Critical developments in Learning Management Systems (LMS) have meant that tertiary and higher education institutions can now make their learning even more efficient and friendly for their students.
In days gone by educators and students would spend hours filing through papers, reading chapter after chapter of physical copies of textbooks, writing and sending emails, waiting on replies, and trying to be as productive as possible. Practices like these caused both students and educators to waste unnecessary amounts of time trying to complete even the simplest of tasks.
The paperless office is becoming the preferred choice for businesses, and it seems that now the paperless classroom and online learning are jumping on that train and increasing in popularity. All of this is a big plus for ensuring student success.
What is an LMS?
Learning Management Systems are software applications that allow educators to provide a thorough, simple, and direct means for learning. Teachers at Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) can track student progress, upload grades, and provide content and resources. Students can access all information online, as well as easily submit all their assignments to this one program.
Why do RTO’s need an LMS?
1. On the go learning:
With laptops, phones, and tablets more accessible and affordable than ever before, students can access course information wherever they go. Whether they are on the train commuting, at home, on their lunch break, they are always able to access work that needs completing, and necessary information – simply by logging on to the LMS.
2. Automation of tasks:
Teachers used to physically hand out information each day, and spend much of their personal time setting up courses and information. These platforms have helped to create a better balance. Many LMS’s allow teachers to automate emails, reminders, notifications, and work to their students without having to log on themselves and manually send everything. By utilising these automation functions, educators are guaranteeing that they will be able to create a more balanced work/life schedule, making them happier and more productive.
3. Time management:
Students are often juggling work, social lives, personal lives, and study all at once. Many will not have the option of travelling to get to their face-to-face classes. By RTO’s staying on top of critical technology like this, they are guaranteeing that their students will be able to study and pass even if they are unable to make it to a physical class. This level of support is desired by so many students and helps to ensure their ultimate success.
4. It covers everything:
Staying on top of these trends in technology will mean that all tasks educators are required to complete are made easier. A good LMS allows teachers to manage courses, online content, assignment submission, group activities, reports, and grading.
Benefits of an LMS
It is clear that institutions need to be aware of this technology so they can implement it in their organisations, but what other benefits will these systems provide?
1. Saving time and money:
The organisation and coordination of a higher education course can take hours of preparation time for educators. From planning to prepping assignments to sourcing the materials, much of their free time is actually spent on their organising their courses. In addition, they used to spend hours printing material or setting up emails to send to students. Now, they can collate all their information and have it pre-loaded into their LMS, ready for students to log on and access it at any time. Time saved from not having to go through the setup process means teachers can dedicate their time to creating the best course content possible. Online learning also means that students save money on things like travel, which can often add pressure to anyone unable to work while they study.
2. Aids flexible learning:
Learning Management Systems guarantee that students will always be able to access the information they need. If a student has to work and is unable to attend their classes, they are not at risk of falling behind, because the material will always be available. Similarly, if a student who has children or responsibilities during the day is unable to learn in the ‘conventional’ classroom manner, they can complete their work online in the evenings. This flexibility is good for mental health and well-being and gives more opportunity to those seeking to gain a qualification while juggling other commitments.
3. Variety and location of content:
Educators are no longer limited to pages and pages of mindless reading. These sorts of resources are no longer interesting for a demographic who has access to YouTube videos, multimedia, podcasts, images, etc. LMS systems allow teachers to provide all manner of resources to their students, making the content more relevant and engaging. These tools help to create a more interesting learning environment for students and helps to ensure they remain engrossed in the content they are required to learn. Rather than scouring through previous emails or online for information, teachers can upload all their learning resources directly to one spot, creating easy and immediate access for all students.
4. Ease of personalisation:
Learning platforms like these allow for complete personalisation by each institution. Imaging and branding are at their complete discretion and can be easily incorporated into different elements and features of the platform. Most platforms will also allow students to have their own portals and user ID’s making it easy for them to access specific information that is only relevant to them. Personalisation adds an element of fun and community to the LMS.
5. Enhanced communication system:
An LMS helps to facilitate communication between people. Students can easily get in touch with teachers and vice versa. Platforms like this create a permanently open channel for communication between multiple parties, making discussions easier than ever before. Most platforms allow all users to send emails, direct messages, forum updates, and more to individual people or groups. Communication is more interactive, collaborative, and functional.
What to look for in a robust LMS
There are many Learning Management Systems out there. The question is how do you find the right one for student success. D2L, or Desire 2 Learn, is a trusted system used by many institutions including Deakin University, Singapore Management University, Tafe Queensland, University of Colorado (Boulder), and plenty more around the world.
D2L encapsulates all the most efficient and practical parts of an LMS and has used that to create an effective tool for the staff and students. Their technology is designed from the ground up to allow for use across all devices, from Samsung to Apple, from laptops to phones and tablets. Students have fast and easy access through worry-free technology.
Staff and students can seamlessly integrate the tools they use the most so that it is all configured in one place. Whether they use YouTube, Google Docs, web links, or images, they can all be combined on to the system.
Users have an “Activity Feed” so that they can stay up to date with all the communication coming to them from other students or staff. They can communicate in groups if there is a group assignment requirement that needs completing.
D2L focuses on providing an optimal and fully personalised system to make learning and teaching easier for staff and students across a wide variety of institutions.
A world of support ensures student success
Online learning platforms like these provide an efficient, productive and manageable solution to online learning. LMS systems let students and teachers complete their work and share information with ease, and make them more confident when it comes to sourcing information and communication.
These systems are accommodating to students of all technological abilities. Even for those who are not the most confident with technology, whether they are a young student or mature age, will be able to adapt quickly to the easy processes of an LMS.
In the case of a student who is extremely uncomfortable using computer programs, it is worth asking your RTO about learning coaches and technical support. Most reputable RTOs will have a team of support staff waiting to help coach you through the learning phase and ease the technological transitions and challenges. RTOs want to see their students succeeding, and offering them the support they need is just one way they are helping to ensure success.
With such busy schedules and the goal to create a harmonious work/life balance, RTOs and users of these systems are assured their lives and study schedules will be made easier. They will be able to complete their work successfully and still have time for their families, jobs, social lives, and all the things that matter to them. The flexibility that these systems create ensures that even the busiest student will have the means and the opportunity to reach their goals.
LMS platforms were created to make the lives of people in the education sector run smoothly, a goal they have certainly achieved.