Like everything else, technology is changing the education sector. It is changing the way it is delivered and taken across all levels, right from Kindergarten to higher education. More work is being done on the internet and the resulting changing landscape of education is creating the need for new tools & platforms. The tools designed to streamline teaching and learning, are thereby enhancing the overall level of education.
Welcome to Learning Management Systems (LMS) for education.
A Learning Management System is designed to create, administer, manage, track, and report a learning process online. Think of it as a software which enables elearning, for example, in schools and colleges. It is meant to improve the learning process of students and enhance the delivery & management of the teaching process for the educators.
Identifying the need for LMS, its features and benefits
Babson Survey Research Group reported that by the year 2016, at least 30% of higher education students in the US enrolled for at least one online course. The growth of online or distance learning courses has been rapid. As more and more students opt for online education, there is a rising need for better management of student records, performance data as well as their tracking, communication, and delivery to the students.
So what should you look for in an LMS tool?
In today’s tech-driven environment, it is essential to understand the implications of a learning software before putting into use, to ensure that it makes the work easier instead of complicating it further. So the perfect LMS should be:
● Simple to use and access
● Easy to integrate with other online tools
● Have scope for customization and scalability
At the same time, an LMS software must have features particularly inclined towards making online education easier. It should allow:
● Enrollment through any device
● Creation and issuing of certificates, along with their secure storage and privacy
● Assessment through multi-choice, essay, open-ended questions, as well as simulations
● Reporting in terms of grades, percentage, percentage of course completion, and other analytics
● Communication and collaboration between teachers, students, parents and other relevant administrators through chat, messaging & notifications
Apart from these, the LMS should also have instructional tools that allow students to understand and finish an assigned course
Now let’s have a look at how learning management systems are changing the landscape of education by providing benefits to teachers, students as well as parents. These benefits include:
● Efficient and engaging training
● Leveraging mobile devices to their potential
● Customization and scalability
● Savings in terms of time and money
● Better interactivity
Now let’s have a closer look at these revolutionary benefits.
Efficient and Engaging Learning
An LMS allows the creation of calendars for timely tracking and completion of tasks and projects, enabling teachers to keep on a student’s performance in terms of quality and time taken. This simultaneously allows students to understand the level of their progress, much in the same way as their teachers. An unbiased and clear depiction of performance acts as a motivator and encourages students to level up their work when needed.
Leveraging Mobile Devices to Their Potential
Technology makes way for technology. Portable devices like laptops and other mobile devices in the form of tablets and smartphones have taken accessibility to a new level. Unrestricted by time and place, Learning Management Systems keep the learning process going unhindered and non-stop.
Customization and Scalability
Course requirements can always change with time, especially year by year. Course content is required to be modified and updated in accordance with change in curriculum and to keep the standard of imparted-knowledge up-to-date. LMS empowers such changes, thereby allowing everyone involved to experience any changes instantly and at the same time.
Savings in terms of Time and Money
Suffice it to say that an LMS provides clear advantages over in-person learning when time and money factors come in. There are no traveling and logistical costs involved, saving various educational setups a great deal of time and money.
Provides Interactive Environment
Certain benefits are reflected straight out of the features, such as this one. A good LMS tool provides inbuilt communication between teachers, students, parents and any other relevant person inside a certain education system. Interactive capability that is built in to the software allows for project suitable and concentrated communication, keeping the use of separate communication channels to a minimum. From quick reminders, notifications to upcoming training events and schedules, anything can be shared.
There are many LMS tools available today that can be used depending on the requirements and the level of usage of different schools, colleges and other educational institutes. Let’s take a look at some of the most popular ones and what makes them tick:
One of the most popular LMSs, Schoology is a preferred choice for K-12 education because of its more school-focused features. It boasts of more than 200 educational tools and integrations with the likes of Google Drive and Microsoft One Drive. It provides a common communication platform for parents and coaches other than teachers, students and other school administrators. One of the highlighting features of Schoology is the freedom to work collaboration. Additionally, it allows automated and web-based grading system and course management.
Moodle is a free-to-use LMS with a wide variety of functionality, but without the visual appeal of some other LMSs. Being an open-source tool, it is powered by community-driven updates allowing you to add and create features for improved functionality. Moodle sports possibly all important functions like real-time messaging, assessment sessions, tracking and reporting.
A prominent feature of Brightspace is its advanced analytics capability for in-depth performance assessments. And it smoothly integrates with the cloud-based Microsoft Office 365 as well, enhancing doc and project building. Another unique aspect of Brightspace is its support for competency-based education.
Among the most used Learning Management Software, Blackboard is available as a SaaS as well as an enterprise software, giving the freedom to choose depending on the requirements. One of the best features of Blackboard is the provision of video conferencing for conducting sessions. A large number t of academic publishers have partnered with Blackboard for sourcing educational materials.
There is a growing awareness about Learning Management Systems and their ability to enhance the quality of distance or online learning. Many public platforms like forums and Q & A websites, like Reddit, Quora, Discuss, LinkedIn Answers, etc., provide a common stage for online discussions, like education questions answers, revolving around LMS tools. It further creates opportunities to share real user experiences that educators are getting out of such software.
Learning Management Systems are creating stronger operating platform for online education around the world, and across all levels. They are doing it by not only providing shareable learning and communication platform to educators, students, and parents, but also by providing need-specific learning, and teaching mechanisms.
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