Facebook as a Learning Management System
combination of community participation and developer flexibility
results in the metamorphosis of Facebook from CMS (Content Management
System) to LMS (Learning Management System).
In its typical user packaging,
Facebook looks like a CMS and not a LMS. However, when you peel back
its surface, there exists the construct to alter its CMS DNA to
convert Facebook to a LMS. The Facebook API (Application Programming Interface) is the enabling
Facebook’s Developer API is the platform that allows you to create
dynamic Facebook content. The API accepts FBML (Facebook Markup Language), but
at some time in 2011, the API will phase FBML out and substitute iFrames and Facebook
will be supported for existing Apps and Static pages. Despite the programming
language, this type of development flexibility is not common amongst social
media sites. Most sites allow you to customize the look of your profile, not the
way you interface with your network. Facebook is allowing you to create a
dynamic individualized environment within its Fan Page infrastructure. You can
use forms, rich media, objects, and essentially most tools you would see in Web-based content. Simply, it is a Website within your Facebook Fan Page.
The Facebook Developer API is the
element that converts Facebook to a LMS. A learning professional can create
content and upload it. Using the API, you could create forms that act as tests
to help you evaluate the success of your learning. The data would then be sent
to your aggregate for reporting.
Additionally, you can connect your learners with social tools. There are whiteboard apps as well that
you can add to the page dynamic for synchronous learning. You can stream live
video. One e-Learning authoring tool (Udutu) has actually created an app that
allows you to develop and exhibit eCourses and tracks the learning experience
within Facebook. If budgets are a problem, Google Docs/Forms offers you a very
cost effective option to track feedback.
Google Docs/Forms with the Facebook API, you can essentially create your level
1, 2, and 3 evaluations. Google Docs/Forms allows you to create multiple choice
questions, fill in the blank, and other options. You would have to get a little creative to automate feedback
but all the applications are free. When you create your form on Google Docs,
you have the option of copying the embed code which allows you to insert the
form into many applications including the Facebook API. When the learner inputs data, the application automatically sends it to your Google account and uploads it to a spreadsheet. The
spreadsheet, viewable by all those given the appropriate permissions, is
then pooled into a report with graphs that Google automatically compiles. If
you need more than that, some simple spreadsheet formulas should get you there.
Read more at www.learningsolutionsmag.com