Another Design To Address Change

Websites are (sometimes) designed for interaction and flow.

Books are designed for readability.

E-learning is designed for….information transmission?

This is certainly the belief I have. LMS’s as a whole are systems that encourage transmission rather than other methods of learning. The collaboration tools are not the greatest, nor are they immediately present. If they do exist, they are workarounds, hacks, expansion ideas or afterthoughts. Don’t get me wrong, I like hacking around in the systems we use to figure out how to do something. Some systems make it hard to do so, some accept that their existence is a framework that you build on.

I think that the LMS is already entrenched in higher education and will continue to serve a role in education. I don’t think we’ll fully go to distributed resources of knowledge, aggregated by RSS feeds and pipes. LMS use may drop, but I suspect that it will serve as a gathering point that builds in the features of web 2.0, but cradled in an environment where failure or success is not so open to the world. Some students crave that security, and we should at least give that to them in a gesture of support.

That means that we need the fundamental design of LMS’s to change so that they are adaptable, much like operating systems that have applications that run on top of them. They also need to output well designed templates that faculty can use to display content. No current LMS has a template system for content – we can do it with blogs, why not learning spaces? It’s not difficult, but it would be (and in my case definitely is) a barrier to faculty creating good looking learning spaces.

Part of site reliability, or authority, is that learning spaces look professional. A slapped together website in HTML is not enough to attract customers, why would a slapped together pastiche of PowerPoints, PDFs, webpages and links be attractive to students?