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Best Practices in Using LMSs

Best Practices in Using LMSs

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This lesson explains best practices in LMS selection and LMS use by teachers.

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Source: Person, Pixabay, http://bit.ly/1M10NpB; Parking Lot, Pixabay, http://bit.ly/17J1xlV; Price Tag, Clker, http://bit.ly/1Atj3Bc; Globe, Clker, http://bit.ly/1CVSonk; Stick Figure, Clker, http://bit.ly/1JoIB83

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Hello, everyone, and welcome. In this lesson, we'll be reviewing best practices in using learning management systems. Let's get started.

At some point in your life you probably went through the experience of buying a new car. Even if money wasn't a factor, it isn't a decision that you make as you roll out of bed, like you would if you were deciding whether to have cereal or toast for breakfast. The process includes many steps and a huge amount of factors to consider. For instance, style, color, efficiency, comfort, size, reliability, purpose, and many more. And all the while, you are bombarded with advertisements telling you about great deals.

Once you've taken a few test drives and have finally decided what the best car for you is, you make your purchase. But wait. You're not finished yet. You have questions about how to you some of the features, and you need information about the maintenance, insurance, and security.

What do you do? Who do you call? How responsible will the dealership be when you need their support? Choosing and using a learning management system is a lot like that.

Let's take a look at best practices for selecting a learning management system. First off, you will want to consider the time it will take to implement the system, including the time that would need to be spent on training. Educators need to be efficient, and they're usually always on the go. Some teachers can also be resistant to change. Any time a new tool or system is being introduced, those factors need to be weighed. If in the eyes of the users the net amount of time gained is less than that time invested, it's probably not going to work out well.

As our field continues to move in the direction of personalized education, you will want to consider the flexibility of the system and its ability to be customized to meet the individual learning needs of students and instructional needs of teachers. Also, the manner and depth of the reporting capabilities are important, as well.

Consider the ease of use. There is a huge gap among teachers in our field in terms of comfort level with technology. For this reason, the user-friendliness of any program, product, or device can be a major factor in the selection process. If the people who are charged with using it every day find it difficult to work with, the true benefits of the system will not be realized.

Just like that car story, you will want to take it for a test drive. Many systems offer free trials or partial versions. Take advantage of those, so you can try out the system before committing to it.

Now, let's look at some best practices for learning management systems used by teachers. Organization is vital. A learning management system is there to help you consolidate information and manage learning. If you aren't organized enough to take advantage of the system, then it's pretty much useless. It's on you as the instructor to help provide direction for your students on managing key documents and important resources. Some may only have to be shown once, and then they're off.

We often use the phrase less is more. And that can be applied here. You will want to keep the online learning space clear of systems that you are not using or only using small parts of. Oftentimes, districts have no problem adding new tools, but are reluctant to eliminate some. Try to avoid multiple LMS's. But if you do have more than one system in place, you'll want to layer them. But keep the main one as your main one.

Communication tools, like announcements and discussion boards, are incredibly helpful to build collaboration and community. It also promotes transparency and shows your stakeholders the benefits of the system that you are using. As you use the system, be diligent about reviewing the embedded analytics. This information is there to help you create action steps and decisions moving forward.

Like placing your trust in the service that the car dealer provides, customer support and help should also be a consideration. Doing some research and reading message boards and comments will definitely help find the answers to questions like these. Is customer service easy to reach? What is the best method to contact them? Is it email, their website, by phone, by chat, or instant message? I for one love to see that little icon meaning that there's someone there to chat with live.

Are customer service representatives ever available for on-site visits for assistance or training? And if so, is it part of their plan, or is there a fee? And finally, are there organizations, listservs, or forums available for tech support?

So to summarise what we looked at in this video today, we talked about the selection process of getting the learning management system, best practices for teacher use, and the consideration of customer support. Here's today's food for thought. Investigate your district's LMS's.

For more information on how to apply what you learned in this video, please view the additional resources section that accompanies this presentation. The additional resources section includes hyperlinks useful for applications of the course material, including a brief description of each resource. Thanks for watching. Have a great day.

Notes on "Best Practices in Using LMSs"

(00:00-00:09) Intro

(00:10-01:09) Car Buying Story

(1:10-02:40) Best Practice For Selection

(02:41-4:02) Best Practice By Teachers

(04:03-4:47) Customer Support

(04:48-05:25) Summary/Food For Thought

Additional Resources

Blogger Beware: Teaching with Blogs Best Practices

This is a presentation by Jason Rhode and Stephanie Richter from the Faculty Development and Instructional Design Center at Northern Illinois University on using blogs in the classroom. This presentation explores how and why to use blogs in classroom instruction. Scroll down to see the "How to" section for tips on implementing blogging as a part of your instructional practices.
https://sites.google.com/site/slate09blogs/presentation


Massachusetts Department of Education: Learning Management System (LMS) Rubric

This tool breaks down the LMS into specific components and offers a rubric to evaluate each component. After using the tool, the user will have a comprehensive overview of the LMS systems that they are considering and sufficient data to make appropriate decisions.
http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:lmyZkh3HZegJ:www.doe.mass.edu/odl/courses/LMSrubric.docx+&cd=18&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us