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A Model for Research into Course Management Systems: Bridging Technology and Learning Theory

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Journal of Educational Computing Research Volume 36, Number 2, ISSN 0735-6331


Course management systems (CMSs), such as Blackboard, Desire2Learn, or WebCT, have become a common resource at universities, colleges, and distance learning organizations. Research into how these systems are used for learning is in an early state. Currently, this research focuses on technical features in a CMS more than research about how people learn. This article recommends a model for CMS research that equally considers technical features and research about how people learn. Technical features and learning research are diverse topics. The model was developed by reviewing literature from each topic and should provide a conceptual middle ground. Findings from current CMS research are presented using the model, to show its relevance and adaptability. This model should also ease the process of synthesizing research in CMSs created by different vendors, which contain similar features but label them differently. Implications for developing learning activities in a CMS are also described. (Contains 1 figure and 3 tables.)


Malikowski, S.R., Thompson, M.E. & Theis, J.G. (2007). A Model for Research into Course Management Systems: Bridging Technology and Learning Theory. Journal of Educational Computing Research, 36(2), 149-173. Retrieved February 3, 2023 from .

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