Did You Know?

The establishment of Learning Management Systems (LMS)for online learning dates back to 1995, when the Web enabled the development of the first learning management systems (LMSs), such as WebCT (which later became Blackboard). The first fully online courses (for credit) started to appear in 1995, some using LMSs, others just loading text as PDFs or slides. The materials were mainly text and graphics. LMSs since became the main means by which online learning was offered till date. LMSs provide a convenient online teaching and learning environment, where content can be loaded and organized, as well as providing ‘spaces’ for learning objectives, student activities, assignment questions, discussion forums and many more.

We also had the PLATO (Programmed Logic for Automatic Teaching Operations) in the 1960s which evolved from a s a system of linked computer terminals where students could access course materials as well as listen to recorded lectures.  PLATO was used to create many of the concepts of social networking that we know today: message boards, chat rooms and screen sharing. This platform was viewed to have created a more engaging and exciting classroom system for students than the traditional classes.

By 2008, George Siemens, Stephen Downes and Dave Cormier in Canada were using web technology to create the first ‘connectivist’ Massive Open Online Course (MOOC), a community of practice that linked webinar presentations and/or blog posts by experts to participants’ blogs and tweets, with just over 2,000 enrollments. The courses were open to anyone and had no formal assessment. In 2012, two Stanford University professors launched a lecture-capture based MOOC on artificial intelligence, attracting more than 100,000 students, and since then MOOCs have expanded rapidly around the world.

From the past till now, researchers have studied how to expand education beyond the limitations of time and place. The rapid change in the Internet and technological tools naturally began to affect the structure in learning delivery and design. LMSs have also begun to develop in multi-dimensional ways along with the use of the Internet in courses. The initial purpose of LMSs was to share course contents; they have now become increasingly more comprehensive by incorporating traditional classroom activities into those learning management systems. The most common features of LMSs include but are not limited to checking participation, quizzes, examinations, and discussions, and these features are starting to be used in online settings through the Internet. This is the beauty of Virtual Learning Environments (VLEs). Schools gain a wider coverage of students from all over the world from their learning management systems, thus improving their global ranking standards and ensuring better performance for the schools. The largest multinational corporations heavily rely on Learning management systems for their training operations.

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