Learn-all-you-can Project Summary and Reflection by Maxwell dziku

The rate of technological growth, coupled with the constantly evolving skill requirements in the 21st century job market demands an approach to instruction that embraces technology at all levels and gives students the opportunity to practice and acquire essential skills. Students need more opportunities to engage in online collaboration and use social media tools for learning and sharing ideas and for research and problem solving.

This project was therefore aimed, at giving educators a platform that has essential features for online/blended instruction for students/users/teachers from all over the world.

The learnallyoucan.org project, started from an initial idea to create a learning platform that a teacher could use as an online instruction tool for his/her class. The project however, gradually evolved to become a bigger platform that teachers/users from all over the world at various levels of education can use to engage their students in a blended learning approach that combines classroom and online instruction. At it's present state, instructors on the site can create courses and make it available for free or at a cost for students to access from all over the world and collaborate on various projects as well as engage in ongoing discussions and social interactions. The LMS can integrate it into existing schools' website as a dynamic and responsive feature-rich LMS or be a stand-alone LMS site.

The project spanned a period of about 6 months. I had built an earlier version of the site on a free hosting service but lost it because the trial period expired before I could migrate the site. Disappointed, I had to build another one from scratch. It took longer for me to build this new version but I learned a lot from my previous experience and actually spent more time researching the second time around so I could do a better job.

At the research stage, I created several LMS's on different platforms such as Canvas instructure, moodlecloud etc. to get a feel of some essential features required for a useful and responsive LMS and also to be able to build on these features on a different platform. Once I had gotten the needed information, I moved on to the next stage where I evaluated my options on platform use for developing the LMS. My pick was between Drupal and WordPress, both commonly used and well known for different benefits/preferences.

I settled on WordPress because, the developer learning curve was shorter and the platform more flexible for my use (especially given the time frame for my project). With that set, I researched on best themes and plugins and settled on two that have become my favorites (the Lifter LMS plugin and West theme).

After the site was built, I worked with various individuals for the next phases: course development and testing in an education setting. I worked with Dominic Cascarelli ( Michigan Educational Technology teacher) to build some sample courses on the platform, making sure to meet ISTE standards. Beyond this, I also worked with Noelle Smallish (a teacher in Costa Rica) and Daniel Adu Amankoa (teacher in Ghana) to have their students take a course on the site in the beta testing stage and received much needed feedback for improvements through the course evaluations and other direct user experience feedback from students.

This project has been a great learning experience for me and has helped me acquire a lot of experience in both LMS development and instructional design. My major lesson through the many hours spent on this project is always to focus on students needs and work at creating learning experiences that are engaging, accessible across devices, have opportunities for collaboration and social interactions among others.

Beyond this course, I am going to make some more design updates on the user interface and work at improving site content loading speed for an improved user experience, and collaborate with some more educators from around the world to build more courses on the platform, etc.

Created By
Maxwell Dziku
Appreciate

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Created with images by qimono - "lightbulb bulb light"

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