Personal Learning Environment vs. Learning Management System

It was very interesting to read through the overview of the process of designing a distance education course in Moore and Kearsley (2012). There are several components and steps involved in creating the final product. I feel as though the author-editor model would place students at a disadvantage compared to the team model. I would assume that a team consisting of experts and designers and individual with experience in the field could provide a wider range of information and learning tools than a pair of individuals.

As I began reading more on this topic I found a new learning concept called the Personal Learning Environment. This concept has the ability to eventually replace the rigidity and structured presence of the current Learning Management Systems. The following website is geared towards educators and explains how to create a personal learning environment. I think that all educators should be required to stay abreast of new concepts of learning and teaching and this is an excellent way to do that, by starting their own PLE. Students’ needs are evolving and it is the responsibility of the educators to meet those needs.

Using a PLE would allow students to adapt a digital environment conducive to their own learning needs. Instructional designers would then need to shift their focus to designing platforms for student use as opposed to structured platforms for teacher use. A drawback to this concept would be the difficulty in oversight and management of this type of environment. Using an LMS provides a very structured digital environment, almost a virtual classroom, where assignments are located, information is stored, and data is tracked. This allows educators and schools to track students and properly assess their progress. In order for PLEs to work their way into the mainstream there would need to be effective assessment tools and tracking abilities tied into each PLE. How can this be achieved? I do not know the answer to this question yet but I’m hoping by the end of my MDE program I will have the answer.

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