It would be an understatement to say that many aspects of our lives saw some changes last year. The pandemic turned the world upside down and from work and shopping all the way to education, a lot of activities were shifted into the online environment. However, not only were some of our everyday activities reformed, but the sudden necessity also undoubtedly sped up developments in certain sectors. One of these sectors is education, and the widespread use of LMSs or learning management systems is one of these developments.
The rise of LMSs
When schools closed their gates and moved to online platforms, the need for good LMSs skyrocketed. However, they are not exclusively used by online schools. Since the internet has opened up the opportunity for everyone to learn about whatever they want regardless of where they are, there had already been a steady demand for various forms of online education. The online learning experience can, however, be greatly influenced by the platform in question. How functional it is makes or breaks the student’s experience, which means that those planning to offer online education services need to choose their platform carefully. Overwhelmed by so many options, it can be difficult to tell what to prioritize. Here are the traits to look out for in your search.
What to look for in an LMS
Efficiency is always a priority, both for those offering the services and for those seeking them out. Therefore, it should also be a priority when picking an LMS. Online learning in itself can be said to be efficient: it saves time for the learner, eliminating the need for commuting, and saves money for the business, since it doesn’t require a physical location. But a good LMS also focuses on reducing the learning time. This does not mean rushing the learning process, but it does mean that the system is well organized and allows for efficient work and communication. This saves money both for the client and for the business.
When choosing an LMS, considering its accessibility is paramount. This means that you have to evaluate how important it is for you that the platform is available across devices. Nowadays people mostly use their phones, and in some countries, not every learner has access to a computer either. Some people might also simply prefer using tablets. An LMS that works on any device is probably the safest choice today.
The problem with online learning is usually a lack of organization. A good LMS can eliminate this issue by organizing all the learning materials in one place. This allows for a more seamless learning experience that does not involve switching between apps or pages, which ruins anyone’s productivity.
Online learning does come with challenges that are not as prominent in a traditional setting, and an LMS has to compensate for these. When learning remotely, it is much more difficult to keep track of one’s progress. If someone is learning online by themselves, it is extremely hard to evaluate how much they are actually progressing. A good LMS needs to put an emphasis on progress tracking, and a high-end platform can do this quite accurately. This makes the educator’s job at adjusting their approaches to better tailor to each student easier.
The social aspect
Distance learning removes an important aspect from education and that is the social aspect. Choosing the best LMS e-learning platform available to you can eliminate this issue. Students may feel isolated when they are not in a classroom setting. A platform that brings them as close to each other as possible can mitigate this. For instance, look for platforms that have integrated messaging systems. This, once again, eliminates the need for employing additional software that breaks the workflow. Besides messaging, it’s also important that collaborative tools are available. It will allow students to learn together despite being apart, boosting their motivation.
Another crucial trait to look out for in an LMS is the option for personalization. Educators know that every learner is different and naturally, the same cookie-cutter model won’t work for them all in the same way. This is why it’s incredibly important that the platform gives the educator the option to personalize the plan for students individually. We already mentioned the importance of progress tracking. This will give pointers for adjusting which learning materials become available for a particular student and when. Both the student will feel like their needs are taken into account and the educator will feel like they are in control.
The past year has proved that few things can get done with an unreliable internet connection. The reliability of your platform is also of critical importance. The functions offered need to be working well, and ideally, there should be great tech support you can turn to when you run into a problem. An unreliable platform can completely undermine your efforts and make you seem unprofessional, so keep this in mind.
Today, there are many LMSs to pick from, but before you choose based on all the shiny extras they offer, make sure that they have all the important bases covered.