Jun 03 2021

Five Questions K–12 Leaders Can Ask When Choosing a New Learning Management System

A state-of-the-art LMS can transform the digital learning environment and become a true teaching and learning tool.

The learning management system is education’s Swiss Army knife, created to address a series of administrative challenges. Districts that are looking to switch platforms or purchase an LMS for the first time have some homework to do. Start with these questions:

What Is a Learning Management System?

A typical LMS authenticates students’ identities, provides a secure way to store and retrieve digital content, records attendance and grades, and makes it easy for students and teachers to communicate. A state-of-the-art LMS can transform the digital learning environment.

What Features Should Schools Look for in an LMS?

The ideal LMS is easy to learn, use and maintain. Key functions like posting announcements, communicating with students and grading assignments should be simple and straightforward. A modern LMS should also support mobile devices and integrate seamlessly with third-party tools for student collaboration.

What Strengths Should Schools Look for in a Vendor?

A good vendor should offer reliability, security, interoperability, training, quality of technical support and the ability to scale. Verify that the LMS is easy to manage and configure and is regularly updated; above all, it should never go offline.

MORE ON EDTECH: Discover 3 ways schools can use AI to improve student engagement.

How Should the District Prepare for an LMS?

Is the district ready to implement a new LMS? Staff will need to migrate existing classes to the new platform, which can be a difficult task. Find out if the new platform will integrate with the district’s student information system and whether implementation, training and maintenance costs for the new platform are sustainable.

How Will the LMS Change in the Future?

Today’s platform is used to manage individual courses. It houses course content and lets teachers collect student assignments and input grades. The next generation LMS will be more student-centered, a place where students can engage with content and complete assessments without shifting from one tab to another. It will also include information-rich dashboards that make it easy to monitor student engagement and will serve as a space where students can create a portfolio of papers and projects.

Looking for in-depth reviews of learning management tools and other educational technology essentials? Read more at edtechmagazine.com/k12/Reviews.

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