Learning Management Systems (LMS) and Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) are used to mean more or less the same thing. For example, the term LMS is used for Blackboard Learn in Australia and VLE for the same system in the UK. As I’m in Australia today, I’ve used the term LMS in this blog.
For me, LMSs are like keystone species of biological ecosystems. Keystone species play a crucial role in maintaining the balance of an ecosystem, which would collapse if that species was removed.
Web & Education Parallels
One way of conceptualising the development of the World Wide Web (Web) is as an evolution from transmissive (1.0) to social (2.0) then 3.0 (semantic). The big changes from Web 1.0 to 2.0 are not the technology so much as the way it’s used. We can map the slow development of higher education to a similar continuum.
Education 1.0: a one-way process
Since the establishment of ‘modern’ universities, students have attended a physical place in order to be at university. The campus (from the Latin for ‘field’) and its buildings are important. Education 1.0 students received information supplied in the form of a ‘stand-up’ routine from a member of academic staff, often lecture-dominated, perhaps with handouts and textbooks.
Hence, in Higher Education 1.0 students were consumers of information and resources that were transmitted to them for their study. Assessment was typically exam based. Only if students became researchers, later in their academic careers, then the results of their activities contributed back to the knowledge corpus