The LMS Straitjacket when Information is Abundant and Social

Martin Weller continues to remind us of the immense impact of the super-abundance of searchable information on the web is having on learning and teaching. Martin calls this the pedagogy of abundance (see the latest Slideshare slidecast) and the characteristics, taken from one of Martin’s slides, are summarised as:

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These changes are now with to a greater or lesser extent and we should be expecting our educational technology and tools to be keeping pace.

Sadly this is not the case with the rapidly aging learning management systems (LMS) that are in widespread use. Another strong adherent of the new pedagogy is George Siemens and in a recent post on his Connectivism blog he asks a very relevant question ‘Future of learning: LMS or SNS?’. The second argument that George puts forward really resonated with me:

The wild card in education today is abundance. We simply have too much information and we can’t make sense of it all. It changes too quickly. Many universities rely on a “design today, use for three years” course design model. It worked great in 1950. 2009 – not so much. Greater adaptivity of content is required. Learning resources should be tagged with a “best before date” so we’re not teaching information that is no longer accurate. LMS’ perpetuate the course model. And that is their greatest flaw.

I only have to look at my subject sites from last year on my institution’s LMS (ilearn.bond.edu.au) to see that these ideas are very close to the mark. I am strongly in favour of taking social network systems (SNS) and moulding them into the new online systems to support learning and teaching.

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About Michael Rees
Academic in IT interested in Web 2.0 and social media

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