One of the most widely used approaches in eLearning is the transition to learning management system. A Learning management system or LMS helps in creating, managing, and tracking online training or courses, all under one platform.
You’ll find many different learning management systems in the market which differ in terms of features, quality, and cost. An LMS helps in creating an organized eLearning course for an effective learning experience. Moreover, it makes learning and training very flexible both for educators and learners.
If you are thinking about shifting your learning environment from traditional learning to online learning then investing in a learning management system will be a wise decision as it is the most efficient way to conduct online learning programs. But before that, you need to do a bit of research and find out everything you need to know about a good LMS platform that fulfills your learning goals.
In this article, we’ll explain all you need to know about learning management systems, the advantages of using an LMS, what features a learning management system should have, and the five best tips for a smooth transition to LMS.
Read more: Beginners guide to MOOCs
Traditional Learning Versus Learning Management System
There is a huge debate in the world right now about which system is best to choose for a good learning experience – the traditional learning environment, or eLearning environment. Where a traditional environment is convenient for one group of people, there is another group of people who advocate for an eLearning environment and will choose this system without any second thought.
However, the Covid-19 crisis has left no option now for anyone to choose. With the stay-at-home orders, everything is shifted to the online world including educational institutes and organizations.
Considering the following points will help you to compare and decide which learning environment will best work for your organization to achieve your learning outcomes and desired goals.
One reason that makes an online learning management system more desirable is that it is very flexible in terms of time, pace, and place. A learner can learn and get education from the comfort of his/her home without facing the difficulties of conveyance or time.
This is a huge benefit not just for a learner but for an educator too. An online learning management system provides the ease to educate or learn from anywhere anytime in the world by utilizing technology. Whereas, a traditional learning environment can not provide this flexibility to the learners or educators.
An online learning management system is inexpensive as compared to a traditional training system.
You might think why? What is the reason?
Well it’s because for online training you don’t have to spend on additional expenses such as the cost of transport, printed training material, hiring the instructor, and other training expenses that come with a traditional training.
One big benefit that an online learning management system gives to the learners is that they can attend the lectures at the time of their convenience. This feature of an LMS is a big blessing for students who work alongside their studies or for a housewife who is pursuing her education. They can fulfill their other responsibilities without missing any lecture or important information.
Whereas, a traditional learning environment can never provide this facility. In a traditional learning environment, the learner can miss a lot even if he/she misses one class but an online course allows the learner to pause the lecture and resume it once they are back.
Well Organized Management
A learning management system provides complete control over administration processes, communication processes among different users, and a complete and effective content management system. Every process from course creation to course registration, to managing profiles of administrators, instructors and students can be very easily managed and monitored.
The process of development, uploading, and sharing of learning material or content among all learners and instructors work very smoothly within an LMS. The instructor can upload lectures, assignments, and quizzes in a learning management system and the data gets stored in the database of an LMS for students to view or access it anytime they want. This feature makes it very easy for an instructor to share the updated content or data with all the learners at the same time.
Using an online learning management system can be a bit tricky for some learners and educators because not everybody is tech-savvy. Some learners or educators might not be familiar with different software tools and might not know how to create and upload the lectures, assignments, and other related tasks.
While on the contrary, a traditional learning environment doesn’t require every learner or instructor to be good with technology. However, this challenge can be overcome by providing different learning tutorials to teach the users how to use different software tools and the learning management system and give them time to get used to the processes.
Related: Top five eLearning trends
Five Best Tips for Smooth Transition to Learning Management System
Transition to a learning management system will make the upskilling process very easy If you’ve decided to switch your learning environment to an online learning management system then it’s important to know how you can make the process smooth and how you can utilize the learning management system to attain your goals and desired learning outcomes.
The following tips will help you to make your transition process smooth and easy.
Understand the Needs of Your Audience
The process of transitioning to an online learning management system requires the involvement of your team. Consult your team and know what kind of features they would like to have in a learning management system? Consulting your team will help you to gain their support also and this will make the process of transitioning easy and quick.
Moreover, you also need to understand your learner’s persona. Study your audience, find out their requirements and skills. Are they skilled enough to use new software easily? What kind of content and in what form will be more suitable for them.
Knowing your audience and consulting your team will make the transition process super easy and fast.
Select the Right Switchover Approach
There are many approaches to transitioning to an online learning management system such as
- A quick overnight transition to an online learning management system.
- Slowly and gradually moving to an online learning management system while educating your team and giving them time to adjust.
- Letting the audience using both the systems in parallel before a complete transition.
Every approach has its pros and cons and you have to decide which one would best suit your organization. It’s important to consult your team before deciding to choose any approach according to your learning goals and requirements.
Work on Your Content
Content is the major part of a learning management system. You’re making the content for your audience and it’s better to know the preference of your audience and create the type of content that best suits their requirements. Knowing your learner’s persona will help you to create an interactive type of content for them. The best practice is to create different types of content to facilitate every kind of learner and to make the learning process more fun and engaging.
Make sure there is enough amount of content ready before launching your online learning management system. You can convert your traditional classroom teaching materials for an online course but ensure that you convert the written content into imagery, audio, and video content form to make it more interactive and understandable.
Also, create some interactive, meaningful activities such as assignments, case studies, quizzes that promote the engagement of learners and help them to retain the knowledge easily.
Utilize Synchronous and Asynchronous Tools
The online teaching or learning environment provides the opportunity to use many different tools and methods of teaching. The two common ways are
(A) Synchronous Mode
(B) Asynchronous Mode
Synchronous mode of learning refers to a learning environment in which learners are engaged with each other and with the instructor in the learning process at the same time and same location such as the same online environment. This method requires the use of video conferencing tools such as Zoom, Skype, and Google Meet.
This mode of learning promotes interaction between a learner and educator, a fixed schedule, easy knowledge and experience exchange among learners, and real-time feedback for the educator.
Asynchronous mode of learning refers to a learning environment in which the educator and learners are not engaged in learning at the same time. Real-time interaction is not possible in this mode of learning because the learners learn through pre-recorded lectures, PowerPoint presentations, podcasts, or video lectures.
This mode of learning provides flexibility to the learners to learn at their own pace, place, and time. However, this mode of learning doesn’t support interaction among learners and instructors. The only way of interaction between them is the chat rooms or email.
You can choose both or any mode of learning according to your learning goals.
Review and Evaluate
Switching to an online learning management system and making it perfect for your audience and organization is really not a one-time process. It requires time and patience. Keep measuring the effectiveness of the LMS and find ways to improve it. The learners and other audiences will see the system from their perspective and can find the issue very easily.
Utilize your learner’s feedback and ask them to review the system, so that you can make changes accordingly and improve the performance of the learning management system with time.
Read more: How does a learning management system work?
We hope that this article has given you an insight into the transition to learning management system, features of a good learning management system, and the best tips for a smooth transition to a learning management system.