Development of a collaborative learning system in low resource environments in Kenya
Kinyanjui, Njoroge T.
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The fields of Learning Management Systems (LMS) and Learning Content Management Systems (LCMS) are full of open source and commercial products including Blackboard, WEB CT, and Moodle, These systems are tutor-oriented, not designed to facilitate personalized learning support for an individual learner. Teachers and students, frustrated with current LMS, need a new, innovative, user-friendly alternative to encourage and empower students to take control of their education, and teachers to explore new styles of teaching, depending on their students' needs. Most of the students in the developing world suffer from limited English proficiency, in addition to limited computer skills and IT-resources access. These obstacles compose a barrier to, and impose limitations on the design and implementation of E-learning systems. The main aim of this study was to develop a collaborative learning system that can be used in low resource environment in Kenya. From the existing literature there is lack of a collaborative learning system in these environments, study was done through questionnaires, interviews and observation to establish the requirements of a collaborative learning system,based on this, a prototype for a simple,learner-oriented collaborative learning system was developed to facilitate the learning process to both the teachers and student. The proposed system enables the student (even with moderate English level and general IT knowledge) to navigate through the system, and collaborate through simple tools such as group chat, post and access forums, manage individual profile, post comments to the teachers, access video and audio contents as well as communicate with fellow students among other provided tools. The proposed prototype was made available to the students and teachers to examine and evaluate. feedback was analyzed and an enhancement was done on the prototype to meet the specific users' requirements. From the research it showed that there is a high need to implement the collaboration between teachers and the students, in analyzing collaborative learning on the web, its clear that we need to learn and understand more about how the learner interacts with the media and how the web affects the learner and learning outcomes. The learners and desired learning outcomes should be the ultimate focus of developing successful collaborative learning on the web.