Creating Collaborative and Convenient Learning Environment Using Cloud-Based Moodle LMS: An Instructor and Administrator Perspective

Creating Collaborative and Convenient Learning Environment Using Cloud-Based Moodle LMS: An Instructor and Administrator Perspective

Vikas Kumar (School of Business Studies, Sharda University, Greater Noida, India) and Deepika Sharma (Jagannath University, Jaipur, India)
DOI: 10.4018/IJWLTT.2016010103
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Abstract

Students in the digital era are habitual of using digital devices not only for playing and interacting with their friends and peers, but also as a tool for education and learning. These digital natives are highly obsessed with the internet driven portable devices and always demand for a multimedia rich content. This specific demand needs to be addressed by college teachers in the teaching -learning pedagogy design and implementation. The integration of pervasive computing in traditional classroom pedagogy can boost new learning experience for cyber savvy students in higher education. Learning Management System (LMS) as a pervasive computing can be embedded in classroom pedagogy to support learning inside and outside the classroom. LMS can play a supportive role to teachers and administrators in higher education to facilitate them in their work. This becomes more significant to the teachers and administrators, when the LMS is based upon the cloud computing platform. This paper explores the significance of various components of cloud-based open source Moodle Learning Management System with a specific focus on teachers and administrators in higher education. A learning theory approach has been followed to map the requirements of the teachers and the administrators and specific cases and examples have been presented.
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Introduction

Learning is an integral part of the human life and occurs from birth to life long. Learning refers to the process of acquiring new or modifying existing knowledge, behaviours, skills and values and it may also involve synthesizing different types of information (Phillips et al., 2010). Traditional learning pedagogy is limited within the classroom boundary with limited student’s participation. It is also restricted by time and place limitations (Lehtinen et al., 1999). The learning process traditionally is managed, governed and controlled by teachers in the classroom, whereas the student is a passive receiver. Various educationists and pedagogy experts favoured the student participation in learning process during classroom activities (Naidu, 2006; Felder & Silverman, 1988), advocating a shift in the teaching – learning pedagogy.

Learning framework can be broadly categorised as: Cognitivism, Behaviourism and Constructivism. Human cognitivism is focused on the acquisition of knowledge (Greeno, 1980), whereas behaviourism focuses on observable aspects of learning (Smith & Ragan, 1999). Constructivist theory on the other hand focuses on activity –based approach to construct new ideas or concepts (Smith & Ragan, 1999). According to Froebel (Froebel quoted in Palmer, 2002), self-activity helps to exercise and develop intellectual powers and knowledge. Wenger (2000) also points out that learning is interplay between social competence and personal experience. Heidegger (quoted in Palmer, 2001) viewed learning as a demanding and participatory affair with active engagement of learner. This favours the learning approach of Kagan (1994) to organize classroom activities into academic and social learning experiences. According to Kagan, students can learn with face to face interaction, individual and in group for knowledge building. This method supports the group learning in academic environment with higher level thinking and improved social skills. In group learning communication is more powerful when participation of individuals is more active (Freire in Nyirendra, 1996). Johnson et al. (2009) have also described the individual growth of human in dynamics of group. The idea can be utilized in education where teachers and students can co-participate in active dialogue in higher education. For active participation and communication of learners in an activity, some tool mediation will play an important role for flow of ideas (Vygotsky, 1978). Computer as a mediation tool will provide great benefits for communication and participation for teachers and students in the academic environment. Various researchers and academicians have explored the computer supported activity in sharing the experience and knowledge in social environment (Mwanza, 2001; Sweeney & Baggo, 2004). According to Bruner (1966 quoted in Hymas, 1974), computing network facilitates learning for constructing knowledge by students. Computer supported teaching tool provides interaction via text, chat, audio or video real time communication (Stuckey & Barab quoted in Andrews & Haythornthwaite, 2007). It also provides contributions of students, in collaborative learning and exchange of ideas with peers (Koschmann et al., 1996). Collaborative learning moves the learning process beyond the classroom boundary (Abel, 2009). Collaborative learning environment facilitates teachers and students, who are geographically situated on or off campus via online discussion, face to face lectures and other blended learning modes (Kazmer, 2007). For structuring the collaboration in online mode, technological aspects become very much important. Digital tools will support the technological perspective in designing the online collaborative learning environment.

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