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Learning management systems: Coupled simulations and assessments in a digital systems course

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Purpose ‐ The content, provided in learning management systems (LMS), is often text oriented as in a usual textbook, extended by some animations and links. Hands on activities and experiments are not possible. The paper aims to give an overview about the concept to couple smart simulation and assessment tools with an LMS to provide a more explorative approach to the learning content. Design/methodology/approach ‐ Interactive components, such as smart design tools and online laboratories are added to an LMS that allow exploring the learned content additionally to text parts interactively. The objective of this teaching concept is to empower the students to solve complex design tasks for digital systems and to validate the results. This requires on the one hand site knowledge about the mathematical background of the algorithms used by design tools, and on the other hand, experience from as much as possible examples. Commercial tools are too complex for teaching purposes and hide mostly the algorithms they use for the several design steps. That is why we have developed smart special tailored tools for each single design step that should be learned during a lesson. Findings ‐ These smart tools are very useful to support the process of understanding and learning by doing. Learners can explore the several design steps with own examples and get immediately feedback about the correct solutions. Practical implications ‐ The connection to an LMS allows us to record all students' relevant actions in the design process and to evaluate the student or to give individual tailored hints. Originality/value ‐ The paper introduces a new teaching concept that allows exploring the learned content interactively additionally to text parts.
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Keywords: E-learning; Learning methods; Simulation

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: May 14, 2009

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