Wednesday, September 29

The Way Forward - PLE or LMS

Is This A Dagger I See Before Me?
I question whether the battle of the acronyms need really be as fierce as it's made out to be. Perhaps a productive method of contrasting the two systems is to look at the deficiencies of each and then offer some possible strategies for circumventing any threats to the learner's acquisition of knowledge. I stumbled upon Graham Attwell's presentation which questions the 'ostrich' reaction of educational institutions to the whole concept of social networking.
Buzan's comparison of the brain to a Swiss army knife had me thinking "what a wonderful analogy to use for a PLE", however, having read Mohamed Amine Chatti's post I agree that his perception of the PLE as Toolbox and the LMS as Swiss knife is much closer to the truth as I now see it.

Similar to the knife the LMS may be limited and constrained by its structure while the PLE functions unrestrained. The reference to tools and resources is so frequently uttered when referring to PLEs however I'd never linked the image with the concept before.

It has become abundantly clear to me that the crux of the matter is teacher education beginning at the very core - pre service. There is limited value in parrotting back the readings or taking sides in the battle of the acronyms if the horse has already bolted. This happens to be my personal Soapbox. It has been mentioned in many arenas that there exists a certain academic snobbishness displayed towards the PLE. This is most likely generated by a sense of self preservation due to a lack of academic proficiency with many technological tools, and I would further suggest a disinclination for changing the status quo. It wouldn't serve for the masters to appear lacking !

Sarah Cunnane's 'Times Higher Education' article- "Students Let Down By The Academic Luddites" declares that the use of technology in higher education is becoming both political and academic, while the Office of Educational Technology,is calling for "revolutionary transformation rather than evolutionary tinkering" in the field. What concerns me most in the pie charts is the percentage of faculty who had never heard of blogs, LMSs, virtual worlds or plagiarism detection tools.
The article reinforces my belief that the complacency in the education sector stains all levels.

In Jonathan Mott's article Envisioning the Post-LMS Era: The Open Learning Network he suggests that the very diversity of PLEs and PLNs has limited their implementation on an institutional level, however showcases Brigham Young University's development and deployment of an Open Learning Network (yet another acronym I fear) compromise which Mott believes would embrace:
".....both the efficiencies of the LMS and the affordances of the PLN, rejecting the "tyranny of OR" in favor of the "genius of AND....." 
I came across Jane Hart's post - The Future Of The LMS late in the course and although thought provoking as usual, there seems to be continuing debate and diverse opinions about the validity and future of the LMS. The main bone of contention appears to be the increasing role of social media in learning and the opinion of some 'academics' that informal learning will never compete with formal learning. Intellectual snobbery I would say, and an example of ostrich mentality.

An update on the LMS scenario with Jane Hart's post "Where are you on the LMS adoption curve?" dated November 27, 2010. What I really find absorbing is the comments associated with high value blogs. RSS feeds don't really work for me-the data flows in. I prefer to trowel the few blogs I've shortlisted due to the amount of interaction they engender and rely on serendipity. If I miss out on anything of vital importance I'm sure it will findme via another medium.


1 comment:

  1. I think this tyranny is also strongly supported by the tyranny of the IT Education support of the LMS. The more you use the LMS, the more you need the IT support - especially if you have a "Center for/of Educational Technology" which, in most cases, should be renamed to a "Center for/of the LMS".

    I would imagine that trying to get IT support for your course that uses a wide range of external tools would be nearly impossible, which would lead fewer teachers to use them, which would "prove" that teachers don't want to use them, which would encourage the instituion to support only the LMS. Sigh.