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Sunday, August 16, 2009

Learning Management Systems

According to Wikipedia (2009) a learning management system is software for delivering, tracking and managing training/education. There are primarily two types of LMSs, proprietary which is sourced by licence fee and open source which is free to install but does have ongoing costs.

Bryant (nd) has conducted research comparing two learning management systems; Blackboard and Moodle. Blackboard is a proprietary system and is very expensive to maintain due to ever increasing licence fees. Moodle on the other hand is free to install but requires extensive re-training of staff to manage the system. Bryant concludes that the major differences between the systems are central to maintenance of the system. When encountering difficulties with the proprietary system an error is logged and support is readily available, however with the open source system it is a time consuming process to check through forums to obtain information from other users that may resolve technical problems that can be encountered.

Any system that ultimately reduces cost to education authorities must be seriously considered as it allows resources to be directed elsewhere. As with any open source product there are issues that need to be addressed but it is in extending the coverage of the application that provides the community of users to resolve issues that arise.

From my own experience of using both Blackboard and Moodle I can say that Moodle is in my opinion a far superior system. It is both user friendly and provides a more logical approach to scaffolding requirements for online learners. The advanced system of communication offered by various forums provides a greater incentive to engage in this form of collaborative learning. According to Vygotsky (1978), students are capable of performing at higher intellectual levels when asked to work in collaborative situations than when asked to work individually. Bruner (1985) contends group diversity in terms of knowledge and experience contributes positively to the learning process. Bruner (1985)

Bruner, J. (1985). Vygotsky: An historical and conceptual perspective. Culture, communication, and cognition: Vygotskian perspectives, 21-34. London: Cambridge University Press.

Bryant, R. (nd)A Comparison of Two Learning Management Systems: Moodle vs Blackboard. [electronic resource]. Retrieved August 15, 2009 from http://www.naccq.ac.nz/conference05/proceedings_05/concise/bremer_moodle.pdf

Vygotsky, L. (1978). Mind in society: The development of higher psychological processes. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.

Wikipedia. (2009): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Learning_management_system

3 comments:

  1. I recently came accross your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.


    Susan

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  2. Thanks Susan, that's very kind. I'm pleased that you have enjoyed my thoughts.

    Regards Sharon

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