Once, I asked my seven-year-old son:
‘Do you want to go to school?’
‘Of course not, I’m glad to stay at home.’
‘I’m somehow good at studying via the Internet.’
We live in an online era. The era that forces us to quickly rethink values and be more realistic about our desires. At this time, it is better to trust your intuition than the experience of generations. Kids, like none of us, better understand the right path. Therefore, I want to ask the teacher’s opinion about digital learning, called the Learning Management System.
Victoria, you teach English mainly to children. As the father of your two students, I want to ask you what is LMS? How would you explain it for a kid? For example, when I asked this question to my elder daughter, she said: ‘this is paradise’.
It looks like a computer game that helps you to learn and see your progress.
In your opinion, do the advantages of LMS outweigh the disadvantages for teenagers?
First of all, let’s define LMS and figure out how to use it. The system is a software application for tracking, reporting, automation, and delivery of educational courses and learning programs, which means that a teacher will have to organize the learning process by appointing tasks and monitoring the students’ progress. The learners, therefore, will need to sign up for the course, follow the teacher’s instructions, and track their personal success.
The task is checked automatically, which means independent and objective assessment, regardless of whether the teacher likes the student or not. I think this is a significant advantage. At the same time, there is less personal contact between them. There is no communication at the level of emotional intelligence. Someone might miss this.
Hence, it depends on the ability of an individual to perceive information. As we know, teenagers are more susceptible to get information through devices. Tech-savvy will find it even more beneficial than regular school tasks.
What is your first memory of using LMS? Why did you know how it works?
Around 5 years ago, I went through a training program, where a publishing house presented their LMS platform. The presentation was interesting and informative, but none understood the reason for using it. There was no need in it for that time. Only now I realize how essential it has become.
Of course, I use LMS in my work. First, we choose a suitable course for students, then they register on the website and use the materials connected to the course. Then I monitor their progress, track the statistics, and might analyze mistakes in the lesson.
In the context of LMS you are using, what other benefits do you have in your work?
As I said earlier, the system helps to check homework. This saves a lot of time. Moreover, I can look at learning dynamics, statistics, and grades anytime.
What do you think of the role of gamification in educational progress?
Gamification in Teaching & Learning is more effective in my practice, especially for little children. For example, children love puzzles. When I ask them to choose a question, they are very motivated to answer it. Because it is their choice!
Perhaps this is a subjective opinion, but it seems to me that children remember words better when they hear them during a game.
Now, we are all limited by COVID-19. How to teach online?
Nowadays, we have to adapt to the environment. E-Leaning helps to do it easily. In my mind, it may be difficult for some parents who are working online too.
You are saying it’s difficult for some people, what exactly is difficult? Maybe they doubt the quality of such education?
Parents are used to having their children at school in the morning. It is difficult to work and assist kids with studying online at the same time. I partially understand them.
Regarding doubts, I think that they imply that children will miss society. In this case, I can recommend them to attend clubs, e.g. to study music. Children are more interested in communicating with each other when they have common interests.
Indeed, there is an opinion that the quality of online education is not as good as the offline one. The parents claim that children have little or no progress. As a rule, any big change leads to complaints and hostile reception. It takes some time to get used to changing the schedule and learning habits. However, when this finally happens, you will observe a miracle, the child will be self-reliant, will know everything about how, when, and why to learn.
Let’s imagine that we are in the future. How do you think people would use LMS?
Now, artificial intelligence (AI) is being actively implemented in a lot of software programs. I hope it will be used in educational programs as well.
I believe many processes will be greatly improved and automated in the future. Maybe, chatbots will be smarter. People will be used to it as to a routine.
Let’s keep talking about AI. What extra benefits does it provide in the educational sphere?
AI could help identify weaknesses in a subject and recommend areas for improvement. The process is more personalized. Accordingly, the student receives information that is important only for him or her, but not overall information.
If you could develop it, how would you change the LMS design or functionality? Could you give an example of one User Story?
As a teacher, it is important for the system to select and send the tasks automatically, taking into account the student’s previous weaknesses. Paperwork is always exhausting and the system is a relief for any teacher.
For instance, the system prepares the script of the topic for the next lesson and sends one to the student. After he or she completes the tasks, the platform checks it and the teacher receives the update and modifies the content of the next class in order to analyze the errors together or to have additional practice on the matter. Hence, we improve the weak points and work within a student’s capabilities.
From a business point of view, software development is not cheap. How to monetize it? What should be the business model?
Many universities, schools, and commercial companies upload courses to the platform and users may use them for free. By doing this they advertise themself, the so-called hidden advertising. I think that such investments will pay off in the future.
In addition, there are several publishing houses, which issue books which are supported by LMS, in such case, the costs for the platform are included into the price of the book.
What advice would you give to the people who work in the educational sphere?
I would recommend teachers and students use LMS. You may find it challenging and time consuming initially, but try it at least and believe me, it will save your time in the long run and will make your teaching more effective. We live in an information era when gadgets surround us everywhere. We need to keep up with the progress. If you look back, many great inventions were not accepted by society at first, but became essential later on.
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