Posts Tagged 'LMS'

How do you find and implement a new Learning Management System (LMS)?


http://www.slideshare.net/natknit/pls-lms-search-quest

I’ve been trying to think of some of the projects I most enjoyed over the past few years. I know Christy posted this already in her blog, but I’d thought I’d share our journey to selecting a new Learning Management System with all of you.   This was quite a journey we took to find a new Learning Management system. I have to say it’s been one of the projects I’ve been most proud to work on during my entire career. I learned much more about working effectively with a virtual team on this project than during my seven years at a technology development company.  Of all the highlights of this journey I’m most proud of the work we did to provide a usability test and develop a comprehensive training package that prepared our users for the transition from our old LMS to Sakai.  Overall, we’re very happy with Sakai and our contract with rSmart to house and maintain our LMS (not our content).  As we noted in the presentation we reviewed and tested several LMSs and even several vendors before we found one that met our needs.  For me this was a lesson in the value of thorough planning rather than making snap and uneducated decisions about choosing any type of system or vendor.

A fun note, we used ToonDoo to create slides around a narrative about our story, and we told our story to the slides. Christy even opened our preso by playing the Star Trek theme. Fun times!

My recommendations for getting started in Second Life

I found a Blackboard booth… ironic isn’t it?

If you combined Second Life with Blackboard, you’d get… anyone, anyone?

Our experiences with blackboard have been somewhat limited. Their communication and chat tools didn’t work very well. There system seems fine for people who only want to communicate via e-mail or forum, but that is so 1990’s. I found it interesting that they had a booth presence in Second Life.

Well, on the other hand, it’s good to know that Blackboard is at least aware of Second Life.

Blackboard booth in Second Life

So far in my exploration of Second Life I’ve come the following conclusions about introducing or applying Second Life for educational purposes:

1. Makes sure initial participation is voluntary - the learning curve on Second Life is so high that it will frustrate even those with moderate tech savvy abilities. Draw in the people who are really curious and motivated to use it first. Grow this group of people as SL experts and mentors.  Still, encourage all folks to try… just because something is ‘hard to do’ doesn’t mean that it isn’t worth while.

2. Teach students how to teleport to a location – give them initial instructions on how to get to the first meeting point.

3. Provide interesting orientation activities - take a field trip as a group in the “NMC Orientation” to learn the basics of moving, talking, using inventory, changing appearance, etc. As a leader you can provide a walk through tour of the orientation area (just to show students where everything is). But you should also encourage students to return and practice some of the things on their own. You can even set up a task list of things that participants need to complete by week 1, etc. Also have appointed meeting times in SL so participants can interact with each other and even share what they’ve learned or made.

4. Participate socially - attend live learning events in SL through the SLED calendar. The best part of Second Life is interacting with other SL inhabitants and even learning from them.

5. Encourage students to share their learning with each other – Second Life and the tool interface is so complex that one person can’t effectively and quickly learn all the features. If learners share what they’ve learned with each other they can ramp up quickly.

I would love to set up a social learning group in SL that focuses on how to communicate and build things. I’m thinking I can get a few people to do this. I’d even be willing to help orient some people on how to use the features and tools.

One thing, that sort of perturbs me is the land costs. From what I’ve read, land costs in SL have grown because of speculation. Crazy isn’t it? I guess virtual ain’t free.


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