Learning Management Systems: Does My School Require One?
No industry or business has ever complained of having too much money or time. Education is no different. Resources are always scarce, demands are enormous, and budgets are tight.
Fortunately, Learning Management Systems can relieve administrators and students of many headaches while boosting efficiency and pedagogy.
What Is A Learning Management System?
To some extent, a Learning Management System is what every administrator wants it to be. An LMS is a technological center that organizes and stores data using servers and networks. It creates a digital teaching and learning experience, helping teachers in the teaching and students in learning. Based on your needs, the stored data could be in the form of:
- eLearning coursework
- Attendance records
- Grade point averages
- Professional development modules
- Health and medical charts
- Educator professional evaluations
- Professional development histories
One common use of learning management software is to deploy and track online learning initiatives. It can be defined as software that helps its users create, manage, administer, and analyze eLearning trainings and courses.
An LMS should connect users around a central store of information, making it hierarchically available. Tutors don’t want students accessing and changing grades. Administrators don’t want teachers changing observations. Secure access is crucial. An LMS contains live and archived records. It offers asynchronous, remote learning opportunities and stores the results of those learning experiences for easy retrieval.
Reasons Why Schools Require an LMS
No extra time, no extra money, no extra resources: why, then, would an institution need an LMS when already stretched to a breaking point? An LMS isn’t another layer of complexity. Instead, it is a solution for big logistical burdens:
- Curriculum repository
- Student academic record maintenance
- Public and in-house communications
- Assessment center
- Document storage and retrieval
- Human resources records
For Educators, a Learning Management System helps create and implement personalized educational programs that suit each student’s individual learning needs.
For Students, an LMS makes education possible and simple through a personalized, more intimate, and more meaningful curriculum.
For Administrators, a Learning Management System saves money since it is easy to implement with a learning curve for all users.
For Parents, a Learning Management System offers immediate and timely reports on their student’s performance and eases communication between them between admins and tutors.
For Taxpayers, a learning management system can be used to offer income through billable online courses for students and adults. It is also a cost-effective way of handling huge amounts of live data.
Other populations can also benefit from Learning Management Systems. These include students with professional, work, or athletic schedules that make traditional classroom learning hard. The ease of stepping into a Learning Management System anytime gives motivated students a chance to learn anywhere, anytime.
How Do Teachers Benefit from an LMS?
Teachers don’t want to be lost in data. Gradebooks and online records are secondary to the student before them. A Learning Management System frees teachers from much of the challenges of paperwork. It does not just make tutors efficient but also does it expand on what teachers can do. With a Learning system, a teacher can also talk to students looking at the same data (e.g., mastery and assignments), making for better conversations about their students’ progress. An LMS can track student time on tasks, monitor progress, alert educators to emerging issues, and give real-time student performance glimpses.
While differentiated learning is a great concept, educators in a traditional classroom quickly become exhausted when preparing individual lessons for every student, for each subject taught. An LMS facilitates customized learning.
How Do Students Benefit From An LMS?
Students are the center of education. Learning Management Systems have proven to be students’ greatest learning tool. With its inherent flexibility, a good learning system can be shaped to accommodate all students, across interests, time zones, abilities, and learning styles.
A good LMS will have 24/7 access. An educational opportunity has to reach traveling students, special education students, athletes, immuno-compromised students, and all other students who need flexibility.
Lagging students benefit from an effective Learning Management System because a teacher can personalize unique learning paths for them. This also enables students to choose the right activity and content for them.
Students can collaborate outside of the physical school. Shy students or those with low self-esteem can get equal footing in a virtual learning environment.
A well-planned LMS purchase can enhance student performance, make teachers more effective, improve the educators’ professional development, meet record-keeping requirements for central offices, and enhance parents’ impressions of a school.
HOW DOES AN LMS BENEFIT ADMINISTRATORS AND SAVE SCHOOLS MONEY?
Administrators want a cost-effective method to track student performance. An LMS can help in this regard. It also reduces the clerical burden of record-keeping for teachers and management staff while improving teacher effectiveness by integrating technology into their teaching methods.
These benefits translate into significant money savings through reductions in paper use, energy costs (especially if data is stored online), and certification training programs.
A good Learning Management System has collaboration features that enable administrators to improve on an existing practice without having to invest time and resources going out looking for one. Before entering the market today, you have to do your homework regarding what will work best for you.
HOW TO CHOOSE A LEARNING MANAGEMENT SYSTEM (9 FACTORS TO CONSIDER)
To help an administrator decide which Learning Management System is right, he or she has to look at different aspects that relate the product and its features with their own situation. These include:
The main aim of this software is to facilitate the coordination among a large number of teachers in making plans, recording details, disseminating information, and monitoring progress. The system should be able to handle these functions easily without getting overloaded or slowing to a crawl when it must handle several thousand users all at once. In addition, an LMS should offer educators one-stop shopping for all forms of documentation required for students’ advancement through school grades. An LMS also holds customer support options such as online training classes and access to qualified project managers.
- Cloud Storage
Distributing digital solutions in a school or college on the cloud is much more efficient than maintaining an inventory of hard copies since any user with access to the system can easily search, retrieve and update information without the need for new printed materials to be created each time.
The knowledge within your LMS will always be up-to-date, helping you make sure that every student has exactly what he/she needs when it comes to learning resources, no matter where they are or what their requirements may be. In addition, by using web-based systems and cloud computing to handle your Learning Management System, you will not have to worry about investing in expensive server capacity or maintenance costs associated with normal IT infrastructure.
Your organization will also be able to access their information and training resources from any internet-connected computer with an internet browser.
- Integration With Other Platforms
It is also prudent for schools and colleges to select the LMS that will offer them a platform that can easily be integrated with other systems and third-party tools used by teachers in conjunction with the Learning Management System. By using one system as opposed to several different ones, your school or college will have a seamless experience connecting all of your staff members together and streamlining their workflows.
You won’t need unique passwords for each tool and you won’t have any trouble sharing documents between users since they are all on the same platform; this can significantly reduce your maintenance costs for IT infrastructure and save time when it comes to training new users on a complicated system.
- Platform Scalability
With the use of an open-source platform, administrators get the benefit of having a LMS which they can tailor and scale up as their needs change. They have the flexibility to add modules or upgrade functions in order to improve existing features, rather than being stuck with something that may not be cutting edge if they choose proprietary software without any room for customization.
In addition, non-profit organizations do not have to worry about paying licensing fees if they would like to install the application on more machines so that all of their staff members can access its many features at once. The database is self-contained so it’s easy to move it around and administer it from one location.
- Business Integration
The ideal Learning Management System will integrate easily with your organization’s current business systems in order to streamline the collection of student data, communicating with parents, and efficient reporting of budgets. A powerful LMS should be able to import information from a school or college’s existing database while also automatically pushing data back into each department’s records.
This allows teachers to quickly pull up a student’s attendance history or previous grades without having to spend time searching through piles of paperwork for this information; it frees them up to focus on their jobs as well as being easier for parents to get involved if they would like by viewing their children’s progress online.
In addition, the LMS can communicate real-time updates directly into an administrator calendar; this helps keep you up-to-date on what your teachers are doing at any moment in time and can help you prepare for upcoming events like parent-teacher conferences or professional development classes.
- Learning Management System Integrations
Administrators will also want to look into the features offered by their LMS that make it easily integratable with other web applications, such as external databases, Learning Content Management Systems (LCMS) or document management systems.
By using open standards such as XML and JSON, developers can build new tools which they know will work seamlessly with each other’s products without needing extensive documentation to do so; this helps reduce both costs of implementation and maintenance over time. For example, if a school owns an LCMS they may want to purchase an LMS which can import documents and automatically create new courses or tags in the learning platform, saving them time on having to manually enter all of this information.
Also, consider if your organization would like to share data with other web applications that are not typically associated with a Learning Management System; for example, do you want to be able to export student information into spreadsheets that you can use for payroll purposes?
- Mapping To Curriculum
Another important consideration is whether or not the LMS will provide a Graphical User Interface (GUI) which makes it easy for teachers to find the right educational content for their students.
If so, they should test out how easy it is to search through lesson plans or access lessons by subject to see if it will save them time by doing so. Also consider how easy is it for a teacher to record audio, video, or documents and have them directly available in their course materials. This goes hand-in-hand with the next point you should look at as an educator:
- Learning Management System Usability
You’ll want to vet this aspect of your LMS very carefully. If you’re going to be spending months of your year teaching courses online, you want something that’s intuitive and easy to navigate.
Teachers who are new to a specific Learning Management System may not know where things like quizzes are located or how to add content within each assignment (this can be especially frustrating if they must go through configuration menus). Instead, look for an LMS which places all of this information in an intuitive interface and showcases them prominently on the main page.
- Call To Action Strategies
Does a Learning Management System allow users to direct students to take action (sign forms or read emails) after they complete a course? If so, you’ll want one where you can customize these messages with pre-written text or even embed images into each email automatically.
This allows teachers to save time by not having to explain how their online courses work compared to physical in-person classes; it gives them more time focusing on what they were hired to do: teach. It also makes it easier for parents and staff alike who wish to participate emotionally in a student’s progress as well as check to see if they are keeping up with the coursework on time.
Get A Free LMS Trial Today!
Our learning management system is tailor-made for online schools, colleges, and other distance learning organizations. It is designed to help educators in various phases of an educational program: Instructors can use it to create multi-user courses and grade student work.
Course moderators can use it to manage user roles, content assets, forums, and discussion topics. Administrators can use it to manage community members’ access rights, track grades, and view usage reports. The application uses stylesheets heavily for interface layout; this makes it easy for instructors and students to customize the program’s look and feel. It is written in PHP, with a MySQL database (though the application can be run from any hosting environment). It has been downloaded thousands of times since its first release, with positive reviews continuing to stream in. Contact us for a free trial.
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