Lesson Development using a Learning Management System


The benefits of using an LMS for teaching and learning? 
Development time is a crucial component of teaching. Accessing information is a crucial component of learning. With every teaching and learning engagement there is also a trade off of time, money and resources. If you have the benefit of a tractor, you will most likely not have to use a mule and a plow to work the fields. If you have access to a LMS, you will not have to build and create a web service from the ground up as a delivery platform. So the trade off is taking the time to learn the LMS sufficiently to use it for your particular intended learning environment. I will use a metaphor. The handyman has a toolbox with many different tools. He knows what tools can perform what task and has confidence in their function. The same applies to using a LMS. You need to know what it can do and how to use it appropriately. If you can have confidence in how to use it then your will most likely benefit from its deployment in teaching and learning.
How well does the structure of an LMS fit with your theory of online learning?
Each LMS has different features and capabilities. You will not begin to use every single feature, so the fit to your theory of online learning will depend on how you deploy the the LMS. If you want to have collaborative interactivity, then you need in make sure the LMS is well suited for that task. If you want to gain feedback through assessments, then you want to make sure that the LMS is well suited for that task too. Being a supporter of the social constructivist theory, Canvas seems to have a lot of good features that support interactivity and easy user interface design. We were able to create a very robust learning environment that reinforced a social constructivist theory of learning.



Learning Canvas was a very positive experience. We started with a topic that we thought was popular and would engage an audience. Our topic was alternative energy. Our instructional learning model was 5E. This model calls to engage, explore, explain, elaborate and evaluate. The question was how can you use Canvas to provide and easy way to take those steps. The first element of the design was focussed on the navigation. It was easy to set up the navigation with each of the 5 “E” on their own tab. A nice visual graphic that was related to alternative energy became the background picture.

It was also very easy to place video into the Canvas environment, Even better we were able to embed YouTube videos into several of the main categoried. For example, the explore section was primarily a video to get the participants attention. Video was used again in the explore section. When it came to the explain section it was easy to establish a posting area where ideas could be shared. So from a student/participant perspective, the course was easy to access and navigate.

Here are my thoughts from a developer perspective. It was easy to establish and build a course in Canvass. If you want to make quick changes to the layout it is easy to do. It is easy to get feedback from the student and also provide guidance on how to use the course from a teaching perspective. The tools that are built into Canvas allow an easy way add structure to a course. The tools are flexible and can be modified as needed, but at the same time they are part of the infrastructure so you do not have to start from ground zero. You can use or deactivate the tools and features that you want to use.

Overall, the easier it is to use a LMS, the more comfortable you become in developing and using the LMS. It is a positive feedback experience. It is not unlike any web-based environment that provides a consistent user interface. The basic building blocks of the LMS allows you to quickly organize and deliver content. A part of the deliverable in this short course was to create a bumper sticker as part of the marketing campaign, which would support the theme of the lesson.

Aleternative Energy Marketing

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