Movin’ on out!: Moving outside of the LMS

What are some of the advantages and challenges for students and faculty in moving outside the LMS?


  • Provides learners with content creation tools and with freedom to choose of tools; choosing tools is learning (Hodges and Repman, 2011)
  • Personalization of tools and environments used as personal learning environments (PLEs) and learner eportfolios
    Web 2.0 tools can be selected based on ease of use and availability (Hodges and Repman, 2011)
  • PLEs and online learning environments provide platforms for piecing together (Siemens, 2004) the small pieces (Mott, 2010) (i.e. Web 2.0 tools)
  • Provides learners with authentic learning, using tools that will use in their professional lives (Hodges and Repman, 2011)
  • Desired learning outcomes determines the teacher’s choice of learning technologies (Hodges and Repman, 2011)
    Provides access to newly developed apps and continuously evolving apps through agile development processes, where LMS tools lag behind, that provide a specialized service(s), such as communications and collaboration tools, where the LMS is offers generalized tools
  • Allows for teachers and learners user management allowing for more open access than LMS: access for multiple teachers, any learners, mentors, learners, guests, etc. which in turn provides peer support and review, informal mentoring
  • Allows for informal and incidental learning (Siemens, 2004)
  • Social media tools provide for more robust social learning experiences (Veletsianos and Navarrrete, 2012), improved student work, increased confidence and motivation (Hodges and Repman, 2011) and allows for creation of and access to Community of Inquiry (COI) with a “focus on rapid collaboration” (Palmer and Schueths, 2013)
  • Social networking technologies allow for learner centred, socio-constructivist pedagogies: Participatory technologies allows for “participatory pedagogies” that allows for “sense of presence”, community building and increased learner participation (Veletsianos and Navarrrete, 2012)
  • Allows for development of environments and networks for sharing resources or discussion, such as: Open Educational Resources (OERs), Social Networking Sites (SNS) (Veletsianos and Navarrrete, 2012), Online Teaching Community Networks (Palmer and Schueths, 2013) and Open Learning Networks (Mott, 2010)


  • Too much choice can be a bad thing: choice of tools is overwhelming
  • Increased workload and expensive in terms of time: if the tool is not provided by the institution, which is very likely not, time is required to research and learn, provide training and support for learners (Veletsianos and Navarrrete, 2012) and requires significant management of content, data, membership, connectivity (piecing together the Frankenstein’s Monster out of little pieces)
  • Complex and difficult to use tools and create environments for inexperienced teachers and learners (Mott, 2010)
    Learners can feel “lost in space” (Veletsianos and Navarrrete, 2012) having to use too many tools and require support and scaffolding (Veletsianos and Navarrrete, 2012) to navigate tools
  • Lack of user privacy, anonymity and security and data integrity; could be in violation of FIPPA (Mott, 2010)
  • Lack of support, reliability, connectivity and very little leverage over developers (Mott, 2010): apps have minimal support, can become “roadkill” on “the information superhighway” (Twitter just killed off Vine. Anyone still on MySpace except for Tom? What the heck is Napster?) and are usually not connected or easily integrated

For Higher Ed students, social media should be part of the curriculum. Learners should learn how to use social media (learn as you learn), how to develop and manage online personas, how to manage their content (i.e. what to share, how to share, what not to share, what to keep private), how to create social networks and be involved in a COI.

In terms of student anonymity, I worked on an Instagram project while at the museum, in which we were creating an environment for K-12 students to share their human rights projects they they create in their classrooms. To keep students identities anonymous I came up with the idea that the teacher is responsible for hosting an Instagram account and posting student work and that student identities would be limited to first name, first initial of last name and location (i.e. Sarah S., Winnipeg).


Hodges, C. Repman, J. 2011. Moving Outside the LMS: Matching Web 2.0 Tools to Instructional Purpose. Educause Learning Initiative. Retrieved from:

Mott, J. 2010. Envisioning the Post-LMS Era: The Open Learning Network. Educause Review. Retrieved from:

Palmer, N. Schueths, A. M. 2013. Online Teaching Communities within Sociology: A Counter Trend to the Marketization of Higher Education. Teaching in Higher Education. Retrieved from:

Siemens, G. 2004. Learning Management Systems: The wrong place to start learning. elearnspace. Retrieved from:

Veletsianos, G. Navarrrete, C. C. 2012. Online Social Networks as Formal learning Environment: Learner Experiences and Activities, The International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning. Retrieved from:


About jhounslow

Soccer enthusiast, cyclist, web developer, e-learning professional, educator, husband to a graduate student, and father of four daughters.
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