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What Instructional Tools Should I Consider in an LMS?

What Instructional Tools Should I Consider in an LMS?


This lesson explains several features of LMSs that could impact a selection decision.

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Classroom Instruction using an LMS

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Source: Tree, Pixabay,; Smiley Face, Pixabay,; Graph, Clker,; Globe, Clker,; Stick Figuer, Clker,

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Hello everyone, and welcome. The topic of this lesson has to do with learning management systems, particularly the instructional tools you should consider. So, here we go. Good learning management systems will contain a number of features that will support the goals of the course, the students, and the teacher. Many of these tools support 21st century skills and an individualized learning approach.

The goal of this lesson is to identify even more course features and materials that can be found in learning management systems that may very well impact your selection. We'll begin by looking at some of the robust course features for creating and utilizing assessments. As the number of options available for creating material online increases, compatibility needs to be a consideration.

In order to get the most out of a product, you will want your learning management system to be able to upload and support them in multiple formats including, but not limited to, text, rich text, Microsoft Word documents, audio, video, HTML, Java-based widgets, PDF, and zip files.

A feature that many users appreciate is the course calendar. This can help students map out their own learning and really pace themselves. Badges have become a very popular feature to online learning. In some ways, it's similar to earning a Smiley face sticker on your paper when you were six years old. It just feels good to be recognized for completing a task well, and can certainly motivate you to do even more.

From an adult learners point of view, badges can also be a great way to document and record concepts covered. Which leads us to personal profile pages, which can be a great place to maintain those achievements as well as any other information relevant to the course. There really is no excuse anymore for not communicating with your students, colleagues, administrators, and parents.

I remember when I first started seeing the Facebook and Twitter sign in the corner of my television screen for certain programs or advertisements. It seemed odd. Now when I don't see one it seems odd. That shift seemingly happened overnight. Communication has changed quite a bit. In learning management systems, you'll want to look for the ability to send email notifications and announcements.

As learning continues to become more social, other forms of communication are needed as well. For example, threaded or non-threaded discussions, chat rooms, live conference tools like Facetime and Hangouts, and, of course, social media integration tools like Facebook, Twitter, Wikis, blogs, and RSS feeds.

There are also a couple of grade book features to look for. The ability to create high quality assessments within the learning management system, and ways to store and analyze the data. Many systems even give you the option to choose the format in which the data is presented.

And finally, you'll want to find out if there's a way to include results of traditional paper pencil assessments and anecdotal evidence that occur offline into your learning management system.

And now, a quick summary of what we covered. We looked at additional features and learning management systems and sorted them into three categories. Course features, communication features, and grade book features.

It's time for today's food for thought. Which of the features mentioned in this video would be most helpful to you in your current role?

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 towards helping you discover more ways to apply this course material. Have a great day. We'll see you next time.

What Instructional Tools Should I Consider in an LMS?

(00:00-00:13) Intro

(00:14-01:52) Course Features

(1:53-02:45) Communication Features

(02:46-3:13) Gradebook Features

(03:14-03:27) Summary

(03:28-03:51) Food For Thought

Additional Resources

Choosing an LMS Provider: What Matters Most? 

This blog entry by Kathleen Waid provides useful points for consideration when choosing an LMS. The focus of this article is the role of the vendor or provider and how that role plays an important part in choosing the best LMS for your learning environment.

Learning Management Systems: My Three Favorites

This blog is written from the perspective of a teacher and explores how using an LMS supports and encourages the appropriate use of social media to communicate and collaborate. In addition, the teacher, Smadar Goldstein, explains her three favorite LMS systems and why she prefers these systems.