Call for Papers: Special Issue of Interactive Learning Environments

Fecha Evento: 
Mon, 19/12/2011

LMS – Evolving from Silos to Structures

The Guest Editors for this Special Issue invite papers addressing the theme of eLearning platforms evolution for Interactive Learning Environments.

The learning process is continuously evolving. This evolution is always related to context and sometimes is influenced by technological, pedagogical or sociological trends. One of the most common tools used in eLearning is the Learning Management System (LMS); 100% of Universities have at least one LMS and 79.5% of large companies use these systems in their eLearning initiatives (Wexler et al., 2008).

From an institutional perspective, LMS have supported eLearning by providing a nexus for learning activities and a set of tools that support and permit the management, within a closed environment, of teaching and learning processes. But today there is a need for emerging innovations to be taken into account in the design and use of LMS. Web 2.0 tools, social networks, and cloud services are increasingly used for learning in both formal and informal contexts, but usually outside the institutional LMS. The increasing presence of these tools is something that should be taken into account and incorporated into the concept of the LMS. Otherwise these tools will increasingly become walled gardens, distanced from the kinds of ICT uses and behaviours that are prevalent among learners. There is a need to open up the LMS concept so that instead of constituting a closed set of predefined tools for management, it becomes an adaptable and flexible framework for supporting the learning process.

Moreover, LMS are usually centred around one specific institution or course, and though they provide very useful tools for teachers, course designers and human resource managers in companies they cater more to these needs than to the needs of the learners. The institutional investment in LMS, particularly the resources employed to adapt them to the needs of the institution makes it unlikely that they will be discarded. There is therefore a need to address ways in which they can be adapted, so that they evolve to meet the emerging needs of the learners, the key actors in the learning process, and thus ensure their continued educational relevance (and that of the institution).

Learners increasingly use a wide range of tools and resources to learn, and do so in a wide range of contexts. Although this has arguably always been the case, the emergence of a range of ICT tools that support learning outside formal contexts has made these processes more transparent. This implies that, if they are to meet the needs of the learner, in an increasingly competitive context, LMS need to be restructured to make them capable of adapting to, and at times incorporating, new tools. They should be capable of supporting learners beyond the institutional context, throughout life, and guarantee the learner´s mobility between contexts, while at the same time continuing to meet the institution´s needs. This implies that first it is necessary to look at how students use institutionally provided LMS and how this use relates to their use of other tools, in other words how the institutional LMS fits into or interacts with their existing wider Personal Learning Environment, and then how the LMS might enrich or support this PLE across courses and institutions and over time.

The challenge with respect to this relates to a pedagogical shift. The name Learning Management System suggests, or even assumes, that the institution “manages” the students learning. However the idea of supporting learning across contexts implies that the responsibility for learning devolves to the student. Regarding this, there are two important issues to explore: 1) Are learners ready for this responsibility? And 2) Can LMS help learners to organise their existing PLE in ways that will meet their educational needs (and enrich their learning) in a lifelong learning context? To do this, it will be necessary to explore student behaviour, the kind of tools they use in and outside the institution, how they collaborate with other students during the course or with other students in the same institution and so on.

In order to achieve these goals, LMS must be reconceived as repositories for learning services and resources, that are capable of coexisting with and within, rather than aiming to replace (as is frequently the case), the learner's PLE - throughout life and across contexts.

The aim of this special issue is to explore this challenge and provide an overview of existing approaches that enable more flexible and open “Learning Management Structures”. Contributions will include, among others, work related to service oriented solutions; communication between LMS and external tools; interoperability initiatives to guarantee solution portability; personalization, and also new hybrid contexts for learning.


  • LMS evolution tendencies
    • Technological tendencies
    • Pedagogical possibilities
    • LMS future trends
  • LMS restructuring
    • Service oriented solutions
    • Tools integration
    • Communication channels
    • Other contexts for LMS access
  • Personalized learning environments
    • Theories and frameworks for PLEs
    • Technologies for PLE development
    • Innovative technologies in PLEs
    • Personal Learning Networks
    • Experiences using PLEs
    • User as owner/director of the learning process
    • New tools for learning
    • Measurement and assessment of learning in PLEs
    • Institutional Learning Environments
    • Mash-up Personal Learning Environments
  • Lifelong learning integration
    • Informal and formal integration
    • Supporting informal and contextual learning
    • Measurement and assessment of informal learning
    • Initiatives for supporting lifelong learning tools
    • Competence recognition in LMS

Submission Guidelines
Instructions for authors can be accessed via the journal homepage All papers must be submitted through the journal’s Manuscript Central system:

Important dates

Deadline for paper submission: 19.January.2012
Feedback from reviewers: 15.March.2012
Revised manuscripts: 15.April.2012
Acceptance notification: 30.May.2012
Camera-ready submissions: 30.June.2012

More information
Prof. Dr. Francisco J. García-Peñalvo
Computer Science Department
University of Salamanca
Salamanca, Spain