Learning Management Systems: The Only Guide You Need
“Teaching in the Internet age means we must teach tomorrow’s skills today.”
– Jennifer Fleming
About 3 years ago, we introduced a new idea around here. This idea would change the way our students learn, the way our teachers teach, and the way our parents think. It would affect almost everyone associated with BigByte Education. But we all knew it had to be done. What was the idea? The answer is simply 3 letters:
L M S
Back in 2016, we rolled out a Learning Management System (LMS) across our organization. Immediately, we knew there would be a big adjustment for our parents and teachers, but it promised some huge benefits, too. For those of you that might be thinking “I don’t even know what Learning Management System means”, don’t worry; just keep reading!
What is an LMS?
To break it down as simply as possible, a Learning Management System (LMS) is a piece of software, like Facebook or Google Drive, that is used to help students learn. Essentially, an LMS is an online classroom.
Think of what you might find in a classroom: teachers explaining, kids practicing, teams working together, classes taking tests. A good LMS has its own answer to each of those activities and plenty of other great functions.
Where teachers might use a whiteboard, an LMS explains through pictures, videos, music, and writing.
Instead of kids practicing with pen and paper in an English class, an LMS helps kids learn through playing educational games and taking quizzes.
In a classroom, kids might sit around a table talking, whereas, with an LMS, kids post messages on a discussion board and even video chat with their team.
Where you might find students in large exam halls taking tests, an LMS allows students to take exams wherever they are.
Now you might be thinking that an LMS is supposed to be a replacement for a traditional classroom but, actually, it is usually used as a complement to a traditional classroom.
How does an LMS work at BigByte?
At this point, some of you are probably wondering what an LMS actually looks like and how it works. Well, to show you, we are going to put you into the role of 3 different people at BigByte: a student, a teacher, and a parent.
As a student:
With increasing commitments and decreasing amounts of time, it is important for the next phase of education to be efficient. That’s why an LMS can be used to help students prepare for the class in their own time. Using a range of pictures, videos, and text to explain ideas, an LMS helps students to preview the lesson beforehand so that they are in the best position to learn when they enter the classroom.
As you all know, effective learning requires self-awareness, getting into the habit of asking yourself, “Do I understand this idea? Can I improve my understanding?” That’s why most lessons end with a wrap-up to monitor comprehension. Well, an LMS can be used similarly with activities created to review the topic of a lesson. These activities help students solidify their knowledge and identify any missing parts.
I’m sure we can all think back to sitting nervously in a large hall as we completed an exam. Nowadays, with the prevalence of technology in the classroom, students are expecting and expected to do more and more of their exams online. While this may not be the traditional method of assessment, it is a more time-efficient way for students to complete their assignments.
As a teacher:
One of the most important parts of teaching is tracking and analyzing students’ progress. Without tracking the numbers, it can be difficult to know whether your students truly understand a subject. A good LMS will help teachers visualize individual and class data and identify patterns, allowing them to adjust their delivery of content to fit the class.
In a traditional class, teachers will make their way around the classroom to grade work and give students personalized feedback. As many teachers know, this may not be the best use of class time but giving feedback is non-negotiable in the learning process. Furthermore, unless students are hyper-organized, it is likely that records of feedback will be lost in the long-run. With an LMS by your side, however, all feedback can be delivered online, where it is stored indefinitely and available anywhere.
As we mentioned, teachers equipped with an LMS are better able to tailor their class time. But improving the quality of class time is not the ceiling with most good systems; with our LMS, teachers are able to customize the content students see online, ensuring that their teaching methods are consistent both in- and outside of the classroom.
As a parent:
I’m sure many of you reading this are parents and you have been waiting to see how an LMS benefits you. First and foremost, wouldn’t you love to see what your kids are learning today, tomorrow, or next week? Instead of flipping through textbooks or rummaging through your child’s school bag to find their homework, our LMS allows you interact with the class curriculum in a similar fashion to your child.
At BigByte, we believe that a child’s whole environment is crucial to their learning; that a parent’s behavior is just as important as a teacher’s. But, in order to understand how you can best help your children, it is important to pay attention to their performance. That’s why an LMS is a critical tool for parents, too. Imagine all of your child’s grades being at your fingertips, with detailed feedback from their teachers available at any moment.
Communicate with teachers
So, now you understand the curriculum, you know exactly how your child is performing, what’s next? How can you, as a parent, synthesize this information to create a plan? Most of the time, it would benefit a parent to communicate with their child’s teacher to hear some valuable suggestions. Unfortunately, in a traditional classroom, opportunities to communicate with a teacher are few and far between. With an LMS, though, all you need is a few clicks to bring parents and teachers closer together.
Why is an LMS Important?
Now that you have a better idea of what an LMS looks like in reality, it’s time to talk about why it is so popular. As you were reading, I’m sure many of these benefits popped out to you so we’ll try to keep it short.
1. Helps All Kinds Of Learners
One of the best ways to learn is to care and show interest in a subject. One of the best ways to care is to be engaged with the material. With an LMS, the sky's the limit when it comes to learning in different ways. Whether you prefer pictures and text or videos and audio, an LMS will keep you on your toes.
2. Saves Everyone Time
With preview, review, and assessments moved online, we are able to make the best use of our time in the classroom. Instead of feeding students information, lessons can be used to learn, practice, and perfect vital transferable skills; all thanks to an LMS!
3. Makes It Easier To Improve
Because of recent scandals, our faces tend to grimace when we hear the word “data” but, when it comes to learning, the more data the better. With an LMS at our disposal, we are able to take the first steps towards improvement by identifying our strengths and weaknesses.
4. Uses Updated Technology
Imagine using a telegraph to send your friends a message instead of LINE. Imagine using a phonebook to find your favorite restaurant’s phone number instead of Google. The chances are, your children have had some exposure to the internet (through apps like these) and will use the internet for many years to come. Interacting with an LMS as they grow indirectly teaches children core technological skills that will give them a head start in the future.
How Can I Learn More?
By now, you know the basics of Learning Management Systems, how they work, and why they’re the future of education. But where do you go from here?
Well, if you want to learn more about how we use an LMS at BigByte, click HERE to find out more or click below to book a tour.