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ELT article published by Prof. Jonathan Acua at http://reflective-online-teaching.blogspot.


An LMS Experience for EFL

Cambridge LMS
Learning a language is no easy task for students. In the search for assisting pupils learning, an LMS can be a solution that can yield very satisfying results for learners, instructors, and faculty administrators as well. Once both main actors involved in the LMS acting stage, the correct symbiosis between students and teachers can be built and strengthened. Understanding roles within an LMS Students must understand that an LMS is indeed a tool to foster and nourish their language learning. To successfully use this tool, the learner has to have good time management skills. There are deadlines that need to be met and which are set by the instructor to control the students learning progress. If these deadlines are not met, the students must bear the consequences of not fulfilling their LMS learning tasks. Additionally, the students need to comprehend the value of autonomous learning for their

ELT article published by Prof. Jonathan Acua at http://reflective-online-teaching.blogspot.com/

own sake and development. An LMS is indeed a place for reinforcement of class content but also a place for learners autonomy. In the case of instructors, there are various issues that need to be dealt with aside from the good marketing of the learning platform chosen by the school, institution, or university. The first issue to be taken into account is the instructors teaching presence. Because an LMS is a great tool for blended and hybrid learning, this teaching presence can be achieved in class while the instructor is working with students on a face-to-face teaching format. The success of the LMS also implies social presence. The platform should allow learners to interact with their peers within the LMS via chats, forums, and/or blogs, carefully administered and administrated by the instructor. Finally, to ensure the best use of an LMS, cognitive

presence is the last piece to solve this learning puzzle. This cognitive
element present in the LMS is indeed the interaction of the students and the course learning via the exercises they will find in their learning platform. My experience with Cambridge LMS at Universidad Latina As a Universidad Latina EFL instructor (in Costa Rica) using Cambridge LMS for Touchstone, I came across with some basic tips to make my students learning experience worth-trying. First, a set of realistic LMS work goals was presented to the students. Once learners understood the advantages of using the LMS, a collective action plan was presented to them with

ELT article published by Prof. Jonathan Acua at http://reflective-online-teaching.blogspot.com/

concrete learning outcomes for the term. Secondly, deadlines and how

they were going to be graded were given to students to encourage them

from the very beginning- to set a working agenda to accomplish the learning outcomes and work load by the week. Thirdly, the concept of

language recycling and reinforcement was also introduced to them.

Because our class is working on a hybrid / blended learning teaching scenario, class speaking activities are aimed at introducing new language structures or lexical items, so learners can log in on the LMS to continue polishing what is being studied and practiced in class time. What is being seen in class? After the first 5 weeks the class have witnessed more confident learners with the subject-matter studied in class and consolidated in the LMS. The platform provides ample practice to students in the use of new structures; consequently, a higher level of accuracy in the use of language structures can be seen taking place in class among the class members. Students have been effectively developing their grammar, listening skills, vocabulary building techniques, and conversational strategies. All of this has triggered more participative and engaged learners in class. Why the change in attitude? The great change in attitude among my students in class can be attributed to three different reasons. First, a good in-depth explanation to students

ELT article published by Prof. Jonathan Acua at http://reflective-online-teaching.blogspot.com/

(in their native language) of the rationale behind the use of the LMS is provided to learners. Through this explanation, students are confronted with the importance of reviewing key structures that are studied along the course. Additionally, the platform allows pupils to reinforce language skills and sub-skills sufficiently. Even student autonomy is placed as a priority in language learning, and the LMS provides users with great chances for autonomous learning.

Secondly, having students comprehend the importance of the English

language beyond the class boundaries is a key element in provoking some sort of change is student attitudes. Learners need to understand the pros and cons of knowing English for the future working world. No matter what kind of job university students will have or currently have, English must be part of their learning priorities to shape themselves professionally for the working scenarios they will face in life in their fields or careers. A third point to consider is that working on the LMS gives students a different sense of achievement. While achieving goals within the learning platform, students can see their learning visible. That is, accomplishing all the each unit entails and having a grade provided by the system are ways in which the learner can see his cognitive progress and processes in a very visible way. This different sense of achievement also means a joint venture for both students and instructors. Students are not alone in their learning because they are coached by their teacher. Of course, there is student-to-student coaching as well because the LMS and the language

ELT article published by Prof. Jonathan Acua at http://reflective-online-teaching.blogspot.com/

course provide learners with different channels of communication with their teacher and their peers. Concluding remarks: Surviving bLearning For the neophyte, bLearning can be a real challenge, and this applies to both teachers and students. Part of participants survival is directly linked to their understanding of roles. If roles are not well comprehended by instructors and learners, the experience can be traumatic and disastrous. Both participants (teachers and pupils) must keep in mind the course goals, which can be greatly enhanced by the LMS if worked correctly, with deadlines and their corresponding evaluations. Deadlines imply for students that procrastination is detrimental to their course performance and final grade. But on top of everything, both instructors and learners have to enjoy the experience of working independently (autonomous learning) and of having a great tool that can trigger some great language reinforcement, consolidation, and learning.

To fully develop and comprehend this teaching issue, its advisable to research and expand these areas:

ELT article published by Prof. Jonathan Acua at http://reflective-online-teaching.blogspot.com/

1 2 3 4 5

Time management techniques LMSs in language learning The LMS and learner autonomy LMS Teachers role Motivation in a VLE environment

Professor Jonathan Acua-Solano ELT Instructor & Trainer based in Costa Rica IATEFL Member and NCTE Affiliate Resource Teacher at CCCN Senior ELT Professor at Universidad Latina Freelance ELT Consultant four OUP in Central America For further comments or suggestions, reach me at: @jonacuso Twitter jonacuso@gmail.com Gmail Other blogs and sites I often write for my students at the university are:

1. Pronunciation 1
3. Pronunciation 2

2. Readding Skills 1
4. Computering Applications in Education