In 2000, the first open source “learning management system” was introduced when Moodle came to life. Since then, dozens of other learning management systems (LMS) have entered the educational scene, becoming more user-friendly and beneficial to educators.
Knowing this, what is a learning management system and what are the advantages of one for professional learning? How can teachers use LMS for student learning, and how can administrators use LMS in their schools?
What is a Learning Management System?
A learning management system is a software program used as a one-stop shop for creating, tracking, delivering, and storing educational materials, courses, and outcomes. LMS is meant to store everything teachers need and use daily in one spot, so both students and teachers can seamlessly teach and complete work. It can be used not only for in-person learning but for distance learning as well.
Advantages of LMS for Professional Learning
Learning management systems have advantages for professional development and learning. Educators can obtain a master’s or additional certifications using learning management systems, something which would not have been possible decades ago.
Think of how appealing this format can be for people, being able to go back to school for an additional degree without leaving the comfort of one’s couch. Teachers can take self-paced courses, making it easier to fit professional development into people’s busy lives. Because everything saves inside the LMS, it’s easy to refer back to courses, content, or instructions.
How Teachers can Use LMS for Student Learning
There are many ways teachers can use LMS and online learning platforms for student learning. As aforementioned, learning management systems are great for keeping things in one place. The following learning management systems are valuable for K-12 students and include a look at how and why educators can use them.
Visually, Schoology looks similar to other social networks. This makes it very user-friendly for K-12 students. Teachers love it for how many resources are being shared through the platform, saving teachers time for lesson planning. Students enjoy it for how seamlessly other apps are connected to Schoology, like BrainPop, Google Drive, and Khan Academy.
Losing papers in a student’s desk, trying to remember logins to different programs, or getting lost on the way to a lesson are things of the past. Teachers can tell their students to click on the link to the BrainPop video on two-digit addition or have students open their writing document in their Google Drive. With just a few clicks, students can pick right up from where they left off.
Moodle is another popular learning management system amongst educators. Like Schoology, Moodle has a platform that allows educators to share their activities with others. For the younger grades (K-first grade) students can benefit from audio files and the labels that go along with them.
The option of having directions read aloud to the students and the ability to also repeat directions is another fantastic feature for all students but also specifically ELL students. Additionally, the launch page is helpful for younger students. This landing platform can have links that take students to other websites they frequently use in the classroom. Teachers love the ability to create and easily administer assignments using Moodle.
“Safe, Simple, and Free,” Edmodo is one of the most popular learning management systems out there. Teachers can message students, share materials with their class, and make learning easily accessible from anywhere. Drawing from inspiration using “discover” or browsing the “spotlight” component, teachers can see what other educators use to meet their classroom’s academic goals.
Parents love that they can receive real-time updates on test scores, daily work, and even direct messages from their child’s teacher. Edmodo also offers a comprehensive “Distance Learning Toolkit” to help educators navigating through the distance learning format.
How Administrators can Use LMS in Their School
Learning management systems are not just for students and teachers. Administrators can use them in their schools as well. LMS gives administrators the ability to post school-wide announcements. Is the cookie fundraiser almost over? Remind parents and students to get their sales packets in! Is track and field day happening soon? Send parents a reminder not to forget to send a water bottle. By keeping the entire school on the same page, students and parents all feel more informed and connected to their child’s days.
LMS often include a calendar. Administrators can use this as a central location where students, staff, and parents get information. Add information on sporting events, assemblies, or other school happenings so nobody forgets.
Additionally, LMS can be used to create groups amongst staff. Here, teachers can share information, updates, and notes. Grade level teams often collaborate regularly, but it can be trickier for grade levels to mix and mingle. By using groups, grade levels can better understand what other grade levels are doing and how what they are doing prepares them for that next step in the learning continuum.
Learning management systems are helping students, staff, and administrators make learning easier and more efficient for everyone. Students have a place they can go to access all the apps and programs they use regularly.
For teachers, they can connect to a broader network of educators and share lessons and ideas more easily. And administrators, they now have a way to communicate with both students and families all at one time. If you aren’t familiar with LMS, now is the time to try one out!