By Our Correspondent in Germany
More than 70,000 universities, corporations and schools in over 200 countries and 100 different languages are utilising learning management systems for improving educational outcomes for students, , yet a majority of institutes in Pakistan still make do with conventional methods without realising the changes taking place around them.
Use of technology could efficiently manage complex issues such as promoting a paperless environment, efficiency of evaluating and more organized relation between students and faculty/management. One way of improving academic facilities is through the use of technology which is very common in 1st world, but almost non-existent in the third world.
Moodle is one such free online learning management system that is widely popular among faculties and students abroad. It enables educators to create their own private websites filled with dynamic courses, assignments, calendars and allows submissions anytime and from anywhere. Such learning management systems can be found for free online and entire class work can be uploaded on to it. Through Moodle, none of your notes ever get lost. Whenever one wants to access a file, it is just a click away. LMS solves so many problems and misunderstandings between teachers and students that it has actually become a vital part of academic activities in Europe and US.
However, Pakistan lags far behind on this count. The use of LMS has been proven to improve communication between teachers and students, a thing that is seriously lacking in Pakistan. LMSs offer a number of features that help educators create grading systems, secure content, check attendance, create quizzes and maintain a platform with a lot of helping material that connects students with useful educational resources. It helps teachers educate students better and helps students learn quickly while staying updated to their course work and extracurricular activities.
A majority of students pursuing higher education in Pakistan have internet connectivity for their social needs. If implemented properly, LMSs can be effortlessly utilised to turn things around for both teachers and students. The best part is that many such online learning management systems are free. Charges – which too are comparatively inexpensive to traditional methods – are usually applied if a bigger network of educators seeks greater access for additional features.
According to Theresa Dabla, student coordinator at Erfurt University in Germany, learning management systems can be crucial for effective management. “The learning management systems that we use on campus is open source software. it is widely popular and keeps a lot of things organized for both teachers and students. We manage our entire semester system through Moodle that keeps less pressure on students and generates quick and reliable results,” she said.
The strength of Erfurt University is 5,000+ students on average for any academic year, while an ordinary department employs no more than 10 people in the management and 10 in the faculty. That’s how technology helps managing academic life of students and teachers.
Improvements are beginning to show in Pakistan as well, albeit at a snail’s pace. Some private schools in Lahore, Karachi and Islamabad have introduced Moodle to manage learning, with Lahore American School (LAS) being the pioneer. Ribqa Raza, an educator associated with both secondary education and higher education in Pakistan, said the use of LMS should be introduced as a pilot project in secondary education as well as in higher education.
“The evolution with non-conventional learning methods doesn’t get the attraction that it should, especially when such upgrades don’t cost hefty amounts. The only minor problem will be challenges to implement such convenient methods through the administration of any academic facility in Pakistan. Other than that, it is extremely easy getting used to such systems and using them to create an efficient education environment.”