Your LMS is equipped with tools to streamline your teaching processes.
When I took to the road to ask instructors how to get the most out of an LMS, one trend stuck out: efficiency. Instructors juggle many tasks throughout their day, so the tools they use need to add time to their day, not take it away.
Here are three ways that instructors can use an LMS to enhance the learning experience without taking time away from students.
Make those LMS Dashboards your Own
Every course is different, and as a result, how we track student data is also different. It all depends on how your course is set up. Sometimes, success is defined as staying on top of assignments. Sometimes, it is about discussion and participation.
Whatever your success metric, your LMS allows you to create student progress dashboards that show the data that is most important to you, so you can make the best decisions on behalf of your students. How else would you know where your students are at and when they need you most?
You should also be able to see more than just summary stats from your class in your dashboard. You should be able to look for patterns, zoom in on individual students and dive into the details–all the way down to specifics such as time spent on an activity and individual submissions.
Grade the Way you Want
Your LMS is a tool to support you in assessing and reporting on student progress.
There are any number of assessment methods. Sometimes, letter grades or comment areas fulfill the instructional need. Other times, it means using gradable items that don’t connect to any assignments.
Generally, assessments represent a combination of various approaches that best serve the student’s needs.
Whatever your assessment approach, your LMS must be flexible enough to let you grade the way you want. It should include the necessary notes and logs needed by instructors, teaching assistants, and administrators to perform an accurate and thorough assessment.
Once you’ve put the hard work into capturing student achievements and feedback–your LMS should offer a simple (one-click or fully automated) way to get all that info back to your student information system (SIS).
Plan the Course in Advance
Based on experience, you probably have a pretty good idea when and where your students need little reminders and refreshers. You also likely know where to provide opportunities for students to go beyond core concepts to enrich their understanding.
The challenge is in providing these reminders, refreshers and deeper learning opportunities in a scalable way. You also want to design in a differentiated experience, one that allows students to take an individualized path through the learning material based on their unique background, proficiency, or learning style.
Your LMS can enable you to design rules and paths to deliver the personalized learning experience each student needs as they work towards the learning objectives you’ve laid out for them.
Using an IF THIS THEN THAT approach, a modern LMS will let you create a variety of rules that determine what students see in their LMS. Students will then have activities and communication released to them based on their score on an activity, whether they choose a specific assignment option (e.g. to submit a video rather than an essay), or based on their membership in groups or other criteria.
Used in this way, your LMS becomes your most powerful ally. It lets instructors design the rich variety of ways for students to represent, express knowledge of, and engage with course material.