As blended learning is gradually becoming the norm, schools around the world are progressively using Learning Management Systems (LMS) for all aspects of the teaching process: to enroll students, to deliver lessons, to assign homework, to assess learning, to track progress, to produce reports and grade books.
‘LMS’ is a broad term that covers a wide range of software applications, from proprietary to open-source to cloud-based LMSs, each with each own pros and cons. What all great LMSs have in common are the following characteristics. They are:
It really shouldn’t take a 6-hour video tutorial just to get a grasp of the system’s basics. It’s all a matter of good design. The user should be able to find his way around the platform easily from the very beginning.
Your LMS should be able to go beyond the surface. It should be able to combine and classify data, apply filters and different views, synthesize.
The number of users reaching the platform from their mobile devices is increasing. Therefore, it goes without saying that any new system should be optimized for desktops, smartphones, and tablets.
The user, be it student or teacher, should be able to adapt the platform to their specific needs. Great LMSs give users this much desired customization functionality.
The LMS should be able to produce tangible deliverables to all users. For the teacher it can be report cards or class printouts; for the student it can be certificates of completion or badges of achievement.
It all comes back to good design. A well-made platform should do part of the thinking for you. In other words, repetitive processes should be able to automate or (even better) skip, as the user becomes more familiar with the system. Sometimes, even simple things like the ability to add a reminder make all the difference.
Who said LMSs should be boring? Using gaming elements like points, badges and leaderboards, adds an extra fun ingredient to the mix. This is especially useful for the student-facing pages, since it boosts motivation and engagement.
One final feature is the ability of different users to interact. Apart from the student-teacher interaction, which is the primary purpose of the LMS, there is also the ability for teachers to share data, projects, courses etc. with other teachers. Similarly, the ability for students to communicate and work on the same projects with other students.