Learning Management Systems have been around for years, ranging from free Open Source tools to highly refined commercial solutions. They can be an efficient way for schools to manage documents and course content.
Unfortunately, many educators and Education IT professionals think that adopting an LMS removes the need for a student planner.
There are many reasons why relying solely on your LMS solution is not enough to provide efficient planning tools to your students:
#1 LMSs are teacher centered
If you are a teacher, you want tools which make your life and your job easier. Good LMSs do this. But what about students? Students need the ability to enter their own tasks in the same context as the ones posted by teachers. This is key to helping them build the essential executive function skills required in today’s world.
#2 LMSs are not aware of your school’s actual schedule
Holidays, early start or dismissal, special events and other exceptions are all part of a school’s everyday context. Most LMSs only manage simple dates, unaware of other classes or other specific schedule info. When students have a tool which displays your school’s exact schedule, periods, bell times and shift them appropriately, they can see all their work in the appropriate context.
#3 LMSs are about due dates
Knowing when something is due is definitely important, but students benefit from seeing what was entered or announced on a given date. Some write down work both on the date is was given to them and the date it is due, and sometimes multiple times in between if they do not want to forget. Ideally, a digital form of the planer should do this for them (hint: Studyo does this). This can allow the display of tasks on a timeline for example, or to add notifications or even planning dates.
#4 Not every teacher uses the LMS, or use it for everything
Sometimes, going digital is not the best way to go or the materials are simply not in digital form. Teachers still write on the board, pass sheets and refer to manuals. After all, they are the ones who should decide which approach is the best for student learning. So when the LMS is not used, how do students keep track of things? Perhaps a paper planner, a to-do app or something else (the palm of their hand?). But then, they have multiple sources to check in order to stay on top of what is expected of them.
#5 LMSs leave no room for student methodology
Many schools offer specific lessons or classes on getting organized, because students definitely need to learn to develop these skills. Therefore, time management tools must allow for variation in how students interact with their workload. They should be able to plan when they will work, think about the context of each task across subjects and even include their personal responsibilities in order to take the best decisions.
Learning Management Systems are powerful tools which help manage the workflow of documents and educational content. Planners are tools for students to manage their own time and tasks, in a school context where calendars and to-do apps are not an effective solution. Before eliminating planners, any school should define a strategy to support student-centered planning and this can definitely be accomplished by providing students with modern time-management tools.