Today’s schools are adapting to new technology to improve the way they educate their students. Implementing an LMS is one of the first steps taken, and it can have a profound impact on the way teachers and their pupils interact. The LMS market is growing and expected to reach $15.72 billion by the year 2021. By 2020, online-only learners are expected to make up 25% of all students, and that doesn’t include those engaged in blended learning. Now is a good time to review available eLearning products to determine which will offer your school the best results. The following list highlights seven features that are ideal for an academic environment.
- Learning Paths with Progress Tracking
Learning paths are a relatively basic LMS feature, however, each product does them a little differently. This tool is essential because it lets educators coherently organize material. They can create a clear road for their students to follow to cover each topic in the correct order for a better overall experience. Some LMSs also include branching options that give students the opportunity to travel a specialized path by choosing from two or more available courses.
Schools should look for learning paths that come with progress tracking. This feature will show how far along the student is in their educational journey with details on specific aspects of the process. For example, educators should be able to see class participation, quiz and test results, and other specifics that will let them know how a student is doing and whether they are keeping up.
- Interactive Discussions & Activities
Interactivity adds more learning opportunities through discussions and activities. A school-friendly LMS should contain the tools needed to let students engage one another and staff. Through classroom discussion, learners can increase their understanding of the material and assist fellow students. While the educator should oversee interactions as needed, this can free up more of their time to focus on building curriculum and helping students who need one-on-one support.
Some courses benefit from more than just text conversation. A learning management system that includes interactive whiteboards will create more ways to participate in a less rigid format. Interactive video is another great tool that pauses the content and asks the class a question or guides them through an activity.
- Personalized Learning Features
One of the biggest things teachers have discovered over the years is that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to education. No matter what age group you are teaching, some students will require a different approach or work at a different pace. A school-friendly LMS will allow educators to tailor the course to the needs of the student. Content should be customizable with options to deliver to specific pupils or groups of students.
This enables teachers to work with each student at their level. Those who are more advanced can be given harder problems or access to complex learning material while students who are having trouble can be given simpler concepts. Each student can remain in the same class without one holding the other back or making the process harder.
- Parent Involvement Features
Parental involvement is important for younger learners, primarily elementary and high school age students. Years ago, the only way to communicate with parents was through letters or phone calls. Your school’s LMS should include tools that keep parents informed on a daily basis. Many offer access to a student profile that includes attendance records, test and assignment results, and other items parents want to know about.
The right LMS should also open up communication between parents, students, and teachers. Online messaging is fast and easy, so problems, questions, or updates flow freely. By making involvement easier, schools can empower parents to become advocates for and supporters of their child’s education.
- Blended Learning with More Content Options
Blended learning is a staple when it comes to teaching. This collection of features enables educators to work with students in and out of the classroom. It’s a good way to provide a well-rounded curriculum that works with student and staff schedules. By offering an online component, schools can permit students to complete classwork and participate in discussions from anywhere – even when traveling.
The ideal balance of in-person and online training can be left up to the school or individual teacher. An LMS equipped with these tools will give all involved greater flexibility to learn and teach how they want.
- Assessments, Quizzes, & Surveys
No one likes taking tests, but they are a key part of monitoring progress and measuring information retention. A school LMS should provide assessment, quiz, and survey features. The best products will offer more customization options like the ability to upload photos and charts as well as multiple question types. Quizzes and assessments can track student ability while surveys can be used to request feedback from students or to encourage participation.
- Storytelling Features
Storytelling features will take the information students learn and translate it into a real situation or example. Educators can put their material into action by presenting students with a case-based story that shows how to apply skills or knowledge. Others may use narrative-based storytelling with fictional characters demonstrating how to apply the information in different situations. Other types of storytelling features may include problem or scenario based components.
Choosing the Best LMS for Your School
There are many LMS platforms available that cater to schools. The right product will offer:
- Core features that meet all of your school’s basic needs
- A price that fits into the yearly budget, including upgrades and updates
- Scalability or capacity that can accommodate the entire student body
- Tools and content that are appropriate for student age group(s)
- Accessibility that’s reliable and convenient for all users
Even if you find an LMS that looks like a good fit, remember to review many to ensure that you are getting the best quality and functionality possible for staff and students. Many options are out there, and the technology keeps getting better, which means there’s more potential for learning success.