VISUALISING LEARNING DESIGN IN LAMS: A HISTORICAL VIEW
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The Learning Activity Management System (LAMS) provides a web-based environment for the creation, sharing, running and monitoring of Learning Designs. A central feature of LAMS is the visual authoring environment, where educators use a drag-and-drop environment to create sequences of learning activities. The visualisation is based on boxes representing discrete activity tools (forum, chat, quiz, content, etc.) which are connected together using arrowed lines to indicate the flow of tasks. This visual approach to authoring of Learning Design has both strengths and weaknesses: in terms of strengths, it has provided a common visual language among LAMS users for rapid adoption and sharing of instructional strategies, and a useful framework for simple linear pedagogical approaches; in terms of weaknesses, the visual simplification necessarily limits the amount of information that can be conveyed about a complex instructional design, especially those designs not easily adapted to a linear format (eg, spiral pedagogies). This paper describes the assumptions behind the LAMS visual authoring environment at the levels of both educational theory and software design, together with a review of implementation experiences among educators, including experiences from the LAMS Community. The paper concludes with reflection on future directions for visualisation of Learning Design, particularly in the area of annotation and time-based visualisation.
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