What schools and universities do very well is to give names and definitions to what people are doing in their lives to gain knowledge. That way I heard the abbreviations LMS and PLE only a week ago during my New Technologies in Teaching class and it turned out that everything that I use to organize or to implement my learning process is my PLE and everything that my University uses to manage/monitor/support my learning process is my LMS. If you are just like me and you are hearing these abbreviations only now, then that would be a good idea to say that PLE is the Personal learning environment and LMS is the learning management system. The systems used on-campus such as the Blackboard and the Moodle are LMS whereas everything that you use for organizing your own personal learning, such as Gmail, Google docs, Word, Calendar, etc. constitute your PLE.
Despite the fact that there has been lots of research on the differences between LMS and PLE, arguments over advantages and disadvantages on one over the other, I have to agree that these systems and tools made life much easier. Everything that we were supposed to do earlier to manage our learning and teaching, to be connected and to have everything in place is now done not by us. This does raise various security and privacy issues for sure, however creates an opportunity for learning to not limit itself to the classroom only. The need for this is unquestionable.
I was at a round-table discussion once organized by the Teaching for Armenia and the moderator in her speech compared teachers with managers but not just of a classroom but rather of the school, as the teacher facilitates the creation of the culture of the school, helps to manage the connections and relationships, enforces communication and collaboration in her classroom and in the school. If we look at LMS and PLE from this perspective, then the services they provide are invaluable as via those the teacher is connected to her students and to her colleagues every moment of the day, in and outside of the classroom. These tools allow to be a better manager and facilitator of the teaching and learning process. I would rather not try to compare LMS and PLE, because for me when it comes to the technology, it depends on the wise use of it for it to be the most useful for the person’s purposes. Thus directing your learners from Blackboard to a Google doc so they can work on a peace of written work in a group, would definitely not be a bad idea. It is important as always with technology how to manage it well so it doesn’t end up managing you.
However, as I haven’t had enough time to do a comprehensive research, I would like to share the following video with you where LMS and PLE are thoroughly discussed.