A new way to look at Learning Management Systems?

Most of the current crop of learning management systems (LMS) seem to focus more on providing 1-way interaction for instructors to post readings, syllabus, and other materials, send course announcements, and assess students via testing and grading tools. Of course, these are all necessary and important features of a course, but this focus on 1-way interaction and course management often comes at the expense of active learning and collaboration. Yes, it’s true that current LMSs are incorporating some interactive tools, such as, discussion forums, wikis, chat tools, etc., and this is a good thing, but often these tools are limited in scope and features, and are not often fully utilized.

I have been searching the web for a learning management system (LMS) that focuses more on the creation and support of a learning community rather than on the course management tasks of the instructor. At first, I wasn’t finding anything, however I’ve recently come across elgg.org and elggspaces.com which seem to be on the right track. From it’s inception, it appears to have been developed as a social networking site. But why shouldn’t this be the beginning point of a LMS, rather than course management tasks? Let’s create online learning systems, from the ground up, that focuses on ways for a learning community (students & instructors) to communicate, collaborate, and learn.

I have only just discovered elgg in the past few weeks, and haven’t had time to fully investigate, but I’m hopeful that they may support the kind of teaching and learning that I have been thinking about. I will you posted…

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