Attached herewith is Aide Memoire dated July 01, 2020, from Alain Del B. Pascua, Undersecretary for Administration, DepEd Executive Committee, relative to DepEd Learning Management System (LMS) and Electronic Self-Learning Modules (e-SLMs).
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DepEd Learning Management System (LMS) and Electronic Self-Learning Modules (e-SLMs)
Recent restrictions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic have accelerated the need for a platform where teachers can conduct online classes for learners who have access to internet whenever face-to-face classes are not allowed. As such, the Department of Education (DepEd) is preparing to release a Learning Management System (LMS) that can be used by teachers and learners who would like to adopt online classes as the modality by which learning would be delivered.
The LMS is a software that will allow teachers to create virtual classes where they can assign the activities that the learners need to go through, monitor if the activities have been completed, grade submissions, and conduct online quizzes to assess comprehension in conditions where face-to-face classes are not allowed. The LMS will work hand-in-hand with the DepEd Commons to benefit the more than 8 million learners who are already accessing the platform. The DepEd Commons will contain Open Educational Resources (OERs), Electronic Self-Learning Modules (e-SLMs), video and audio lecture episodes, and other digital contents that will be used by teachers to assign and schedule the activities that learners will go through in the LMS.
The e-SLMs that will be preloaded in the DepEd Commons are in epub3 format which allows the production team to embed videos, educational games, interactive features, and feedback mechanisms that learners can access even without internet connection. The ability to embed external media into the e-SLMs is extremely powerful and will even allow DepEd to incorporate sign language, subtitles and audibles that can be used by deaf and blind learners. These e-SLMs can be viewed using a mobile phone or a computer as long as the appropriate reader is installed. The table below summarizes the interactive features that can be embedded in the e-SLMs.
- Bingo Card
- Jigsaw Puzzle
- Memory Game
- Mind Map
- Pair Matching
- Spot the Difference
- Word Search
- Exit Slips – Can ask students 2 questions about current class
- Flash Cards – Create cards containing text as well as pictures and audio
- Quiz – Create an intriguing quiz with multiple choice, image dragging, filling in the blanks
- Split Whiteboard – Splits the screen where one side is a drawable area and the other is a scrollable piece of rich text
- Split Worksheet – Split the screen where one side is a worksheet with multiple question types and the other is a scrollable piece of rich text.
- Timeline – A timeline exercise for students.
- WebQuest – An inquiry-oriented lesson format.
- Whiteboard – Draw or write, on a background image or on an empty page.
- Worksheet – Create a worksheet with multiple question types
The DepEd LMS will have three separate instances covering:
1. LMS that teachers and learners can use for the conduct of online classes which can be accessed at https://lms.deped.gov.ph
The LMS for Online Classes has also been completed but its release has been deferred until the engineering challenges that are being encountered in the server setup that can scale to more than 8 million users has been fully resolved.
2. LMS for the conduct of online trainings for teaching and non-teaching personnel that can be accessed at https://training.deped.gov.ph
The LMS for Online Trainings was released for stress testing early in June. However, additional work needs to be performed to ensure that the servers do not break down if it is accessed by all teachers.
3. LMS for the conduct of national tests which can be accessed at https://assessment.deped.gov.ph
The LMS for National Tests has already been completed and is currently being piloted to conduct the English Proficiency Test in Caloocan and Pasig City.
The Department will be using Moodle for its LMS requirements.
Moodle is an open-source software that was released in August 20, 2002.1 It is among the top 3 most popular LMS platforms in the world with a market share of 18% in the United States and 50% in Europe, Latin America, and Oceanea.2
There are currently 157,775 active Moodle sites worldwide that are registered across 242 countries. The Philippines has a total of 1,859 Moodle sites which include Ateneo, Asia Pacific College, CH ED, Miriam College, Mindanao State University, TESDA, University of the Philippines, Xavier University, and other organizations.
Moodle was chosen over other LMS platforms for the following reasons.
Moodle is free and can be used by the Department without the need to go through a procurement process allowing it to deploy in time for school opening. The major cost implication will involve servers that are already covered under the Volume Licensing agreement with Microsoft for Azure Cloud. Consulting services are also needed to configure a server farm that can handle the more than 8 million users already registered in the DepEd Commons. These are currently funded through a technical assistance grant from the Asian Development Bank as well as from Microsoft Philippines.
The data of learners will reside in DepEd servers which would allow the Department to monitor usage and perform analytics that would assess the effectiveness of the LMS in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Moodle will allow DepEd to zero-rate the LMS so that it is free to users who are accessing through mobile phones. This is currently not possible for free LMS platforms as it entails a server that is dedicated to DepEd (not possible for free LMS like Google Classroom, Edmodo, Schoology but possible for Moodle because the installers are open source and we are allowed to install it in our server). Representations to provide this dedicated service to the Department have not made any progress for the free LMS platforms.
DepEd has internal staff who already have expertise in Moodle. As a matter of fact, 315,540 teachers have already been trained on how to use Moodle for the upcoming school year.
The DepEd LMS is powerful tool that teachers and school heads can use to deliver online classes and monitor learner progress.
It has the capability to expose learners to computer-based tests with PISA like questions that have the potential of improving the country’s performance in the next round of PISA exams. However, it must be emphasized that it is applicable only to learners who have access to internet which currently number to more than 8 million registered users in the DepEd Commons.
It is not recommended, at this point, to require all public schools to adopt only the DepEd LMS for their requirements in conducting online classes as schools may already be using other LMS platforms or there may be features in other LMS platforms that are not available in Moodle. All other LMSes already being used and made available to schools may continue doing so until such time that their integration with Moodle and the enhancement of the DepEd LM will be undertaken.