Documentation:Learning Environment/What Do We Know?

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What Do We Know (or think we know)?

In a facilitated group session of approximately 35 attendees we posed the question, "When thinking of good learning and teaching and the systems that support it.....what do we know or think we know?". These are the responses received:

Students and Open Learning Faculty Members:

  • One system for all courses
  • Academic support (such as writing and math) needs to be available in a timely fashion.
  • IT support (outside normal hours)
  • Connections with other students, staff, & faculty
  • Engagement
  • Feedback
  • Ability to track progress
  • Have to be considerate of collective agreement
  • Need Training
  • Not enough data re student/OLFM satisfaction or how they use it
  • We need to provide course evaluations on line
    • example: student feedback on their learning experience

Good Learning and Teaching:

  • Good learning is about what students do
    • Reflection
    • Interaction
    • Creation
    • Bloom’s taxonomy @ higher levels of cognitive engagement
  • Strong emphasis on learning
  • Engagement increases successful learning
  • Instructor presence is essential
  • Pragmatic/learner focused

The Environment

  • Learning environment needs to be as authentic and seamless as possible
  • Easy to use (intuitive)
  • There are inconsistent quality among pre-packaged features (email, discussions, wiki)
  • We may need learner/student management system versus LMS
  • An LMS generally works for our students but some tools do not work to expectations (eg chat/email…) and other areas need to be improved in our current system (help files)
  • Not all LMS’s offer the same tools and structuring capabilities as Blackboard, and vice versa.
  • Currently we have individuals using multiple environments such as Blackboard and Moodle
  • In Open Learning this is the student’s learning environment
    • This is all we have
  • Current system (OL) has good within course navigation capabilities
  • Environment should be multi-device friendly – content responsive


  • Using HTML format provides fast access, potential sophisticated delivery of content for students
  • Current upload of content for OL is very efficient and flexible (XML & HTML & Scripting) – Production workflows – but general content development is not
  • Have to be considerate of copyright and clearance restrictions
  • Choice of learning tool determines how content designed/added to environment
  • We can very effectively upload and download content into current environment
  • Our content currently uses aspects of LMS but is not truly within LMS (use external file formats)
  • Version control is important
  • Course content references to specific LMS must be changed added.
  • OL has used the LMS within course navigation options for student navigation (not added our own)
  • OL has used external styling for its course pages (not using internal themes)
  • End user feedback and system administration help is needed.