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Learning management systems for schools, generally shortened to just "LMS", use software to provide classes, lessons, or training programs entirely online. These e-learning systems can be used by elementary, middle, and high schools all the way up to colleges and universities.
Educational LMS can allow for teachers to host synchronous courses with 5, 30, or more students while balancing student-teacher interaction in the virtual classroom. Additionally, these online learning systems offer intuitive user interfaces to help children as young as 3 participate in class, along with non-traditional students who may not have as much experience with remote learning.
Whether you're looking for a LMS for a K-12 school district or a university master's program, there is a learning management system for your educational institution.
Note: If you are looking for an LMS to use in a corporate setting, check out these business-oriented LMS software products.
Implement an LMS for your school in order to enjoy these benefits:
More schools than ever before have realized the value of at least offering some degree of virtual classes to students. By adopting online learning into the curriculum, classes could continue as long as possible even during lockdowns and quarantine. And an LMS is necessary for facilitating those online classes.
LMS software may also include or integrate with student information systems (SIS) tools for monitoring individual student performance over time. In higher education, this can allow remote students to apply for classes anywhere in the world. The SIS keeps track of which students are physically present, who isn't, and if anyone is following a hybrid learning model.
In every school, clear communication is key for ensuring students understand assignments. LMS software provides ways for remote students to send messages such as emails or texts to their teachers directly. And LMS platforms even include tools for posting webinars to social media, increasing student engagement even on mobile devices. These additional avenues to reach students and encourage learning are just a few of the major benefits provided by learning management systems.
Many schools and universities have adapted rather well to online instruction. One major concern, however, is the loss of person-to-person interaction in physical classrooms between teachers and students. How can a teacher properly assess student competency without meeting face-to-face?
LMS platforms provide virtual classrooms which offer chat, audio, and video communication tools. Teachers can still see their students and interact in meaningful ways. Some products even include integration with video communication tools such as Zoom or Skype.
Finally, teachers and professors can review online assignments and submit grades to a digital report card instantaneously. Students can then access the learning platform and see gradebook updates in real-time. No more waiting for a list to be posted outside a classroom door or a report card to be sent home in the mail. By continuously measuring student progress, those who are at risk of falling behind can address potential issues or ask for extra credit assignments before failing completely.
Blackboards are no longer the norm in school settings. Even whiteboards, their common replacement, are no match for the rise in interactive digital boards in classrooms. Teachers can now offer interactive, multimedia course content to increase student engagement through LMS platforms.
Authoring tools allow teachers and professors to make custom content and share with other educators. For example, administrative staff can design templates for all teachers within the district to use to keep all official school documents consistent. Everything from lesson plans to grading rubrics can be shared with LMS software.
LMS for schools has one more benefit: the ability to increase your enrollment. Since students are no longer confined to schools within their geographic area, they can attend almost anywhere. With an LMS, your educational institution can offer classes to students anywhere in the world, gaining more funds from tuition or district budgets.
LMS platforms offer two types of classes: synchronous and asynchronous. The former allows teachers or professors to set times for classes and hold them in real-time for students. This is useful for school districts which have a mix of in-person and remote lessons. The latter allows educators to pre-record lectures or lesson plans and allow students to work based on their availability.
Each has its own benefits. Synchronous classes are best for K-12 school districts which need to serve younger students during traditional school hours. Asynchronous is often used for older or more advanced students. For instance, higher ed. Institutions may use asynchronous courses to draw in students who cannot attend classes during regular school hours. In particular, asynchronous classes can accommodate the schedules of non-traditional students or working professionals who are part of employer incentive programs.
The 2020 school year was deeply impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Hundreds of thousands of students all over the world were sent home and teachers had to adjust the syllabus to fit online lessons. The solution was quickly developed learning management systems.
As described above, most schools now offer at least some level of online learning. Several even had limited systems in place for certain student situations. With schools reopening for in-person classes, some institutions are allowing students to pick if they want to be back in the classroom or remain virtual for any reason. However, many have realized hybrid systems could be far more effective with new LMS software.
The features most schools want include:
Perhaps the biggest trend is the rise of blended learning, the aforementioned hybrid models which incorporate virtual and in-person classes. This allows students to alternate between either option, depending on their needs. For example, a student who is required to undergo a mandatory quarantine period can continue classes online with minimal disruption through a hybrid system.