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Major issues associated with LMSs

Page history last edited by Xuan Nguyen 10 years, 10 months ago


Social issues


Though LMSs make courses accessible to all learners and enable them to connect with each other regardless of time and space (Godwin-Jones, 2012), the communication in these systems are still harnessed by digital divide in both narrow and broad sense.


On one hand, digital divide involves availability of technologies such as computers and the Internet that are a must to get access to LMSs. Consequently, those who do not have access to necessary technologies are obviously disadvantaged or eliminated from the learning opportunities offered by LMSs. 


On the other hand, digital divide relates to the capability or ability to get access (accessibility) to LMSs. In other words, it is more likely for those who are more digitally literate to engage and enjoy the learning process wherein a great deal of technology-related knowledge and skills are involved (Johnson, Adams, & Haywood, 2011).


Added to these, researchers also point to a ‘participation gap’ or the unequal access and accessibility to the opportunities, skills and experiences that will prepare students for participating in today digital age (Payton & Hague, 2010). Needless to say, those who are less active or have less opportunity in engaging such learning environment as LMS are less likely to benefit from such learning experience.


Whilst some organizations are working to ensure that all people, regardless of income, age, or race, are not left without access or training to use and benefit from digital technology (Vega, 2011) and overall access to ICT has significantly grown in recent years, these gaps still exists and even seem to be widen between and within countries (O'Brien, 2012).  


An interesting observation, reported by Krish, Maros, and Stapa’s (2012) survey, is that the LMS helps create good rapport between teachers and students and among students by increased social presence and interaction via the platform. This signals LMS as an effective communication channel between different parties within the institution (Gautreau, 2011).


Cultural issues


Also related to the above-mentioned problem, it is seemingly beyond question that individuals from developed digital cultures tend to be more confident, engaged, and hence, benefit more from learning with LMSs. Other culture-associated issues about LMSs appear to resemble with those previously discussed about MOOCs.


Organizational issues  


The employment of an LMS concerns a range of organizational issues and it is an organizational tool by nature. These involve LMS selection decision which is relatively risky due to the rapidly changing LMS provision market, maintaining the consistency in and coherence to standard quality and general instructional approach, ensuring the integrative connection between the LMS with other intra-institutional systems, legacy procedures, managing the allocation of resources (Coates, James, Baldwin, 2005; Karrer, 2007; Agee & Yang, 2009; Ellis, 2009; Gautam, 2010; Sampathkumar, 2012). These issues are discussed in more detailed aside with other challenges in the next section.

Workload issues


Ensuring effective LMS equals expanding workload for not only the institution as the whole but its staff and students as well. Since facilitation and maintenance both academically and technically are critical in an LMS, teachers and other support staff are called for to do theses extra tasks. As a consequent, they are expected to spend extra-hours beside class time and outside classroom. This also means, learning in a traditional typical LMS tend to entirely depend on teachers (Chatti, 2010). For this reason, the quality of learning may vary across different courses with different teachers and overall consistency of the general training programed may probably be challenged.


Similarly, students’ extra effort and time commitment might be needed in their familiarizing with LMS-driven learning and dealing with technical problems emerged (Harrington, Gordon, & Schibik, 2004). They are also expected to actively participate in the learning activities and interact with their instructors as well as other fellow students since interaction in both synchronous and asynchronous mode is prerequisite in any computer assisted learning environment including LMSs (Krish, Maros, & Stapa, 2012).


Training and development issues


For both staff and students, certain computer and web knowledge and skills, especially those related to LMS functioning, are required for efficient performance with LMS teaching and learning. This might, again, ask for careful guidelines and documentations and even extra-curricular training activities to get them used to the LMS implemented and adapt to more their new roles in the system (Gautam, 2010; Chatti, 2010). 


--> Strategies for implementing LMSs


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