This post first appeared on MindShift.

Helping students become networked learners begins by thinking carefully about where we conduct our online learning. Most online learning in higher education and in K-12 takes place in Learning Management Systems (LMS) such as Canvas, Moodle or Blackboard. In higher education in particular, these LMS are designed to scale up the distribution of course materials — by default they are configured to distribute syllabi, course readings and assignments. Student contributions are usually limited to discussion forums and assignment submissions.

Since these are institutionally managed spaces, students can lose control over what they submit to the LMS. At many universities, after three or six months, the sites are deleted, and all of the intellectual contributions that students are asked to make to forums or assessments are washed away. While LMS offer certain advantages for scaling standard experiences, these spaces are homogenized, transient and disempowering. As Jim Groom and Brian Lamb argue in “Reclaiming Innovation,” their critique of learning management systems, the fundamental problem is that learning management systems are ultimately about serving the needs of institutions, not individual students…

To learn more about Breaking out of the LMS and Tools for Connected Learning, read the full article on MindShift.

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