of the LMS.
- Tools for interaction and Social Learning: e-Learning is not an isolated learning process anymore. New-age LMSs provide ample opportunities of social interaction with instructors, mentors and peers – through discussion forums, chat and virtual communities. Virtual classrooms, or VCRs, are also integrated with the LMS, where in addition to reading available content, learners can also interact with instructors or peers.
- Mobile learning: Keeping in tune with the needs of the new-age learner, LMSs of today are mobile compatible. Learners can remotely access the LMS and its contents, as per their need or convenience. The LMS can track and report the learner’s progress and sync it the next time the learner logs in though a desktop or laptop.
- Audio/Visual Superiority: Audio-visuals and simulations are often part of the content. This posed a security threat to many organizations, for learners had to download and view the visuals and simulations on their own. To overcome this, LMSs now have built-in video-players that can play most audio-visual formats. The learner does not have to leave the LMS to view the visuals.
There are many more functionalities across the multitude of LMSs available today. All prove that there is a lot that an LMS can do, apart from being a channel of distribution. With the evolution of content and the learner, the environment also has to evolve and LMSs of today are in step – fulfilling the promise of e-learning. Our proprietary LMS – WiZDOM–is an example of an evolved system because it contains all the functionalities listed above, with more on the way.
Do feel free to get in touch with us (Email: info @ gc-solutions.net) for a free consultation on how WiZDOM LMS can help your organization.