The Ethics of Tracking

The Ethics of Tracking – this article from Lisa Neal – editor-in-chief at eLearn Magazine should make very educator using an LMS stop and take a few deep breaths…..it’s has been a niggling thought at the back of my mind from 2 perspectives:
1) are there any organisations that actually do this….? Probably!
2) how many learners do know that this can be done!!

Here are a couple of excerpts:

"…Gary was acutely aware of the possibility that his actions relating to the course might be tracked by his employer. How, I wondered, would this affect his learning experience? "

"The email that invited Gary to take the mandatory course by a specified date also informed him that he needed to enter his employee identification number to access the course. Gary thought that this might mean nothing more than his company’s corporate legal department needing to verify his participation. On the other hand, he thought this might allow the software to record his answers to any questions, how long he spent on each screen compared to the company’s expectations, and which optional links he followed. Furthermore, he was concerned about how any gathered information could be used. "

"Upon completing the course I asked Gary was if he had learned anything new. Although he acknowledged the importance of the material, his answer was "no." How a course is presented to students has a dramatic impact on learning and—clearly, in this case—affects how much a student learns. The carefully worded email "inviting" students to take a mandatory course should inform them why they need to take the course, what they need to do to take it, and what happens in the process of meeting their obligation. Moreover, it is ethical to inform students if any data is being saved. "

So – the next time someone asks what the benefit of a LMS is….and you have replied tracking learners….take another perspective on that and remember this example!!!

One thought on “The Ethics of Tracking

  1. This type of tracking may actually be illegal in some jurisdictions. Something to consider when selecting one of these “do everything” LMS. Even if you don’t use the tracking features, just having the capability to track could put you in an interesting legal situation.

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