What is a learning management system?
A Learning Management System (LMS) is a software product to organise and deliver online learning in schools. The LMS is the school’s central hub of the teaching and learning activity (curriculum and pedagogy).
Why use a LMS
- Personalise learning – By creating a sequence of learning steps for students and using a range of content formats teachers can provide a unique, tailored learning experience that meets the needs of all students
- Engage and connect with students – The communication tools within your LMS such as chat, forums, social communities, and blogs enable teachers to engage students and give a voice to less confident ones.
- Flexibility to provide different pedagogical approaches and innovations – Teachers can inquire into, and provide different learning models such as blended learning, storytelling, flipped learning, gamification, and social learning to provide approaches that work for a range of student learning needs and preferences.
- Track data – Using all the data available, teachers can plan to improve students’ performance by identifying the gaps in their knowledge and shortcomings in the teaching process to maximise teaching effectiveness.
- Parents’ involvement – Using a LMS helps to build better parent-teacher-student relationships, achieve more effective communication, and parents’ involvement with the students’ learning. Parents can log in to the system to view and comment on their child's learning and communicate with a teacher or other parents.
- Customise to meet your specific needs – An LMS has a wide range of functionality which you can customise to meet the needs of your school and classroom. Make the system work for you.
Selecting the right LMS for your school
- Identify your needs
- Identify specific features you require and prioritise them e.g. ease of use, tracking progress and reporting, integrations with other software you use, accessibility, can teachers, students and parents/whānau communicate easily
- Review and trial – evaluate against your priorities, consider how easily the system is to implement, what support is available, how it can be customised
- Plan for the future – will your LMS grow with your school, new approaches to learning, and software?
Vendors of LMSs
– The Ministry of Education website has information about vendors supplying learning management systems to schools.
Peter Holmstead, e-learning leader at Houghton Valley School, describes the introduction and setup process of Hapara Teacher Dashboard, including consulting and involving parents. He talks about the increase in student engagement and resulting improvements in AsTTle writing demonstrated by reluctant writers moving up several sub-levels over the course of the year.
Houghton Valley School trialed Hapara Teacher Dashboard and Google Apps with their senior classes over 12 months, with a vision for improving literacy learning outcomes.