Learning management systems (LMS) are web-based systems that allow teachers and learners to interact and share materials online. Learning management systems (LMS) have been verified as a tool that support a productive advance to support active learning and knowledge acquisition. A key toward successful and efficient application of LMS is the way in which stakeholders perceive and adopt the learning tool. This study will explore teacher perception on learning management systems as a teaching tool.
E-learning emerged by the end of 20th century and has drastically overtaken the entire learning paradigm, having the capacity of being effective education technique. In fact, teachers have considered the tool to have capacity of supporting students’ active involvement in the learning process while it engage shift toward the learner-centered education (Carron, Marty & Heraud, 2008). In fact, effective e-learning process tends to enhance communication and collaboration hence encouraging beneficial advance and group activities toward knowledge achievement. The increased application of online approach and system of learning such as the learning management systems (LMS) has been a relevant response in the aspect of higher education system and the current approaches of building and integrating global information society (Buabeng-Andoh, 2012).
Initially, teaching and learning through the learning management systems (LMS) appears to have been directed toward distance learning which was reasonable since online studies was the only way for acquiring knowledge for students who were far from the learning institution. Despite this, the application of this tool was extended to cover face-to-face and the blended delivery (Coates, James & Baldwin, 2005). For the learners, they have a chance of perceiving information at they pace and for the teachers, it has been a valuable tool that offers individual approach and improvement of available teaching practices. It is obvious that there are different learning patterns and students execute different ways of recognizing knowledge that is hard to be well provided in classroom setting. Hence, in such a situation, technology tend to enhance the learning process, meet distinguished interests which gives automatic success of learning outcomes (Buabeng-Andoh, 2012).
Learning Management Systems (LMSs) In Education
With the increased adoption of internet, there has been enhanced acceptance of learning management systems (LMSs) among educational institutions. According to teacher perception, this has been achieved due to availability of technological infrastructure especially the Internet (Coates, James & Baldwin, 2005). In fact, teachers considers that web-based learning environment has been developed which has achieved rich learning resources for all types of students, interactive learning environments for students, course materials and teachers, and cross-cultural cooperation knowledge prospects. Indeed, the web-based learning systems have been creating a room for teachers and students interactions with each other anywhere and anytime for their own benefits (Buabeng-Andoh, 2012).
According to perception and what teachers holds, some of the common LMS among many learning institutions are WebCT, Moodle, Blackboard, LAMS, and SAKAI. Highlighting something about Blackboard, it is the most popular and common LMSs that is adopted in the higher education institutions. The Blackboard tools have potentiality of changing the manner in which teachers teach and the way learners learn (Coates, James & Baldwin, 2005). Nonetheless, the tool provides greatly interactive process for learning that is easily customized toward meeting the students’ individual needs. In fact, the systems are in a position to impact the collection and expansion of online resources hence impacting traditional teaching approaches, while inaugurating novel layer of complications to the management of teaching programs (Carron, Marty & Heraud, 2008).
Despite leaving in the digital era, there are slower changes that have been impacting the instructional practices utilizing technologies which are caused by various level of teacher recognition of the e-learning tools (Wang et al., 2012). However, many teachers have been considering technology as a complementary teaching approach and it is not a significant component for attaining successful teaching-learning process (Buabeng-Andoh, 2012). In fact, some of the teachers have feared that the online interaction process between the students and the teacher tends to replace the normal face-to-face communication. As well, other teachers tend to lack relevant motivation or time to ensure they become professionals’ users of the online systems which tends to limit the use of this innovative pedagogy. Conversely, the barricades to the application of innovations have been comprehensible (Buabeng-Andoh, 2012). Despite this, tutors require to be convinced on the values that are attached to LMSs as well as other tools of online learning. It has become a reality that current effective teaching process attracts effective technology application (Carron, Marty & Heraud, 2008). Nonetheless, according to research there are suggestions that institutions are yet to attain higher levels of effective technology application even in the technology advanced states. In addition, technologies that are used in various parts of the world have not attained full capacity of facilitating student learning process since they only support teacher-based coaching and tend not to develop learner-centered pedagogy. It is the best time to consider investing on creative and innovative ways of using innovation toward improving learning and teaching (Wang et al., 2012).
The above certainties indicate that teacher perceptions on technology use tend to play a crucial role in successful incorporation of technology in learning and teaching. As noted by Sun et al., (2008), teachers’ principles tend to be directed toward the heart of teaching and are always in grim need to be connected with harmonious approach of teaching. With this, it can be maintained that, changes upon teaching style with use of technology calls for changes in teachers’ certainties. Additionally, teaching convictions tends to place impact upon the institutional policies and practices. As well, research has detailed that teachers need to see the direct connection between curriculum and technology especially which they are responsible for (Buabeng-Andoh, 2012).
In fact, real technology incorporation takes place in a situation where it is efficiently applied toward curriculum and to the student learning (Martín-Blas & Serrano-Fernández, 2009). The process of integrating technology into curriculum and to the student learning indicates that, teacher is a crucial part of technology incorporation. With the aspect that technology has been a core component in our lives, capacity to understand implications, utilization its potentiality and how to remain comfortable with its impact are essential skills for current situations (Wang et al., 2012). Generally, new technologies do not guarantee cause changes in pedagogical practices, rather than reinforcing the available pedagogical outlook and foundation. Nevertheless, victorious application of computer technology necessitates instructional changes for constructivist tutoring entailing learner-centered teaching (Carron, Marty & Heraud, 2008).
With the adoption of computer assisted language learning, it has been argued that computer software may be used as a standard for communication and cooperation. Computers and Internet have been considered as tools that have potential in the field of language learning. Computers have been presenting greater potentiality to facilitate language input due to the capacity to incorporate multimedia materials like images, videos and text in a single screen (Buabeng-Andoh, 2012). Despite this, language teachers tend not to be determined on the technologies that are considered for the use and technology incorporation which has been an issue. Hence, the need for teachers’ education and learning training in this area is increasingly remained essential (Wang et al., 2012). According to teacher perception, the future for technology and learning management system has been connected with language teacher education since language teachers have a pivotal role. Teachers are expected to select the best tools that are aimed toward supporting the teaching process and determining the excellent learning management system and how it needs to be exposed to students and how to use it (De Smet et al., 2012).
Conversely, many of the language teachers have been leaving the certification and degree programs with nothing in terms of formal training on application of technology especially in language teaching (Martín-Blas & Serrano-Fernández, 2009). In changing the pedagogical practices via technology, a teacher is expected to arrive at the maximum height of digital competency with tools and have capacity of thinking creatively. It is relevant for teachers to maintain a holistic perspective of the philosophies and principles following the design of the e-learning management system with an aim of better applying relevant pedagogies and learning theories to teaching (Ramsden, 2003).
In the last decade, there has been a steady increase of online language learning which has been enhanced by growth of Internet as well as propagation of computers at home as well as in many educational institutions. With such context of language learning, it has been rapidly moved due to the need for new and excellent teaching skills and teaching approaches that are differentiated from the traditional methods (Lonn & Teasley, 2009).
In addition, teaching online does require teacher skills that are different from one that are applied in teaching in case of face-to-face classrooms. Teaching and learning context of the current days considers blended learning with mixture of different learning environments. There are assumptions that continued application of face-to-face teaching which is core in building block for learning approaches, enhanced and enriched via integration of the Internet and other learning and teaching technologies to studies carried out inside and outside the classroom (Martín-Blas & Serrano-Fernández, 2009). Such integration needs to take place in sustain and intervention of the teacher, with reflection and working toward learning needs and aims of the learners. Learning Management Systems are applied in education institutions that provide a policy for blended learning. Hence, communicative and constructivist approaches with integration of LMSs consider an open wider range of resources for learning (Conde et al., 2014).
For many institutions, there is adoption of hybrid approaches for foreign learning, blending face-to-face instructions with computer based practices and online activities. However, there are concerns and questions that have been raised regarding instructor preparations (Wang et al., 2012). Various research have stressed on the significance of pedagogical and instructor technological skills for flourishing implementation of web-based teaching and learning activities. This expects the necessity for training which may offer opportunities for developing opportunities and understanding the impact for an amalgam advance with orientation of instructors’ engagement and roles in learning process (Martín-Blas & Serrano-Fernández, 2009). It is significant to understand how the teaching practices may be impacted in blended learning situation that may influence discernments and views that taking part in online discussions, provision of feedback on assignments and making communication with the students which allow the teacher to be co-participant in the learning progression (Buabeng-Andoh, 2012). At this, instructors have an understanding on how to incorporate technology to teaching effects roles within the hybrid route. These are crucial factors that require teachers to maintain the right sensitivities on different applications for learning management system for efficient venture in the future (Coates, James & Baldwin, 2005).
Many of these learning management systems success or failure tends to be featured on how it is managed, organized and adopted. There are researchers that indicate multidimensional character of learning management environments perceptions, success, and acceptance. The success and effectiveness of learning management system tends to be determined via commitment and skills of the instructors. There are believes that effectiveness of learning management systems depend little on information technology but mainly upon how teachers make application of the Information Technology (Conde et al., 2014).
The significant tutor features that affect learning management system success tends to be IT competency, attitude, mindset, and teaching style. These need to be articulated via effectively management of learning management system based course as well as utilization and encouragement of feedback and two-way communication with the students. The other emphasize is placed on the willingness of adopting new technologies. The process of adopting education technology tend to be a complex process with the teacher pedagogical outsets and values that do not incorporate use of ICT in educational set up. Adoption of this new approach toward education requires considerable investment such as time. Main objective of learning management system is to speed up the process.
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