Learning Management Systems in a Changing Environment

Learning Management Systems in a Changing Environment

David E. Stone (Southern Polytechnic State University, USA) and Guangzhi Zheng (Southern Polytechnic State University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-6046-5.ch056
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Abstract

Learning Management Systems (LMS) have evolved from simple delivery and management systems to key pieces of modern organizational learning and performance improvement capabilities. In a changing and globally competitive world, a LMS can allow for improved access and tracking of learning activities as well as support organizational growth and development. The next generation of LMS will need to be open, personal, social, flexible, support learning analytics, and properly support the move to mobile computing. This new generation of LMS must be able to meet the need of the changing environments of business and education to allow these institutions to reach their potential. The chapter provides a description of the past, present, and future of learning management systems in a changing environment.
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Background

A LMS is a centralized Web based information systems where the learning content is managed and learning activities are organized. LMS represents a more general term for a technology framework that supports all aspects of formal and informal learning processes (Watson & Watson, 2007), including learning management, content management, course management, etc. The contexts in which LMSs are deployed include higher education institutions, primary and secondary education school systems, corporations, as well as military. While the goals and assessment processes of the various industries and organizations vary widely, there is quite a bit of commonality regarding the needs associated with the management of learning activities. A robust LMS integrates with other applications to meet business goals as well as “enabling management to measure the impact, effectiveness, and overall costs of training initiatives” (Ellis, 2009). LMSs have the following major goals, with top three most valuable features of assessment and testing, content management, and reporting are (Ellis, 2009):

  • Centralize and automate administration.

  • Use self-service and self-guided services.

  • Assemble and deliver learning content rapidly.

  • Consolidate training initiatives on a scalable Web-based platform.

  • Support portability and standards.

  • Personalize content and enable knowledge reuse.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Mobile Learning: The delivery of learning activities on portable devices such as cell phones, tablets, or other portable computing devices.

LMS (Learning Management System): A LMS is a centralized Web based information systems where the learning content is managed and learning activities are organized. LMS represents a more general term for a technology framework that supports all aspects of formal and informal learning processes, including learning management, content management, course management, etc.

Massive Online Open Courses: Relatively large courses (greater than typically found in higher education) that provide open access to the courses delivered online and are organized as a course. The structure of the courses may vary by institution or provider, and there is little agreement regarding the structure of MOOCs.

Learning Analytics: Learning analytics is the collection, measurement, analysis and reporting of data about learners and their learning activities, for purposes of understanding and optimizing learning outcomes and processes.

Learning Objects: Modular and portable unit of instructional content that contains content, activities and an assessment.

PLE (Personal Learning Environment): PLE is a system that helps learners take control of and manage their own learning.

Online Learning: Courses that are delivered online for at least 80 percent of the content of the course.

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