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Introduction to Learning Management Systems

Introduction to Learning Management Systems

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This lesson is an introduction to Learning Management Systems, explaining what they are and how they can be useful to teachers, parents, and students in the learning process.

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Hello everyone, and welcome to today's lesson, which is an introduction to learning management systems, or LMS's. The goal is to give you an overview of what an LMS is and become familiar with some of the terminology related to learning management systems. Let's get started.

Let's begin by answering the question, what is a learning management system. Just three words, but they certainly encompass a lot. Often referred to as an LMS, a learning management system is a combination of digital tools and software that allows educators the ability to plan, schedule, administer, document, track, report, and deliver online learning.

A learning management system can act as the hub of a district's learning process for all stakeholders. It provides a structure for delivering and managing instructional content. For example, as curriculums evolve, an LMS is a great place to keep that information timely and live. The same is true for accessing assessment tools and tracking, collecting, and storing the data needed for documentation of student learning.

Learning management systems are not new. They've been common for some time at the university level, particularly in the case of blended learning courses. We are now beginning to see more and more learning management systems being used at the K-12 level, and offering blended learning opportunities to elementary and secondary schools.

You will want to keep these three things in mind. Learning management systems should be easy for students to use, and parents and staff to access as well. They should support established learning standards. They should personalize content and enable application of knowledge. An LMS does not replace an educator. An LMS is a great tool for educators to use to help reach and engage more students in an efficient and meaningful way.

What can be done with LMS's? The question may be easier to answer if was, what can't be done with an LMS? It's a multifunctional tool. For teachers, it helps them to develop instruction and incorporate a variety of tools, including lessons, quizzes, and surveys. Multimedia learning tools, like blogs, may also be created. They can help create schedules for learning activities, and teachers can even create mini-courses.

They can create assignments for students to complete either on or offline. They can help track student progress easily, including completion of assignments and results of quizzes and assessments, a huge factor for parents and guardians. For students, it allows them to have access to the content they are learning at anytime and any place, as long as they're online.

Students are able to obtain immediate feedback from the system. A learning management system offers the opportunity for students to access advanced programs and apps for online learning. Many students will take advantage of the system to help them stay organized and submit completed assignments on time.

Parents, too, will find many of the features of an LMS helpful, such as being able to communicate with teachers quickly and efficiently through such things as email, blogs, and web pages. They'll be able to view content that the students are learning in class, sometimes even in real time. And they'll be able to monitor the child's progress, schedule, and attendance right up to the minute. This eliminates the need to wait for a progress report to find out what's really going on in school.

Earlier, I referred to an LMS as a hub, and that's because of some common functions that individuals will find themselves using it for. For instance, it's the place to go for frequent, consistent communication among teachers, students, and parents, and it enables collaboration among students and teachers through a variety of tools like discussion forums, blogs, Google Docs, and wikis.

There are so many authoring tools and e-learning software available that can help you to create an engaging online learning experience in any variety of formats. For example, Educreations, Articulate, Screencast-o-Matic, Captivate, Camtasia, and Flashpoint, just to name a few.

When investigating learning management systems, it may be helpful to become familiar with the following terms. Open source refers to software whose source code is free and available on the internet. This allows users to modify it to suit their needs. Proprietary software is owned by an individual or a company, which means you'll most likely be paying for, and almost always have major restrictions on its use. You also probably wouldn't be able to make any modifications. This is usually true of free proprietary software as well.

So here's a summary of what we covered in this lesson. We defined what learning management systems are. We looked at some key features of learning management systems. We talked about supporting teachers, parents, and students through LMS's, and we introduced open source versus proprietary.

And now some food for thought. How could you envision a learning management system helping you and your practice? To dive a little deeper and learn how to apply this information, be sure to check out the additional resources section associated with this video. This is where you'll find links targeted toward helping you discover more ways to apply this course material. I look forward to seeing you again. Have a great day.

Notes on "Introduction to Learning Management Systems"

(00:00-00:18) Intro

(00:19-01:31) LMS

(01:32-02:03) Features

(02:04-03:39) Versatility

(03:40-04:04) Functions

(04:05-04:58) Tools & Software

(04:59-05:46) Summary/Food For Thought

Additional Resources

Edutech Wiki

This is an overview of what Learning Management Systems are and why teachers should use them in their instruction. If you do not have a district provided LMS, scroll down to see a linked list of open source LMS systems that you can use with classes.
http://edutechwiki.unige.ch/en/Learning_management_system


Why Use a Learning Management System for ELearning? 

This article by Matt Bury explains why you should use a learning management system, especially in a blended learning environment. In particular, the article investigates: coherently organized courses, appropriate types of roles for users, record keeping and management, more coherent communication, assessment tools, and integration with third party software and web services.
http://blog.matbury.com/2012/10/07/why-use-a-learning-management-system-for-elearning/