The pandemic years have highlighted the essential work an LMS does. Still, colleges are investing time and money into an LMS without considering the following essential needs.
LMS Design Should be Simple
Instructors need to be clear and concise about what the student needs to do. The simple landing page for the course should tell and show the learner what to do. A good LMS brings college students up to speed with almost zero training. Also, students should be able to find what they need. Likewise, the design should be simple for faculty too. Yet, the LMS must be capable to promote branding and enforce standards and be flexible to let the instructors express their personality. Remember, an LMS that is easy to use gets used.
Therefore, the LMS needs to be easy to navigate. Institutions should set up a navigational standard for instructors to follow. LMS pages built with the class goals in mind help faculty and students succeed. Savvy LMS design teams will consult with faculty before building templates. Templates such as Weekly-to-Do pages, course meeting links, and contact information need to be easy for faculty to fill in. Students need to be able to find the pages; they should not be searching for them. Additionally, instructors should follow naming conventions, so that the student experience is similar across courses. Most importantly, schools should make one navigation course that all incoming students take during onboarding sessions. Navigation should be intuitive to everyone who uses the system.
Learning Management Systems are Intuitive and Natural
Once students log on to the LMS, it should be intuitive, so they can navigate their courses. Learners should naturally know by looking at the screen where to find the content they need. Likewise, it should be intuitive for faculty. Also, students should be able to find help and tutorials. Searchability should provide relevant results. Make sure Help contact information is easy to find. Also, a learning management system should look and feel familiar to the students.
Still, schools do not need to reinvent the learners’ needs. Course pages and navigation buttons can be reused in different courses. Institutions can apply widespread, common learning conventions that students already use online. Learners watch videos to learn to cook, sew, and game. Do not invest in making new ways for students to learn. Lean into what is working now.
Integrate connectivity into LMS systems
Additionally, make sure the LMS is supported by a robust network. Provide students online and offline access to the LMS. Make sure the LMS stays up more than it goes down. Don’t give students the excuse that they could not take the course due to a tech glitch. Besides that, connectivity is not digital-only. A good LMS connects faculty and students. Features such as message boards, discussion forums, and secure chat can be used to create a vibrant learning community. Just make sure it works!
Yes, a college’s LMS can be fun to use too. A good LMS can guide faculty in gamifying certain aspects of their course. Still, the LMS should not be too fun. Remember, an LMS that works is an LMS that people use. Make sure the LMS functions before getting fancy. Also, the LMS needs to be functional for everyone who uses it. Students need to find the content, complete assignments, and submit portfolios. Instructors need to post content, create assessments, make interactive quizzes, and build question banks. Administrators need to pull departmental reports, run student transcripts, issue report cards, and archive records. Faculty need to survey students, gather feedback, and run polls. Most importantly, a learning management system provides functionality for all. A good LMS connects the school to its students to promote learning.
The Visibility Should be Clear for Learning Management Systems
Yes, visual dashboards can help everyone do their job. A good LMS will let faculty and students customize their dashboard. Instructors should be able to see how many students have completed the course assignments and who needs help. Students will have access to their grades. Most LMS leverage course analytics. That way, instructors can track student performance. When a student is flagged, instructors can reach out to the struggling student to assist.
In sum, a robust LMS supports everyone who uses it. When faculty and students can communicate effectively, learning happens.