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"Learning Management" is the capacity to design pedagogic strategies that achieve learning outcomes in students.

Definition Edit

The term "Learning Management" refers to the capacity to design pedagogic strategies that achieve learning outcomes in students. The emphasis is placed on student learning rather than instructor preparation. A learning management system (LMS) is a software application or Web-based technology used to plan, implement, and assess a specific learning process. Typically, a learning management system provides an instructor with a way to create and deliver content, monitor student participation, and assess student performance. A learning management system may also provide students with the ability to use interactive features such as threaded discussions, video conferencing, and discussion forums

Drawbacks to Learning Management Systems Edit

Certain learning tasks are well suited for an LMS (centralized functions like learner administration and content management). Learning itself is different - it is difficult to manage. Learning is by nature multi-faceted and chaotic[How to reference and link to summary or text]. Organizations that now lock into enterprise-level systems will be able to do an excellent job of delivering courses. They won't, however, be positioning themselves well for informal learning, performance support, or knowledge management. The concept is simple: one tool can't do it all without losing functionality. The more feature-rich an individual tool becomes, the more it loses its usefulness to the average user. Connected specialization, modularization, and decentralization are learning foundations capable of adjusting to varied information climate changes. The following are some of the more glaring weaknesses of an LMS:

  • The tools we use define the manner in which we undertake learning tasks. Using a structured tool like an LMS drives/dictates the nature of interaction (instructors-learner, learner-learner, learner-content).
  • The interface - generally, the initial reaction to the interface is confusion for many learners. I've instructed with various platforms, and the most difficult/disorienting challenge for new learners is figuring out how the interface works and where to get the information she needs. This confusion is due to two flaws in the LMS: 1) LMS' try to do everything - simpler tools, with the intent of performing one task seem to be easier for end users to understand, 2) LMS' are designed as a learning management tool, not a learning environment creation tool ( interface design explores the importance of social considerations: the key criteria in interface design is obviously "what does the end user want/need to do". Current LMS interface design relies too heavily on "what do the designers/administrators want/need to do").
  • Only recently (and in limited ways) have LMS vendors started extending tools and offerings beyond simple content sequencing and discussion forums. WebCT and Blackboard have recently formed partnerships with synchronous tools to allow for easy integration across platforms. It's progress, but still within a "locked-down, do-it-our-way" platform.
  • Large, centralized, mono-culture tools limit options. Diversity in tools and choices are vital to learners and learning ecology. Over the last several years, I've encountered many instances where an instructor was not able to achieve what she/he wanted with course design due to the limitations of WebCT. In essence, the LMS determines what an instructor could do. It should be the other way around - instructor needs first, tool selection second.

When content is viewed as the most valuable contribution to learning, an LMS will suffice. When interaction and connections are viewed as the most valuable aspect of learning, then other options - like social tools - are a reasonable alternative. Ultimately, careful analysis of the learning task and tools available should drive the method selected. For example, there are many fields that benefit from the structured approach of LMS'. Teaching knowledge/comprehension-based subjects are more effective if the content is highly structured. However, as thinking skills move to higher levels, the artificial constructs of content and interaction imposed by an LMS are limiting to constructivist learning.

Feature of LMS Edit

Many viable alternatives exist to locked-down, closed LMS'. Most effective are tools that incorporate some of the following features:
 A tool that is modularized in nature and allows for expansion of functionality based on the learners/instructors needs. ..basically, a collage of tools - individually selected for their functionality.
 Simple, social tools that start with a learner's ability for self-expression. ..and then allow for the formation of connections between learners and content.
 One tool should not do it all, connected specialization is important, and it's the way the internet has been built. Open standards and a high level of connectivity are important. Synchronous Collaboration Tools for the Academic World discusses how things are unfolding with synchronous tools in education (and what should happen with LMS')
 A tool that fosters a learning garden/ecology is one that places a user at the center and allows him/her to explore in various areas and directions of personal interest. Success is measured against the achievement of outcomes, but the pathway is driven by learner's personal goals/needs/context. The instructor provides planned exposure to content and learning intentions and then "unleashes" the learners in exploration and expression determined by their (the learners) choices, not the limitations of an LMS.
 What types of tools allow for this? An integration of blogs, wikis, content management systems (plone), simple social tools (skype), networking tools (Orkut), collaborative spaces (groove, and acollab), and the use of emerging "connection-making" protocols like RSS and Atom.

What is needed in a Learning Environment Edit

What is needed in a Learning Environment? Any learning environment should:
 Have a place for learner expression (blog/portfolio)
 Have a place for content interaction (LMS' have this)
 Have a place to connect with other learners (discussion forum - LMS' have this)
 Have a place to connect the thoughts of other learners in a personal, meaningful way - i.e. using RSS and then brought back into the "learner expression tool"
 Have a place to dialogue with the instructor (email, VoIP, etc. - webct has some of this)
 Have a place to dialogue with gurus (apprentice) - the heart of online communities is the mess of varying skills and expertise. Gurus are people currently in industry or established practitioners of the organizing theme of the community. LMS limit the interaction to learner and instructor.
 Have a place for learning artifacts of those who've gone before - i.e. content management capabilities accessible and managed by the learner. Tools like Furl, delicious are examples of personal knowledge management (PKM) tools.
 Be modularized so additional functionality and tools can be added based on what learners want or need. ..a bricolage of course tools - based on open standards - allow for incorporation of new approaches as needed.

While LMS are useful for certain learning functions, advanced thinking skills and activities (i.e. the more learning mimics real life) require a move away from one-tool-does-it-all, and move towards picking tools for the required task - based on learner (not designer/organization) needs. As mentioned, one tool will never do it all in this type of model. "Informal learning accounts for over 75% of the learning taking place in organizations today. Often, the most valuable learning takes place serendipitously, by random chance" (Informal Learning). Jay Cross states that: "At work we learn more in the break room than in the classroom. We discover how to do our jobs through informal learning -- observing others, asking the person in the next cubicle, calling the help desk, trial-and-error, and simply working with people in the know. Formal learning - classes and workshops and online events - is the source of only 10% to 20% of what we learn at work." It appears that our real-life manner of learning is at odds with the design and implementations of most LMS'. Strongly structured tools, with limited extensibility, face short life cycles in rapidly changing environments. Modularized approaches give the instructor or learner (not the administrator or organization) the control to follow the meandering paths of rich learning. Selecting specialized tools to achieve specific tasks - and being able to add them to the learning environment quickly - is critical to rich learning ecologies Drawbacks to Learning Management Systems Certain learning tasks are well suited for an LMS (centralized functions like learner administration and content management). Learning itself is different - it is not a process to be managed. Learning is by nature multi-faceted and chaotic. Organizations that now lock into enterprise-level systems will be able to do an excellent job of delivering courses. They won't, however, be positioning themselves well for informal learning, performance support, or knowledge management. The concept is simple: one tool can't do it all without losing functionality. The more feature-rich an individual tool becomes, the more it loses its usefulness to the average user. Connected specialization, modularization, and decentralization are learning foundations capable of adjusting to varied information climate changes. The following are some of the more glaring weaknesses of an LMS:  The tools we use define the manner in which we undertake learning tasks. Using a structured tool like an LMS drives/dictates the nature of interaction (instructors-learner, learner-learner, learner-content).
 The interface - generally, the initial reactions to the interface is confusion for many learners. I've instructed with various platforms, and the most difficult/disorienting challenge for new learners is figuring out how the interface works and where to get the information she/he needs. This confusion is due to two flaws in the LMS: 1) LMS' try to do everything - simpler tools, with the intent of performing one task seem to be easier for end users to understand, 2) LMS' are designed as a learning management tool, not a learning environment creation tool ( interface design explores the importance of social considerations: the key criteria in interface design is obviously "what does the end user want/need to do". Current LMS interface design relies too heavily on "what do the designers/administrators want/need to do").
 Only recently (and in limited ways) have LMS vendors started extending tools and offerings beyond simple content sequencing and discussion forums. WebCT and Blackboard have recently formed partnerships with synchronous tools to allow for easy integration across platforms. It's progress, but still within a "locked-down, do-it-our-way" platform.
 Large, centralized, mono-culture tools limit options. Diversity in tools and choices are vital to learners and learning ecology. Over the last several years, I've encountered many instances where an instructor was not able to achieve what she/he wanted with course design due to the limitations of WebCT. In essence, the LMS determines what an instructor could do. It should be the other way around - instructor needs first, tool selection second.
When content is viewed as the most valuable contribution to learning, an LMS will suffice. When interaction and connections are viewed as the most valuable aspect of learning, then other options - like social tools - are reasonable alternative. Ultimately, careful analysis of the learning task and tools available should drive the method selected. For example, there are many fields that benefit from the structured approach of LMS'. Teaching knowledge/comprehension-based subjects are more effective if the content is highly structured. However, as thinking skills move to higher levels, the artificial constructs of content and interaction imposed by an LMS are limiting to discovery/exploratory/constructivist learning.

Functions LMS' need to acquire to respond to reality Edit

Many viable alternatives exist to locked-down, closed LMS'. Most effective are tools that incorporate some of the following features:
 A tool that is modularized in nature and allows for expansion of functionality based on the learners/instructors needs. ..basically, a collage of tools - individually selected for their functionality.
 Simple, social tools that start with a learner's ability for self-expression. ..and then allow for the formation of connections between learners and content.
 One tool should not do it all, connected specialization is important, and it's the way the internet has been built. Open standards and a high level of connectivity are important. Synchronous Collaboration Tools for the Academic World discusses how things are unfolding with synchronous tools in education (and what should happen with LMS')
 A tool that fosters a learning garden/ecology is one that places a user at the center and allows him/her to explore in various areas and directions of personal interest. Success is measured against the achievement of outcomes, but the pathway is driven by learner's personal goals/needs/context. The instructor provides planned exposure to content and learning intentions and then "unleashes" the learners in exploration and expression determined by their (the learners) choices, not the limitations of an LMS.
 What types of tools allow for this? An integration of blogs, wikis, content management systems (plone), simple social tools (skype), networking tools (Orkut), collaborative spaces (groove, and acollab), and the use of emerging "connection-making" protocols like RSS and Atom.
The intent is to give the end user the control needed to respond effectively to personal learning goals (that extend beyond those identified by the course designer/instructor). Learners learn (at least according to constructivists) in chaotic ways based on personal interest, context, opportunities for application, etc. The learning ecology and tools utilized should permit learner control - both for the type of content explored and the manner in which it is explored (variety is the basis for most many theories of learning: brain-compatible, learning styles, multiple intelligence, etc.)

We have recently seen increased pressure applied to the traditional classroom model - to the point where schools are revisiting the physical design of learning environments, as well as instructional techniques. Yet we are repeating the "instructor/school controls" hierarchy online. Linear, one-way, managed knowledge flow doesn't work well in an information overload society. Networks do work: learning communities/networks/ecologies. And, even if linear, sequenced learning works now (i.e. while the learner is in school), the notion of 2-4 years of school and then into the workforce is also fairly outdated. It is far easier to stay a life-long learner when plugged into a community or learning network, rather than having previous learning confined to a content-locked LMS'. While LMS are useful for certain learning functions, advanced thinking skills and activities (i.e. the more learning mimics real life) require a move away from one-tool-does-it-all, and move towards picking tools for the required task - based on learner (not designer/organization) needs. As mentioned, one tool will never do it all in this type of model. "Informal learning accounts for over 75% of the learning taking place in organizations today. Often, the most valuable learning takes place serendipitously, by random chance" (Informal Learning). Jay Cross states that: "At work we learn more in the break room than in the classroom. We discover how to do our jobs through informal learning -- observing others, asking the person in the next cubicle, calling the help desk, trial-and-error, and simply working with people in the know. Formal learning - classes and workshops and online events - is the source of only 10% to 20% of what we learn at work."

It appears that our real-life manner of learning is at odds with the design and implementations of most LMS'. Strongly structured tools, with limited extensibility, face short life cycles in rapidly changing environments. Modularized approaches give the instructor or learner (not the administrator or organization) the control to follow the meandering paths of rich learning. Selecting specialized tools to achieve specific tasks - and being able to add them to the learning environment quickly - are critical to rich learning ecologies.

Characteristics Edit

As previously mentioned, LMSs cater to different educational, administrative, and deployment requirements. While an LMS for corporate learning, for example, may share many characteristics with an LMS, or Virtual learning environment, used by educational institutions, they each meet unique needs. The Virtual learning environment used by universities and colleges allow instructors to manage their courses and exchange information with students for a course that in most cases will last several weeks and will meet several times during those weeks. In the corporate setting a course may be much shorter, completed in single instructor-led or online session. The characteristics shared by both types of LMSs include:
 Manage users, roles, courses, instructors, and facilities and generate reports.
 Course calendar
 Learner messaging and notifications
 Assessment/testing capable of handling student pre/post testing
 Display scores and transcripts
 Grading of coursework and roster processing, including waitlisting
 Web-based or blended course delivery
 Characteristics more specific to corporate learning, which sometimes includes franchisees or other business partners, include:
 Autoenrollment (enrolling learners in courses when required according to predefined criteria, such as job title or work location)
 Manager enrollment and approval
 Boolean definitions for prerequisites or equivalencies
 Integration with performance tracking and management systems
 Planning tools to identify skill gaps at departmental and individual level
 Curriculum, required and elective training requirements at an individual and organizational level
 Grouping learners according to demographic units (geographic region, product line, business size, etc.)
 Assign corporate and partner employees to more than one job title at more than one demographic unit

Learning Management Industry Edit

In the relatively new LMS market, commercial vendors for corporate and education applications range from new entrants to those that entered the market in the nineties. In addition to commercial packages, many open source solutions are available. In 2005, LMSs represented a fragmented $500 million market (CLO magazine. The six largest LMS product companies constitute approximately 43% of the market. In addition to the remaining smaller LMS product vendors, training outsourcing firms, enterprise resource planning vendors, and consulting firms all compete for part of the learning management market. LMS buyers are less satisfied than a year ago. According 2005 and 2006 surveys by the American Society for Training and Development (ASTD)[2], respondents that were very unsatisfied with an LMS purchase doubled and those that were very satisfied decreased by 25%. The number that was very satisfied or satisfied edged over 50%. (About 30% were somewhat satisfied.) Nearly one quarter of respondents intended to purchase a new LMS or outsource their LMS functionality over the next 12 months. Channel learning is underserved. For many buyers channel learning is not their number one priority, according to a survey by Training Outsourcing. Often there is a disconnect when the HR department oversees training and development initiatives, where the focus is consolidating LMS systems inside traditional corporate boundaries. Software technology companies are at the front end of this curve, placing higher priority on channel training.

Conclusion: Edit

The very notion of “managing learning” conflicts with how people are actually learning today. Outside of primary and secondary school, most of our learning falls into the “topping up what we know” category. As a result, we need tools that allow for rapid creation and breakdown. Searching Google, blogs, and wikis has a very quick learning structure creation and breakdown. An LMS has a long creation/breakdown process (and once the learning structure has been broken down (i.e. end of course), it is no longer accessible to learners). LMS' still view learners as canisters to be filled with content – this is particularly relevant in light of the heavy emphasis on object repositories for learning. Essentially, most LMS platforms are attempting to shape the future of learning to fit into the structure of their systems, even though most learning today is informal and connectionist in nature.


Learning
Types of learning
Avoidance conditioning | Classical conditioning | Confidence-based learning | Discrimination learning | Emulation | Experiential learning | Escape conditioning | Incidental learning |Intentional learning | Latent learning | Maze learning | Mastery learning | Mnemonic learning | Nonassociative learning | Nonreversal shift learning | Nonsense syllable learning | Nonverbal learning | Observational learning | Omission training | Operant conditioning | Paired associate learning | Perceptual motor learning | Place conditioning | Probability learning | Rote learning | Reversal shift learning | Second-order conditioning | Sequential learning | Serial anticipation learning | Serial learning | Skill learning | Sidman avoidance conditioning | Social learning | Spatial learning | State dependent learning | Social learning theory | State-dependent learning | Trial and error learning | Verbal learning 
Concepts in learning theory
Chaining | Cognitive hypothesis testing | Conditioning | Conditioned responses | Conditioned stimulus | Conditioned suppression | Constant time delay | Counterconditioning | Covert conditioning | Counterconditioning | Delayed alternation | Delay reduction hypothesis | Discriminative response | Distributed practice |Extinction | Fast mapping | Gagné's hierarchy | Generalization (learning) | Generation effect (learning) | Habits | Habituation | Imitation (learning) | Implicit repetition | Interference (learning) | Interstimulus interval | Intermittent reinforcement | Latent inhibition | Learning schedules | Learning rate | Learning strategies | Massed practice | Modelling | Negative transfer | Overlearning | Practice | Premack principle | Preconditioning | Primacy effect | Primary reinforcement | Principles of learning | Prompting | Punishment | Recall (learning) | Recency effect | Recognition (learning) | Reconstruction (learning) | Reinforcement | Relearning | Rescorla-Wagner model | Response | Reinforcement | Secondary reinforcement | Sensitization | Serial position effect | Serial recall | Shaping | Stimulus | Reinforcement schedule | Spontaneous recovery | State dependent learning | Stimulus control | Stimulus generalization | Transfer of learning | Unconditioned responses | Unconditioned stimulus 
Animal learning
Cat learning | Dog learning  Rat learning 
Neuroanatomy of learning
Neurochemistry of learning
Adenylyl cyclase  
Learning in clinical settings
Applied Behavior Analysis | Behaviour therapy | Behaviour modification | Delay of gratification | CBT | Desensitization | Exposure Therapy | Exposure and response prevention | Flooding | Graded practice | Habituation | Learning disabilities | Reciprocal inhibition therapy | Systematic desensitization | Task analysis | Time out 
Learning in education
Adult learning | Cooperative learning | Constructionist learning | Experiential learning | Foreign language learning | Individualised instruction | Learning ability | Learning disabilities | Learning disorders | Learning Management | Learning styles | Learning theory (education) | Learning through play | School learning | Study habits 
Machine learning
Temporal difference learning | Q-learning 
Philosophical context of learning theory
Behaviourism | Connectionism | Constructivism | Functionalism | Logical positivism | Radical behaviourism 
Prominant workers in Learning Theory|-
Pavlov | Hull | Tolman | Skinner | Bandura | Thorndike | Skinner | Watson 
Miscellaneous|-
Category:Learning journals | Melioration theory 
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