A new approach to Learning Management System is providing collaborative learning environment for LMS users. Collaborative learning is necessary to improve the participatory culture in learning environment. Now a days information and communication technologies are modifying the learning landscape by allowing users to participate and contribute within their formal learning environments.
Features of LMS that Offer Collaborative Learning:
Discussion Forums: These forums help learners to obtain information and to clarify their ambiguities by posting their questions or views. Using these forums, learners can discuss particular topic and gain knowledge by sharing their opinions. These forums help learners to communicate with each other on different subjects.
Blogs: Users can post blogs in LMS to share their view on any subject matter. Instructors circulate the information by using blogs and learners get subscribed to a blog for knowledge transfer. Learners can utilize this feature by sharing their comments or views on blogs.
Social Media: We can integrate social media collaborative tools into LMS to cater to learners’ preferences for the medium; this can be used to exchange knowledge and documents. With this feature, learners can share videos, documents, pages, blogs and views on relevant concepts. Instructors create groups in the social media and learners can join in them to get updates about instructor’s posts. Learners can also post in those groups and share their knowledge with others.
Chat Feature: LMS offers chat functionality for learners to ask queries and get solutions from instructors instantly when they are online. This includes group chat and personal chat as per the learner’s convenience. This functionality gives the option to learners to communicate between themselves. They can also have a group chat on a particular topic.
Messages: When instructors are not in online, users can send their doubts in messages and get solutions. Messages are helpful for learners to communicate with instructors at any time when the instructor is not available online. When instructors logs on to the LMS, they get to see those doubts on the dashboard.
User Groups and Assignments: LMS offers group wise distribution of course content and instructors assign works for learners based on the user groups. Users belonging to the same group do assignments on their topics. One group can’t access the other group’s information. Instructor can post the Assignment online to various groups and learners can submit their responses or project work online for instructor’s review and grading. Using these assignments and reports, instructors are able to assess students’ learning and test their knowledge.
Announcements: Instructors can make announcements concerning training practices by using LMS. Learners get updates of these announcements.
Collaborative learning environment through LMS provides outstanding interaction and makes learning transparent, allowing learners to communicate with each other. Here each learner is a source of information, inspiration, and interaction providing mutual help to one another. Each one is benefitting with the contribution of the others.
In conclusion, the collaborative learning environment enables learners to believe that their contribution matters and feel a sense of social connection with each other while using the LMS. Learners improve their knowledge by team work with collaborative problem solving skills. This learning approach offers possibility for learners to take ownership of their own learning paths and improve their contributions.