Educational technology


Learning management systems (LMSs) have long been adopted by tertiary education providers to be the conduit through which courses are delivered. However, debates about the capacity of the LMS to meet all the required current and future needs of both students and educators have become more pronounced over the past few years, particularly given the rapid shift to online learning during Covid-19. This qualitative study aimed to examine practitioners’ current experiences in using the LMS for formal teaching and learning in tertiary environments. To discern the possibilities and issues, a focus group was held with fourteen practitioners from Australasia (Australia and Singapore), Canada, and the UK (England and Scotland) attending virtually. Adopting a novel and recognised approach to thematic analysis, a Delphi process was adopted on the de-identified webinar and chat transcripts. Analysis revealed several key themes ranging across pedagogical, technological, and managerial issues with the LMS. The findings in this paper have become even more pertinent as a result of Covid-19 with institutions urgently reviewing standards for teaching in the LMS whilst also reviewing their overall technology ecosystems to ensure a suite of complementary teaching and learning tools to enable best teaching and learning practices. It appears the LMS still has a key role to play in contemporary learning ecosystems.

Practitioner Notes

  1. The role of Learning Management Systems (LMS) is being called into question in terms of meeting teaching and learning needs in Institutes of Higher Education. Covid-19 has only intensified this questioning.
  2. Practitioners working in an institution's LMS come from a range of roles and perspectives, from management, educators and learning designers and this fact can lead to competing and conflicting perspectives on the use of the Learning Management System.
  3. Research literature and teaching practices are calling into question whether the LMS is fit for purpose. The learning needs of our students are of paramount performance here, particularly in terms of students having agency in their learning.
  4. During and in the aftermath of the global disruption of Covid-19, institutions are reviewing minimum pedagogical standards for teaching in the LMS, and this work is intensifying questions about the role of the LMS in teaching and learning.
  5. We need to think in terms of an institutional vision for a learning ecology that balances the diverse needs of multiple stakeholders with a vested interest in the teaching and technology space, not least of all, students themselves.

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