The online education sector is going through a paradigm shift from merely being a tool for virtual teaching to full integration of education. The arrival of learning management systems (LMS) has helped streamline this transition, by aiding in merging technology with administration, planning and communication. By having a platform specifically catered to teaching, the system can be focused on streamlining and interconnecting all aspects to benefit the learning experience. As schools start to go digital, students stand to benefit from a more efficient organisation and refocus on quality in constructing courses. With a centralised platform, parents are also able to keep track and be more involved in their child’s learning process, particularly for schools. Schools and colleges need to fully integrate with edtech and the latest learning management softwares, away from sloppy quick fixes and eleventh-hour choice of applications, to get optimal results out of this experience.
While schools may reject the shift because it feels troublesome, the payoff is a reduced workload with increased efficiency through scalable and simplified solutions through technology. Through embracing the implementation of an LMS, academic institutions can soon expect to reap the benefits mentioned earlier. Additionally, a more robust learning tool can help revive the educator’s passion for teaching and discover a love for learning in students. The integration of an LMS can provide a valuable and wholesome education throughout the institution by enhancing all areas, and this article aims to explain why we should embrace this change.
Merely being digital is not sufficient to the learning process
During the coronavirus outbreak, hordes of students in Delhi were moved to networking platforms to take classes. It goes without saying that this is a better option than cancelling classes altogether, this can still be a subpar approach to holistic education. A lack of resources to conduct online classes can restrict teachers from fully maximising the potential of each lesson by reducing teaching to voice messages or cluttered video calls.
Students were unable to focus on absorbing new knowledge due to distractions like inefficient communication. When tasked with grasping information on new topics, feedback can sometimes be dragged out during these applications. In some government and low-budget private schools, students voiced concerns about online classes being overly challenging, and the only other option was to not have classes at all. This creates a bigger gap between less advantaged students with their more funded counterparts across the country.
Personalising the student experience
The diverse and tremendously varied student body comes with many challenges, one of which is how much institutions should invest in individualised education to meet the specific needs of every student. Considering the educator to student ratio, catering to the exact needs, background and learning preferences of each individual seems far-fetched, but the use of AI-based technology can bring us one step closer.
On platforms like the Brightspace LMS, every student is accounted for and progress is tracked and automatically assessed to lower the rate that some of them may fall through the cracks, such as in current school scenarios. Case in point, some tests can be designed to display a more difficult question after a student answers the current one correctly and vice versa. The outcome is a personalised lesson plan specific to the capabilities of this individual. In addition to being adapted in the way of competence-based learning (CBE), this can be used to suit students’ learning styles. AI technology can be used to tailor courses to the four most common kinds of learners (VARK). Therefore, a student with a visual learning style will receive a different kind of lesson plan from his peer who prefers reading-based learning, without compromising on the benefits that both receive.
Especially in K-12, students are often involved in many extra-curricular activities, following busy after-school schedules or even travelling for competitions or performances. The flexibility of the system can accommodate such instances. For children who are restricted to inaccessible locations, such as in the case of hospitalisation, they are still given round-the-clock access to course material. Other children, who may be bound to their home or a hospital, can still have 24/7 access to the learning content. In India, students bound to rural areas all over the nation are given an equal opportunity to connect with their peers and tutors.
An LMS can enhance engagement and holistic learning
With any school improvement efforts, the end goal is always to benefit the learner. LMS can increase engagement with students, a crucial point in boosting memory retention and interest. The platform provides video lessons for increased activity through demonstrations, gamification, personal portfolios and real-time and conducive feedback. When it comes to the young and tech-savvy population of today, applications and online content are the way to go. Online gaming can also be imitated in an LMS as a useful motivator in education.
Some people may think that online tests are limited as compared to on-paper examinations, but that is not the case. In fact, the platform allows for a range of test mediums and assessments, such as electronic or paper submissions and observational methods or practical project work.
When assignments are designed to be more exciting and interactive, students may find it easier to connect with the learning material. Furthermore, the LMS can bring students together despite geographical location for a more diverse opinion and debate to make the discussion more fruitful.
D2L has built a fully-integrated platform focused on holistic learning on Brightspace LMS. Students are trained to be more independent learners by being able to set personal goals for themselves and plan workloads, skills that will follow them through adulthood and stepping out into the workforce.
Helping teachers increase efficiency
When there are advancements in teaching, sometimes more work follows. With a more rigorous educational landscape, there will be more administrative work. While this is not part of the academic aspects, it could end up distracting educators from their primary focus – teaching. The implementation of an LMS can lift the burden by streamlining administration and free up precious time. With the extra headspace and less workload, more focus can be expended on creativity in curating lessons, such as video assignments and gamified content.
Brightspace LMS offers teachers a virtual assistant to send task and goal reminders, open remediation process for those who need help or find enhanced enrichment pathways.
A well-structured learning management system can be the one-stop solution to teachers, guardians, children and others involved in the education process. Key educational players like Manipal, Vidyashilp, SSVM, Sunbeam and XLRI are already embracing this new trend. By using a platform that integrates all tools a school environment can wish for, LMS can improve workflow, increase student engagement, establish a meaningful connection with parents and personalise learning. The time has come for India schools and colleges to take this step towards future-proofing education.
This article was first published in Businessworld India.