7 September, 2018

Out of the Box…

Today we are living in the ever-connected world of internet, interacting with various systems and devices as part of our daily life. Many of these systems work wonderfully in the human ecosystem but many disappear after a short time despite their usefulness. Why? The answer is hidden in the human nature that makes us attracted to those objects that make life easier but at same time, the laziness of our nature, prevents us from learning new things that are useful but complex. Many good inventions are unable to survive because they failed to address this part of human psychology.

Information Technology (IT) falls in the same category. An application cannot be successful until it becomes a part of human life. The Word Processor, one of the greatest IT gifts in recent times is a good example to understand. The history of knowledge and literature is incomplete without the typewriter but the invention of PC based word processors changed things all together. The word processor became a great success because of the ease and versatility it provided to make human lives easier.

Let’s look at another interesting example from modern IT systems. A Learning Management System (LMS) is a software that provides management, tracking and reporting of educational courses. It also provides support to other unconventional educational solutions like blended learning and flipped classrooms. In today’s world, no one can argue about the usefulness of an LMS but despite all its merits, why is it not an integral part of educationists and learners? What is preventing widespread deployment of Learning Management Systems in learning places?

The answer to some of these questions lies in simplicity and making things easier. Web based resources (e.g. Google) Google and multimedia devices (e.g. the iPod) are some of the most wonderful tools available today to facilitate learning paths for those who wish to be successful. Google figured it out brilliantly that technology ought to be intuitive and simple so that it can easily fit in the human ecosystem. They made search so easy and simple that it literally replaced the word ‘search’ with ‘google’. In a similar manner, the iPod revolutionized human lives by replacing many old devices like the Walkman, Cassettes and Compact Discs with digital music and usability.

To make LMS a similar success, it is important to take it out of the box, which means making it simpler and available for everyone without need of any special training. We need to think and analyze like students, parents, teachers and school owners to understand their problems and resolve them to mould LMS into an essential part of learning ecosystem. We need to think how a child can effortlessly use an LMS. How can parents trust a website? What motivates a teacher to spend extra effort/time to learn a tool to author teaching content? Why would a School Owner need to introduce an LMS while he or she may also require other applications for better school management?

To find out answers of these questions we need to analyze the learning ecosystem, human psychology and socioeconomic conditions to understand the real hurdles and limitations in the path of making LMS easier, simpler and accessible for everyone. An LMS, today, is still very complex and daunting for a layman despite all its merits. In a country like Pakistan, where the technology adoption rate is a bit slow, it indeed challenging to convenience educationists and learners to adopt LMS and help them to understand all its benefits. However, with hands-on experience, they can see its benefits and realize how much fun it can be to learn through LMS, especially with interactive games and videos.

Join the conversation! 2 Comments

  1. To the point and nice post.

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