LMS work right?

Design Challenge – Assignment #3 LRNT 524 by Ash Senini & Jean-Pierre Joubert

The assignment was geared towards experiencing the design process as laid out by dschool in their video, and further explained in their dschool document. As a result, we met several times via Google Meet to work through the materials over a series of meetings. While the process was interesting, the operation requested was to take roughly an hour to complete, something which we found difficult to do given the distance. This makes sense as the exercise was intended to be done inside of a workshop rather than one-on-one. You can view our notes here: Assignment 3 Design Notes 

In this process, it struck both of us that Learning Management Systems (LMS) were designed to create a software solution for those stakeholders in e-learning, design, develop, and ultimately manage learning environments electronically. Over the years, LMSs have become cumbersome tools for designers, educators and learners alike. Educators have become dependent on using the LMS to manage their course, limited in using the limited functions an LMS offers to engage students. Educators and designers alike are forced to use whatever system was purchased by their respective institutions, usually with little to no staff input that will ultimately use the tool. From a student perspective, the LMS does not consider various aspects of two items crucial to a student’s learning: how to engage them as learners and how to be fair and equitable to their learning style. According to LMS critic and educator Jesse Stommel, he states that “We shouldn’t pre-determine the shape of a student’s learning environment before that student even arrives upon the scene” (2017). Perhaps in using the LMS, the hope was grounded in other design models, such as Kolb’s model (1984) of experiential learning. Would this allow a learner’s experience (presumably in this case with LMSs) to aid their use in understanding and to navigate the current LMS or e-learning tool? However, this is not the case for many adult learners returning to online education and for those students thrust into an e-learning environment for the first time during the recent global pandemic. Other researchers in recent years have also taken to re-creating the LMS idea, even going as far as calling their tool a Digital Learning Environment (DLE). This could foster improvements for all stakeholders, making the device more flexible and engaging pedagogy rather than technology (Brown et al., 2015).

As a result of this process, we created the following Infographic to explain the shift from an LMS (Learning Management System) to an LES (Learning Equity/Engagement System). In addition, we created a rough prototype (here), as well as a How-To video, to show the result of this process:

LES model



Prototype Flow Chart









Prototype Page Links








Working Prototype


How-To Video

A Simple How-To Video in using our LES






Brown, M., Dehoney, J., & Millichap, N. (2015). The Next Generation Digital Learning Environment: A Report on Research. Next Generation Digital Learning Environment Initiative. https://library.educause.edu/~/media/files/library/2015/4/eli3035-pdf

Kolb, D. (1984). Experiential Learning: Experience As The Source Of Learning And Development (Vol. 1). Prentice Hall.

Morris, S. M. (2018). Beyond the LMS. In An Urgency of Teachers. Hybrid Pedagogy Inc. https://criticaldigitalpedagogy.pressbooks.com/chapter/beyond-the-lms/

Stommel, J. (2017, June 5). If bell hooks Made an LMS: Grades, Radical Openness, and Domain of One’s Own [Blog]. Jesse Stommel.com. https://www.jessestommel.com/if-bell-hooks-made-an-lms-grades-radical-openness-and-domain-of-ones-own/


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