WordPress is one of the most popular blog systems and is widely used to create webpages. WordPress offers all the prerequisites for a learning platform with a learning management system. Even though it was designed as a blog system, it enables knowledge management and the provision of learning materials. The magic word is PlugIn. The basis is WordPress, and the additional module (plugin) extends WordPress to a learning system. A learning management system includes typical functions such as structure creation (modules, lessons, course sequence), content creation, organisation for the administrator and end-user, and simple administration of users and user data. A critical feature is the offer of a “Secure Learning Environment“: learners have to log in and then be sure that their work cannot be viewed by strangers nor is it generally accessible.
Advantages of Learning Platforms
For learners, a learning platform provides a convenient way to access courses and training materials from anywhere in the world. The prerequisite: a usable Internet connection.
Furthermore, there are no time restrictions: learners can work with the platform whenever they want and, in principle, for as long as they want. Likewise, it is possible to learn with content more often.
All this gives learners a high degree of freedom.
Some characteristics of Adult Learning
Learning platforms are playing an increasingly important role in adult education. However, adult learning – aside from continuing vocational training – often differs decisively from the other areas of education. Here are some typical characteristics that we have come to know over the course of the last few years:
Adults are motivated by a desire to learn something simply because they want to be able to do it or because the content interests them. Typical examples are learning a foreign language because they want to speak it on vacation. Or because a new family member with a migration background has joined the family – for example through marriage.
Other examples are pottery courses or other topics in the field of leisure. There is a particular interest in computer training with the aim of surviving more easily in the digital society.
In numerous instances, adults do not attach particular importance to a certificate. The reason is elementary: unlike professional training, they do not need proof that they have successfully completed a course. Nevertheless, certificates do have a certain value: learners can show what they have achieved. This peculiarity often applies to older learners (65+ generation).
Learning Platforms in Adult Education
While younger learners have already been exposed to learning platforms through school and work, this is not the case for many older people. This is particularly noticeable in the 65+ generation.
Mixed courses therefore often pose a challenge because in this mostly inhomogeneous group many of the older learners have to be familiarized with the platform before the actual learning process can begin.
Homogeneous courses with only older learners, and basic training on the learning platform, need an extensive preparation phase during the first online training). It is good practice to schedule this training at the beginning of the learning process.
In this context, a learning platform that is as simple as possible and can handle multimedia and interactive content is desirable.
Considerations of the InterMedia Project
The Intermedia Erasmus+ Project aims to increase the knowledge and skills in the participating organizations to create and use M&I content, with particular attention to multiple devices and a specific focus on seniors. This includes the use of simple-to-use Learning platforms.
The project team analyzed various platforms that are available free for use. One of the most popular platforms is MOODLE – it is a well-developed and comprehensive platform. Nevertheless, it is in some way complicated to use for inexperienced, freshly instructed learners.
Therefore, the project team checked WordPress as a learning platform. WordPress is currently the most used tool to create webpages and blogs, can be installed easily on rented webspace, and offers features of learning platforms by special plugins.
The project team checked dozens of different installations of various plugins. Finally, the partners selected four plugins for further and more in-depth going analysis.
Pilot training courses
The project team implemented pilot courses on each of the selected platforms. All platforms contain the same training courses. This makes the platforms comparable.
These pilots use several multimedia tools (and interactive learning content as well). The used tools are:
H5P is an abbreviation for HTML5 Package. H5P allows users to create, share and reuse interactive content.
Canva is the design tool that is ideal for use in education to create appealing graphics, presentations, info sheets, and more.
Animaker is an online do-it-yourself animation video maker that brings studio-quality presentations within everyone’s reach.
Padlet is a free online tool that is best described as an online notice board.
PowToon is an eTool that creates animated videos for personal, educational, or business/professional use.
Further information & Sources
The project team publishes relevant content in the EPALE Platform (in their own group).
Link to the article: Learning Platforms (EPALE)
Link to the EPALE group “InterMedia – Implementation of Interactivity & multimedia-based content with Multiple Devices”
WordPress-based Learning Platforms: https://www.intermedia-project.eu/web/wordpress-as-a-learning-platform/
Learning Platform Plugins for WordPress
- Masteriyo: https://masteriyo.com/wordpress-lms/
- Tutor-LMS: https://www.themeum.com/product/tutor-lms/
- LifterLms: https://lifterlms.com/
- Learnpress: https://thimpress.com/product/wordpress-lms-plugin-learnpress/
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