The Term LMS: Manage our students’ learning?

After reading Tim Berners-Lee’s 1989 paper “Information Management: A Proposal” I got thinking about the word “management” and it’s meaning in education. Most schools and education systems use some sort of “learning management system” (LMS). Why is it called a “learning management system” instead of an “information management system”? “Learning management system” sounds like we need to manage our students’ learning. An LMS is a system for information to be posted, read and in some cases we ask our students to engage/interact with it (i.e. wiki spaces, blogs, discussion boards). Majority of the text posted on LMSs is static content. Static content does not equate to learning. Learning is a mental construct that develops differently in every students’ mind. Does the term LMS lend its semantics to conditioning our students into becoming one dimensional thinkers? Are we telling students that their learning must be managed? Does this mean we are inadvertently de-emphasizing creativity and emphasizing uniformity? The pages of a unit, details of a homework assignment or the course syllabus is not learning; what our students do with information is learning. We should reconsider our language and the semantic impact simple terms such as LMS can have on student learning, thinking and creativity.

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