Learning Management Systems

What is an LMS?   It’s a software application that administers, records, delivers, reports and tracks a program of E-learning.   It is used for classroom events, on-line teaching, and  training programs.

  • Blackboard Learning System is an example of a Learning Management System.  It has open architecture, course management, and a scalable design.    Blackboard includes Content, Calendars, Assignments, a Grade Book, Learning Modules, a Media Library, Chat, Mail, and Discussions.
  • A free software platform for e-learning is Moodle.   It has 72,000 sites, 57,000,000 users, and it offers 5,000,,000 courses.  Some of Moodle’s features include discussion forums, file downloading, on-line news, on-line quizzes, grading and instant messaging.
  • John Baker developed Desire2Learn in 1999.It includes an e-learning enterprise suite which serves as a Learning Management System for schools in the United States, Australia, Canada, and the United Kingdom.  The extensive services offered by Desire2Learn include hosting, courseware development, web design, and training.
  • Edmodo is a social utility for students, their parents, and teachers.   It was started by Nicolas Borg and Jeff O’Hara in 2008 in Chicago.   Teachers can post assignments on Edmodo, and students can post their work and view their grades and participate in discussions.

There are benefits to using Learning Management Systems in the classroom.

  • Some of them, such as Sakai, can be deployed relatively easily by novice technology users, and they can also be updated fairly easily, to reflect changes in the material being taught, newer approaches to learning.   If students are being taught how to operate a machine, and a newer version of that machine is introduced, lessons can be altered to reflect these changes.
  • Another benefit of an LMS is frequency of evaluation and feedback can both increase.    Being tested more often, the student can redirect his efforts when he gets off track, and the presence of constant one-on-one feedback  can sometimes motivate the student to move along a bit faster, having to redo only the steps or elements that he does not learn the first time, rather than having to wait while his entire class learns a new concept.
  • Open source Learning Management Systems, such as Moodle and Sakai, have definite cost advantages to budget challenged school districts.
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