Thursday, June 10, 2010

Learning Platforms

This entry is from my Week 1 Blog entry for Learning Management Systems and Organization for Full Sail University with comments from classmates

A learning platform is generally defined as “software tools designed to manage user learning interventions.” (FSO). Some of the basic functions that pertain to learning platforms are:

“Management flexibility, communication (between teacher and learner), active participation (rather than passive participation), use of advanced technologies, and establish a culture of trust”. (Liu, et al., p. 184) While these are general functions, some of the specific functions that are involved in a learning platform include online: “quizzes, discussions, class content, calendars, assignments, syllabi, and course listing.” (Morgan, ap. 41)

The enormity of the basic functions of a learning platform creates a need for institutions and users to better understand the CMS industry. Without an better understanding users (teachers and students) can become lost in a sea of overwhelming technology. Understanding allows for better control and direction for a new emerging technology

The Course Management Systems (CMS) industry is ever-growing. It is moving towards a global mentality in terms of learning and sharing of information.

“As software providers introduce greater sophistication and functionality and as faculty and students become more proficient in their use of the technology, what may become possible is “a major global upgrade of education.” Commercial software developers, faculty, and students are today working on new tools that promise to lower the economic, pedagogical, linguistic, and technical barriers to full global online participation in a high-quality post-secondary education.” (Katz, p.59)

Although there is a move towards the global model, the CMS industry is still faced with a few hurdles in terms of growth and direction. These hurdles are not unmanageable. Rather they must be recognized and treated as valid points to allow for better, and eventual seamless integration of technologies.

“CMS are becoming increasingly more sophisticated both in their architecture and in their feature set. On the one hand, there is a strong shift to a more open architecture for these systems, which will in turn allow for the creation of a marketplace of third-party applications that can be integrated into the core system as modules. On the other hand, there is also a trend to enable increasingly seamless integration with other major campus information systems: the student record system, the campus portal, and the library system. (Meerts, p. 3)

Lastly, use of a CMS in education is becoming the norm “Course management systems are likely to become as commonplace as email and the web. No institution of higher education will be able to do without either an open source or commercial version of the software.” (Meerts, p. 4). As such it behooves educational institutes to familiarize themselves with the characteristics of a CMS/LMS.

There are a number of readily identifiable characteristics of a Learning Management System (LMS). Xiaolin Chen identifies two major characteristics under which all other characteristics should fall are:

“1) Collaborative interaction: E-learning platform must support the interaction and collaboration among the objects, including the two-way transfer of information and interaction between two groups of students and between teachers and students.

2) Openness: E-learning platform should have openness, mainly in terms of time, space and the object. That is, the objects can get access to the information through the system at any time and in any place. OR they can have real-time or non-real-time exchange of information with other objects who have different social background.” (Chen, p. 178)

Chen lists improvements in the following areas once an e-learning platform as been successfully implemented: 1) The reform of traditional paper-based homework into electronic documents. 2) Time-saving and effort-saving web form scoring instead of traditional scoring means, and 3) teacher-student interaction through Question & Answer. (p. 180). These improvements reduce the redundant busy work of teachers and allow for better development of new learning practices. No longer is education simply a one-way street, but through CMS/LMS education is developing into a enormous exchange center of information for teacher to student, from student to student, from student to teacher.


Chen, X. (2009). Design and application of a general-purpose e-learning platform. International Journal of Business and Management. 4(9), September 2009. Retrieved May 6, 2010 from:

Liu, Y., Wang, Z., Zhao, Y. (2009). Research of e-learning system and its supporting products: a review base[d] on knowledge management. Proceedings of the Second Symposium International Computer Science and Computational Technology(ISCSCT’09). December 2009. Retrieved May 6, 2010 from:

Katz, R. (2003). Balancing technology and tradition. Educause Review. July/August 2003. Retrieved May 6, 2010 from:

Meerts, J. (2003). Course management systems. Educasue Evolving Technologies Committee. October 10, 2003. Retrieved May 6, 2010 from:

Morgan, G. (2003). Faculty use of course management systems. Educasue Center for Applied Research. (2) 2003. Retrieved May 6, 2010 from:

4 Comments Manage Comments for this Entry

Sunday, June 6, 2010 - 04:05 PM
Jamin T.
As you mention in your paper, LMS brings a collaboration interaction between teacher and students. This provides a more solid understanding of concepts, and at the same time a personalized learning environment. The ownership of work in a person creates this open atmosphere that makes the person create at his or her own pace. It creates a more technological era and it reduces the amount of work a teacher produce per year. It starts a social participation and learning by having networks of online education. LMS provides in a way a more structural work for students leaving the aspect of creativity and ownership at their own judgment.

Sunday, June 6, 2010 - 06:50 PM
Hey Michael,
You captured the enormity and complexity of learning management systems and you did a very good job to explaining the different terms. I agree that there is value to learning management systems, however in my experience they are cumbersome and not very intuitive to the user. I think for LMS to be embraced by its users LMS needs to embrace learning communities advances in usability and finally advances in unified communications. I have seen a few attempts at incorporating those factors but the take up in corporate training has not been that swift.

Sunday, June 6, 2010 - 10:38 PM
Michael, you took the alphabet soup of learning management solutions and turned into a palatable meal. As we continue to nibble our way through an immense technical feast, it is imperative that we try to keep it simple and have our students and teachers foremost in our mind. I appreciate the way in which you continually examined each platform in its nutritional value for the student and intructor.

Monday, June 7, 2010 - 09:12 PM
Joanie W.
Mike, these two characteristics of learning management system collaborative interaction among objects and a two way transfer of information and interaction between groups of students and teachers I believe would be those of the interpersonal social networks and web 2.0 tools that are applicable to today 21st century learner. This was a great description by Chen that brought forth the second characteristic openness, which I feel dealt with the history of virtual learning environments development over the history of time, space and exchange of information to create new platforms of learning for our students in the 21st century. Great job!

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