The world is going digital. Due to the growing need for online courses, LMS software has grown from its e-learning and corporate market roots to become the largest segment of the learning system market.
Virtual classrooms have replaced traditional ways of learning and, due to the current covid-19 crisis, we can expect these changes to remain in the near future. Human ingenuity can turn the worse of a situation for the better, and through recent advances in technology we can now not only maintain a teaching ecosystem but also improve it.
What is a learning management system (LMS)?
A learning management system (LMS) is a software application designed to improve learning experiences. Through the use of LMS software users can:
- Improve their approach to planning
- Better handle time management
- Simplify decision-making
- Streamline online courses and training programs
By using analytical data and reporting, LMS software is used to maintain an organizational structure and keep better track of students, trainees, clients, partners, or employees. Users can log in through a system built into the back end or with credentials supplied by the system. For example, Studyo’s school planner allows users to log into their system by using either their email address or their Microsoft, Google, or Apple accounts.
Why do people use a LMS?
LMS software helps everyone get organized
LMS software brings the convenience and efficiency of cloud-based software tools to the classroom environment. As virtual classrooms become more common, LMS software guarantees through intelligent algorithms that development, delivery, and keeping track of progress are seamlessly integrated into the learning ecosystem.
More engaging learning experiences
Current changes in global training and educational programs pose new challenges as people start learning to integrate online learning tools into their daily routines. Multimedia access facilitates interaction between teacher and student.
Not being bound by a traditional classroom environment, users of LMS software benefit from all kinds of content like readily available videos, images, documents, and even access to fully online courses on demand.
Preparing students for the jobs of tomorrow
Online learning helps students familiarize themselves with the workflow and the tools they will use in their future careers and online training. Technology improves incredibly fast. Around the turn of the century, we were impressed by wristwatches with color displays and iPods that could store 1000 songs. Nowadays, the same devices we use to tell the time and listen to music let us work and communicate from anywhere on the planet.
While the worldwide response to the covid-19 pandemic may have kickstarted the trend of virtual classrooms, the advantages brought by LMS solutions can easily outlive the pandemic and stay around teaching and work environments for the long run. Investing in LMS software is a viable long-term decision as blended learning and home offices become the norm.
What are the pros and cons of learning management systems?
Advantages of LMS software
Interoperability: LMS software allows different learning tools to better interconnect, creating a streamlined didactic experience and saving time otherwise taken away by organizational concerns.
Accessibility: By supplying tools for interactivity, LMS software creates an inclusive online training environment for all learners. Users with impaired vision, hearing, mobility, and cognitive disabilities can benefit from a learning experience that better caters to their particular needs.
Reusability: Content previously used for instruction will be available for use during future classes, or repurposed for other needs. This will be a huge asset in saving time and ensures course information is readily accessible for all users.
Durability: In contrast with textbooks and other traditional teaching materials, LMS software will not succumb to wear and tear and doesn’t need to be disposed of or re-acquired.
Maintenance ability: LMS software will eventually require updates, patches, upgrades, and other forms of maintenance. Even though this may sound negative, this means that properly implemented LMS software will constantly be up-to-date with modern standards of training and education. Future users will enjoy a plethora of advanced features as they are introduced into the learning ecosystem.
Adaptability: Intelligent algorithms will adapt in real-time to the needs of the user. Being adaptable also means that the software will not become a hindrance as the user population increases, as it can be adapted to fulfill an organization’s newfound needs.
Disadvantages of LMS software
Infrastructure concerns: Properly built technology infrastructure is required to adequately implement server-based LMS software. However, through cloud-based LMS solutions, these concerns may be mitigated.
Misadaptation: Teachers could not be technologically savvy enough to understand how to properly use LMS software. Willingness to adapt to a new learning platform may not be uniform among teaching staff.
Misunderstanding the medium: Instructors might be inclined to use older didactic methods when teaching online courses, thereby not taking advantage of the features provided by the LMS software. This means a virtual classroom might be missing out on the potential for student engagement and interactivity.
Open source LMS
A rule of thumb with open source e-learning tools, and open-source software in general, is that if you’re not paying for the product this most likely means you are the product. The price one pays when using free software is having their personal data gathered and sold to third parties for advertising and other purposes.
Open source LMS software is not as easy to integrate into virtual classrooms as knowledge in programming is needed to make sure the software merges with the learning platform. Money supposedly saved by taking the free option might have to be expended in hiring professionals to handle the coding.
Engineers often overlook a crucial step in making their software viable for use by regular people, and that is the user interface. Contrary to proprietary LMS, free LMS solutions might be confusing to navigate and to use. The design might have been thought out more in terms of what the source code needs to do instead of how users can use it to improve their learning experiences.
The main advantage of choosing paid LMS software over the free alternative is enjoying the perks that come with premium software. To begin with, you have access to a support team. This might save you money in the long run, since you will not have to pull resources away from your IT department or hire an independent programmer.
Software tools of paid LMS software are more sophisticated than those boasted by their free counterparts. Cloud-based LMS solutions permit all information relevant to the classroom ecosystem to stay on the Internet and accessible through the user’s preferred devices. Analytic tools, which are crucial in understanding your users and improving social learning, are another perk of paid LMS software.
Open-source e-learning tools may lack access to customizable schedules and calendars provided by paid LMS solutions. By going for the premium option, you will be able to have the year, month, week, and even the school day available for viewing. Paid LMS solutions provide options to personalize the user experience, while these must be coded when using open-source software.
Tips to find the right learning management system
Determine your goals
Will your teachers easily adapt to new online training tools? Would you like to sign in with your email address? Do you want to have access to the perks brought by being able to review past work and schedule with calendar tools? You have to make sure the LMS solution you go for includes the software tools you need.
Get feedback from staff and students
In the end, the people who will benefit the most from LMS software are the teachers and trainers who use it as a tool to better reach virtual classrooms. It is important to periodically ask for feedback from staff to have an overall idea of how the learning platform is making their lives easier, or if unexpected negative aspects of the blended learning experience could be ironed out.
What is the best LMS?
Studyo’s school planner improves the virtual classroom experience of both students and teachers. Student engagement was reportedly increased from 15% to 90% in the span of four to six weeks by using the Studyo platform.
Teachers don’t need to learn how to use new software tools to be able to better reach the students. Access to schedule and calendar tools with a full-time table guarantee planning and time management are effortless tasks. To top it off, logging in is as easy as using your email.