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Education 2019-04-15

Learning Management System: Social Networking for K-12 Learning

The enabling of social engagement via LMS aids in enriching discussions outside the classroom and greater engagement in learning. Read on...

By Senior Sub-editor
Learning Management System: Social Networking for K-12 Learning

The exponentially increasing online education market of India has brought forth a proliferation in the number and variety of e-learning tools available for the students’ use. While individualized learning is one of the key reasons for the increased adoption of these tools, virtual space collaboration is also becoming important for today’s learners. Given the growth of collaboration via digital platforms in workplaces, it is important for 21st-century learners to develop social networking skills in their day-to-day learning. This will help in deep learning via peer-to-peer interaction and in building socio-emotional skills to overcome the challenges of working in social settings.

What is the Learning Management System?

Schools, therefore, need digital tools that support formal teaching-learning activities and community building to enhance education. Learning Management Systems (LMS) are, quite possibly, the tools equipped to this end. An LMS helps build lesson plans and create engaging content, manages course delivery, facilitates content sharing among teachers and students, tracks student and teacher performances, addresses individual knowledge gaps by self-driven learning and personalized content delivery, and encourages peer learning anytime, anywhere. The enabling of social engagement via LMS aids in enriching discussions outside the classroom and greater engagement in learning.

Why LMS for collaborative learning?

The LMS provides a platform for all stakeholders to collaborate towards better learning outcomes. It allows teachers and students to create content and share it with others to generate discussions or get feedback. It also allows students to form groups for projects and present their work in a virtual classroom/school setup. The accessibility of all learning materials and e-communications via a singular platform combines formal and informal learning environments, making learning a dynamic process. There are several advantages of having such a collaborative digital learning environment:

Informal interaction for community building: Communication between peers is very important to build a healthy learning community. With online chat options in the LMS, it is easier for teachers to interact with other teachers, and for students to interact among themselves. Students with common interests like, for instance, poetry, music or theatre, can come together to enhance their knowledge and activity in those domains. Teachers with similar course objectives can also interact with each other for the betterment of their courses.

Collaboration on projects: With LMS, class projects have never been easier. Students can form groups and provide teachers with regular updates regarding the progress of the project. Sharing documents and messages between group members, and providing feedback to other group members are common activities that become easier with online communication. Furthermore, students can work on projects anywhere, anytime, saving classroom time for teaching.

Validation of coursework: An LMS can help students share their coursework with teachers and fellow students for feedback. Peer feedback is a huge motivating factor for students. The social media style of providing comments is familiar for them and generates less fear in being evaluated. Also, peer feedback is usually more diversified.

Parents in the loop: Parents are generally less aware of the details of their child’s coursework and the feedback provided on the child’s activities. An LMS even keeps parents in the loop with the help of parent-teacher chats, through which teachers can inform parents about the details of their child’s progress. 

An LMS makes it easy for teachers to implement new age teaching-learning methods such as flipped learning. Both teachers and students can create and share content and drive discussions on the finer points of concepts, saving classroom time for developing higher order thinking skills (HOTS) in learners. Distance learning also gets an impetus with LMS. Students can learn from anywhere—share their coursework activities, clarify their doubts, collaborate with peers from other places and get feedback on their work—with the discussion forum available on LMS.

Thus, an LMS provides a social networking opportunity for students, teachers, and parents so as to bring forth an all-around collaboration towards fulfilling shared learning goals.

This article is written by Beas Dev Ralhan, CEO & CO-Founder, Next Education India Pvt Ltd.

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