To simplify what LMS is , I suggest that, before thinking about distance education or online courses, you imagine a face-to-face class. The first thing you need is a school. It is in the classroom within the school that students will have contact with the content they wish to learn. Distance education follows the same logic. The school version in technology is the LMS platform, which is nothing more than a website where students will have contact with online courses and training. This makes it easier to understand what LMS is , right?
What is LMS , then? LMS comes from English Learning Management System , which means Learning Management System . The LMS is an online system where students can access courses for free or for a fee, depending on the course or institution.
The LMS is a management system , and allows you to control and monitor the progress of students’ learning. It has automated services to facilitate student enrollment, payment control, take learning reports and issue certificates.
In a traditional school, for a student to obtain a certificate, the teacher must communicate with the administration of the institution. He sends the class diary, with attendance control and student notes. In the virtual environment it is the same. For your LMS to issue learning reports , it is necessary that the online course is in an intelligent medium , and that it communicates with the platform. And this is where the SCORM standard comes in.
Decide what you intend with EaD: employee training, customer training or selling online courses. Because, depending on the objective of your project, Mobiliza can indicate partners with ideal platforms for your distance learning action.
And to learn more about how to get started with distance education, there is a free course available for you. Just click here, register and take the course.
LMS platform: what it is and what are the main features
If you already have or think about having an EAD project , you will need to know a little more about the LMS (Learning Management System) platforms . The end, the choice of this system can be a key to the success of your project. With the advancement of distance learning in the country, more and more managers of educational institutions and different companies are putting their courses and training online – not to mention the great growth in the number of new entrepreneurs investing in free distance courses . All of this already indicates that the success of this teaching modality is here to stay, right?
We will then, in this article, discuss about LMS. Points like: what it is, what are some important functionalities of these platforms, how to know that your EAD project needs an LMS and much more will leave you prepared to get your idea off the ground and start investing in EAD once and for all .
Before you start, you can check this checklist if your EAD project is ready to get off the ground and go to an LMS, come on?
checklist to put your EAD in an lms
What is LMS?
To understand how a good LMS can help your EAD, it is first important to know exactly what LMS is . It can appear under several names. The acronym LMS comes from the expression Learning Management System, translated as Learning Management System into Portuguese or also called AVA (Virtual Learning Environment) and, in certain places, they are only called EAD platform or Platform for online courses and others variations.
All these names and acronyms are the same: a virtual platform for distance learning courses. The differential of an LMS is that it offers a robust and complete management for online courses, assisting the manager in all course processes. For example, it is possible to create assessments, monitor the development of each student, view dropout data , provide interaction between students and teachers and much more, all directly from the platform.
Think about it: each software on your computer has a specific purpose, right? If you want to write a text, you will open a program, if you want to process an image you will choose another one, if you need to create a spreadsheet, a different third software. Likewise, if your goal is to manage distance learning courses, you will use an LMS platform.
So, in summary, an LMS platform is software specifically designed to manage online courses of various kinds – for example, open courses, technical courses and even corporate education.
Advantages of investing in an LMS .
When creating an online course or starting to set up training for a company, many people usually think that just a website or a video platform is enough to manage the content, the students and to have an efficient distance learning strategy.
In some cases, this is true, of course! After all, depending on the objectives of the course and training, some features are not necessary. However, in most cases, it is necessary to have an LMS platform integrated into the project, which allows you to manage all information, content and users efficiently and still bring you other important features that will help your EAD business grow and, of course, bring much more financial return.
It doesn’t matter if you represent an educational institution, a company or an individual producer of free courses: putting your course online is an excellent way to expand your enterprise. Therefore, investing in an LMS can be the next step for your business.
Among the advantages of investing in an LMS, we can highlight:
Greater control over the consumption of content: since the LMS platforms allow the manager or administrator of the courses to have data on who is or is not attending classes and how this has been done.
The possibility of offering certificates: knowing that the student or collaborator has consumed a certain part of the content, it is possible to offer certificates – be it linked to a test or just for the consumption of materials.
Significant cost reduction: with an LMS it is possible to be as efficient in the transmission of content as it could be in the face-to-face modality and, therefore, it is possible to save a lot with points such as physical structure, transportation, food and printed material.
The generation of more accurate and relevant data: with an LMS it is possible to obtain data that will allow a thorough analysis of your content strategy and that will contribute to its improvement. For example, if there is a little consumed content or that is causing a lot of difficulty in learning, one can try to understand the reasons and correct the necessary points to be more and more efficient.
The possibility of using assessment systems: most LMS have extremely efficient systems for assessing students and allow the knowledge acquired in classes and content to be tested constantly. This helps to ensure student development and also makes the course more exciting and satisfying.
Knowing some of the advantages of an LMS platform, it is time to know if you should invest in that system. Check out:
What is the LMS for?
The LMS is a complete platform for EAD management, so, you may even think that this type of platform is aimed only at projects of large institutions, right? Wrong! Believe me, an LMS can be used for everything from small open course projects to large companies and universities that want to put their courses and training online .
So, the LMS serves for a more professional and complete management for varied distance learning projects. Basically, any project of this type of teaching that you want to have greater control of aspects of your course, especially methods of assessment and monitoring of consumption, can benefit from an LMS.
But be careful, there are several platforms of this type and not all have the same characteristics, so it is important to know some important features and see how each LMS can fit into your project.
Main features of an LMS .
Think of a company related to the color red. Did you think about Coca-Cola? Even if I didn’t get it right, you probably remembered brands that have a very strong and well-crafted visual identity, right? Human beings are very visual and our brain is able to store a lot of things unconsciously. That is why it is so important to have a visual identity that is striking.
Unfortunately, the possibility of customizing an LMS platform is still undervalued! It may seem like a pure whim, but it is extremely important for your brand positioning, especially for the reasons we cite about the importance of a visual identity. The option of making the platform look like your business is very important for your business to grow more and more. In addition to showing your personality, culture, increasing customer loyalty, this personalization can even generate new business opportunities.
This is even more important if you are already a manager of an on-site educational institution or a large company and are taking your business online. In this case, whoever is your student or already knows your brand will have no difficulty in identifying your business.
So, when choosing an LMS for your courses or your institution, ensuring that it allows customization is an extremely important feature.
Support for videos .
If the future of education is increasingly pointing to distance learning, the future of distance learning is moving towards videos! It is already clear that the videos are excellent content to generate engagement and that this power has already crossed the lines of entertainment. Today, videos are extremely effective in marketing, for example, and very important in distance learning.
For distance education, betting on a model based on video classes is what will be the differential in your project, because of the very peculiarities of this modality. For example, a major difficulty that distance learning students face at first is the lack of proximity between student and teacher, after all, throughout our educational path, we are used to only the face-to-face teaching model. A video brings the student closer to the teacher and, more importantly, makes learning much easier, faster and more fluid.
Therefore, a fundamental characteristic for investing in an LMS is the possibility of placing your course on the basis of online videos, to guarantee the quality of the classes and the learning of your students.
If you want to learn a little more about the importance of videos for your distance learning, you can download our free and specialized material by clicking here or on the image below. 😉
The importance of online videos for your lms
Taking advantage of this topic of interaction between students and teachers, other features – in addition to videos – that help in this regard are also very important for an LMS.
Chats, direct messages and even discussion forums are other tools that can put your courses ahead of the competition. After all, it is not because a distance learning course is focused on the student that the figure of the teacher or tutor is not important in that environment. Therefore, diversified ways of interaction between students and teachers are essential for an ODL course. Thus, students can answer questions, raise questions, resolve issues and much more with the help of tutors.
If the student wants to have a private dialogue with the teacher, he can send a message directed to him directly from the platform, without the need to exchange e-mails or to have other forms of contact. If a student is interested in generating a discussion in addition to the teacher and engaging the whole class, he can create a discussion forum and encourage the participation of colleagues. The teacher can also create the forum to generate more engagement and class participation at different points in the content.
This type of activity helps to identify students with the course, stimulates engagement and participation and, consequently, reduces dropout rates in distance learning.
Full monitoring .
From the point of view of the manager of the educational institution, working with organized processes is essential for the success of the business. Therefore, it is important to look for ODL platforms that offer exactly this type of organization and complete monitoring of courses.
An LMS can have different monitoring tools, perfect for the manager to have total control of the progress not only of his classes, but also of the students.
Monitoring of classes .
It is possible to separate students into classes and manage them separately. For example, one class may be at one point in the class while another class is a little late, so in that case, teachers can come up with extra material or review classes for different classes. In addition, the manager has the possibility to designate teachers for specific classes, in the same way as in classroom teaching.
Monitoring of students .
In addition to monitoring the classes closely, the manager and teachers can also monitor the progress of each student individually. This individualized monitoring can be the differential of your distance learning!
You can analyze metrics for each student, such as grades, course progress, dropout rates, and more. And this is extremely important when it comes to understanding how your content planning is going , what’s working and what’s not working. That’s what we always defend: analyzing data is the best way to have real data of what is really happening in your business and to plan ways to improve even more.
Nobody likes to take tests, do they? But for courses, assessment methods are very important, both for students’ learning and for the monitoring of teachers, tutors and managers. Good news is that EAD, as it is a very innovative teaching modality, can invest in assessment methods that are different from the traditional.
A good feature to look for in an LMS is the creation of assessments and monitoring of grades by teachers. For students, it is important that the virtual environment provides a good user experience, which is easy to use and has clear communication. Nobody would like to miss a test for not knowing how to use the platform, right? So always look for an LMS that not only gives teachers the tools to create assessments, but also assists students in solving them.
For example, the creation of a question bank and their randomness is very important. If a student takes an exam and does not get a good grade, he can retake that assessment and the system will generate other questions creating a new assessment for him.
Another interesting feature that is worth investing in is the possibility of gamification , also in evaluations. As we already said, exams are usually not very pleasant, but creating a light and relaxed environment for students can help – a lot! – at this moment.
A simple example is to make rankings with the best grades in game format and distribute prizes to the best students. In addition, you can offer the possibility of help to those who are not doing very well and create some games focused on the content of the course. Thus, you encourage study and favor the learning of all of them.
Extra materials .
Another feature that may seem silly but is quite useful is the possibility to attach extra materials with ease. A pdf file with extra questions or even a slide show can be very important for an online course.
As the learning is carried out by the student, all extra material is important for fixing the subject and encouraging participation to avoid dropping out of the course.
Integration with other sites .
Very similar to the customization point, it is also important to analyze whether the LMS integrates easily into your website, especially if you already invest in an integrated payment platform. Centralizing all these issues in one place will increase your conversion and, of course, students’ confidence in your institution as well.
Online shopping, even today, can be a matter of suspicion for many people because of fraud and even theft of personal data, so this integration can ensure that future students trust your website and, of course, your institution.
Creation of multiple courses .
In an LMS you don’t need to take just one online course! If your educational institution or company wants to go completely to the virtual environment, there is nothing to worry about. A professional LMS provides support for dividing your content into several courses and, within those courses, separate classes. The important thing is that this management is simple and organized to facilitate your work.
Alternatives to the LMS platform .
Anyway, if you want to bet on offering free courses, you want to give your students more freedom and you don’t need so much control in relation to content consumption, evaluations, etc., you can find simpler solutions than the traditional LMS.
Today, there are already online course platforms that come fully ready for you to just insert your materials and start selling and distributing this content, without worrying about integration with an LMS. In these platforms, in a simpler way, you usually have access to consumption data of the contents, you can also insert extra materials, you can divide your course into collections or modules and still manage your students and users superficially.