We are continuing to see an increase in the number of schools making use of Learning Management Systems (LMS) in education. Students prefer it in many cases, it is more sophisticated every day, so its unsurprising that eLearning is set to double by 2022. But how can we most effectively adopt LMS’s, which are conventionally seen as most useful for individual and independent learners, and apply it to a whole classroom? And what are the biggest benefits of LMS’s for teachers?
For starters, we need to acknowledge that there are some challenges faculty face when it comes to adopting an LMS:
- Inexperience. Faculty members over the age of thirty may not feel comfortable using the latest technology and breaking out of their routine.
- Fear of replacement. Some members of faculties see LMS’s as part of the robotization of education, and believe that LMS are a step towards replacing them.
- Not enough time. Completely changing your classroom setup and lesson plans is bad enough, but when there are changes higher up as well, the updates to systems, email, etc, this can really interfere with course progress.
- Not enough support. Between inexperience and lack of time, faculty need a lot of training and support from the higher education institution in order to adapt to the changes.
However students, especially higher education students, overwhelmingly report that they would prefer for their faculty to make better use of LMS’s already offered by their institution. In addition most students would still like to have their tutors and lecturers present, they simply want a complementary LMS solution, which can boost and enhance their learning experience.
If a faculty wish to avoid the problems frequently inherent in adopting LMS’s in higher education, they need to tackle these issues at their core:
- Offer training and partner faculty members. To fight the difficulties faced by inexperienced faculty members, a training course to get them up to speed with the technology helps. Partnering older, less technologically adept faculty members with younger, more tech-savvy peers can also be a helpful approach.
- Apply complementary LMS solutions. LMS in higher education is not about replacing faculty members, but about making their life easier and work more effective. Solutions such as distance-learning via online classrooms helps students and faculty alike.
- Dedicate time to training and phase in updates. This solves both the lack of time, and the lack of support and training.
The benefits of LMS for teachers are not to be underestimated:
- Better contact with students. If a student feels unwell, or is unable to travel, they can still attend classes and one-on-one sessions via conference calls.
- More personal experiences. Monitoring a student’s performance, notes, and needs can help faculty to craft personalized tasks and lessons with minimal extra effort.
- Easily applying new technologies. Young students are, without a doubt, technophiles. But that is not the only reason for incorporating new technologies into your classes! New technologies such as virtual reality encourage the creation of virtual and interactive classrooms, and the creation of mini-games can help gamify lessons.
All in all, if a faculty can overcome the four main challenges, they can reap immense rewards for themselves and most importantly for their learners.