How do instructors and learners use learning management systems? Blackboard shared some interesting stats about what people actually do with their LMS. The results confirm what many LMS critics (like myself) have been saying for a while. It’s impressive that Blackboard is willing to confirm our observations.
Key takeaway: the clear supermajority of LMS usage is, at least for Blackboard, just document management. For nearly 80% of cases, people use the leading LMS just to share documents, plus announcements and grades:
Some readers may recall my supposedly cynical definition,
LMS, n. 1) A document management system, whereby a faculty member can transfer a single document to his or her students. Curiously overpowered for this purpose, nevertheless universally deployed.
…which is apparently simply true, at least statistically speaking.
One response to these patterns? “To increase student engagement in Learn, instructors should consider adding assessments or discussion forums.” Yes, pedagogical advice from the 1980s remains evergreen.
This is an especially interesting finding:
Courses making extensive use of Discussion forums have a substantially smaller enrollment than courses in other categories. This finding speaks to the need for advancing strategies for effective forum facilitation in large enrollment courses.
I wonder if that holds true across other LMS tools (Moodle, Sakai, Canvas, etc).