University of Colombo School of Computing (SRI LANKA)
About this paper:
Appears in: EDULEARN11 Proceedings
Publication year: 2011
Pages: 6497-6506
ISBN: 978-84-615-0441-1
ISSN: 2340-1117
Conference name: 3rd International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 4-6 July, 2011
Location: Barcelona, Spain
ICT enabled education is penetrating in every sectors of education. Specially secondary schools which conduct K12 education, is receiving many funds to establish computer labs and Internet connection as facilities for both teachers and students in schools. However, to obtain real benefits of online education, it is very important to have online learning environment to support it. In this paper, we are presenting a distributed virtual learning environment established as a prototype to experiment how to facilitate schools with low resources to have their own online environments which could be integrated as a single environment as a national one.
At present, the use of e-learning for secondary education is minimal in Sri Lankan context. The Ministry of education has setup a network called schoolnet, connecting many schools in Sri Lanka to promote ICT based education. In this network there is a Learning Management System (LMS) to promote online delivery of e-Learning content. This Learning Management System has been setup using Moodle open source software package. Mooodle is worldwide popular open source software that can be used to manage the learning process.
The courses hosted in the schoolnet LMS are provided by different institutes in the country. However the number of people who are accessing the course is very low and
these are not popular as expected. Another issue is that a single LMS is not suitable for all students from different regions of the country and it doesn’t allow establishing a virtual learning environment based on their classroom learning activities. Hence there is requirement of establishing distributed virtual learning environment for each school in the country. At the same time, these schools didn’t have high server facilities to establish a virtual learning environment allowing students to access it from their homes. These schools also didn’t have income or resources to purchase outside services to establish school based learning environment. Hence, this is a challenging issue to be addressed to promote e-Learning among secondary schools in Sri Lanka.
In this paper, we are presenting a model that integrates several LMSs together while catering for different school based communities. Since the class room in a school is the most important community where the students directly interact for learning activities, all classroom based online learning community are linked starting from school level to the provisional, regional and National level. Hence a hierarchical structure will be established in the learning management system. In this hierarchy, the national level is the highest and any content uploaded to National level is visible to all other levels at provincial regional and school level which are below, respectively. Similarly whenever a content is inserted at provincial or regional level, they will be visible to lower level community in the hierarchy. However when the content are uploaded to the school level it will be visible to the students in that VLE. When new content are uploaded to the school level, in this way, the responsible officer in the regional level can select good material and can share them with other students.
This pedagogical model is experimented using cloud based architecture to provide online learning service based on Moodle learning management system. In this paper, we are presenting the approach used to implement this model as well as results of its initial evaluation.
K12, Distributed Learning Management System, VLE.