Web-based learning management systems hold considerable promise in supporting approaches to teaching that are well-informed, both practically and theoretically. Unfortunately, this promise has often remained unrealised, especially in higher education contexts. Various reasons may be proffered including: monolithic approaches to system development, mismatches between software and pedagogic models, or attenuated communication between system developers and practitioners. This paper examines one case study involving the concurrent development (simultaneous deployment and refinement) of a general on-line collaborative tool for students and the co- development of an instructional approach based on authentic constructivist principles. This case study is used to abstract some tentative principles that relate to the effective development of learning management systems. These principles include: \ud * Some pedagogical designs, while productive in terms of student learning, rely on complex interactions that are difficult to support technically. \ud * It is possible to set up conditions for a productive participant-developer dialogue in order to co-inform technical and pedagogical design. \ud * Non-traditional methods of system development are appropriate in order to support innovation, especially if measures are taken to handle the risks involved. \ud The results should be of interest to teachers in higher education, administrators and developers of web-based learning management systems
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