The rise of the LMS has been a well-documented phenomenon. Digital learning is no longer a novelty; it is an essential part of the future ready learning environment.
A Learning Management System (LMS) is a must-have for any school district today. But have you thought about the specific abilities your LMS must have?
With the growing demand to effectively track and manage the learning progress of students, implementing a responsive, results-oriented LMS is crucial. The LMS and eLearning industry is constantly evolving and growing. With the myriad of choices available, how can executive leaders select the option that will help achieve the best results for their district’s students?
To begin the search – whether this is your district’s first or fifth attempt – your administrators should ask key questions about the functionality of LMS options in the running: What are its capabilities? Does it provide easy data analysis? Will it help increase student engagement?
If your answers to these questions leave you feeling uncertain about your district’s current system, maybe it’s time to look for another option. If you’re just beginning the search, asking these questions now will help keep you and your district on track during the selection process.
To further ease your first search or re-evaluation process, here are five must-haves every district should require from an LMS…
Take the guesswork out of standards alignment
A definite must-have for any LMS is the ability for your solution to integrate with existing classroom tools. Your system should simplify the process of evaluating skills and tracking student progress. It should incorporate assessments and grade books to provide efficient entry and tracking of information, while supporting the unique academic needs of your district. With a high quality LMS in place, your teachers should no longer spend valuable time creating or entering basic student demographic data. Make sure your system saves your district time and money by allowing access to the most current student information without the use of third party applications.
1) Integration with Assessment and Gradebooks
Bonus: Your LMS should include the capability to send emails with real-time progress reports to families, and post grades for mid-term and semester report cards automatically. These integrated processes improve communication among parents, students and teachers.
2) The Ability to Tie Standards to Assignments
Take the guesswork out of standards alignment. The second must-have for your district’s LMS is an application that maps district curriculums. The system will allow teachers to see all activities, assignments and resources needed for lessons, and how those lesson plans fit into the big picture and meet key standards. An LMS that links lesson plans to important district benchmarks and required standards saves time and helps ensure complete coverage of materials is given, so that state and federal curriculum standards are met.
Bonus: Make lesson planning from year-to-year more efficient by choosing a solution that allows you to store suggested activities, assessments and available resources for each unit. A system that also allows administrators and principals to view teachers’ daily plans will help keep everyone in your district on the same page.
Make sure your district’s LMS provides access to important analytics and data, so your district can make informed decisions and enhance communication with stakeholders.
Data-informed decision-making is becoming more and more important for today’s district leaders. The ability to easily access and then communicate such data is even more important, and a clear must-have, for a district’s executive team. Learning analytics can make it easier to identify trends in student outcomes and areas for opportunity and educational growth. Accurate and up-to-date information is necessary for administrative leaders and classroom teachers alike. Make sure your district’s LMS provides access to strategic analytics, so all parties can make better informed decisions.
3) Easy Access to Learning Analytics
Bonus: An LMS that includes Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) in its analytics application will help direct students by providing greater insight through statistics, tracking features, course reports and learning progress reports. Make sure your system allows access to group and individual progress through drill-down capabilities.
An LMS that includes KPIs in its analytics application will help direct students by providing greater insight through statistics, tracking features, course reports and learning progress reports.
Empower students to collaborate and work toward common learning goals with an LMS that supports secure, online class discussions. Choose a system that simplifies group work by making the sharing of video and audio files, spreadsheets, and other documents easy. There’s no better way to get your district’s students involved and enhance classroom engagement.
4) A Class Discussion Board to Increase Student Engagement
Bonus: What about when it’s time to turn in homework? The ability for students to easily submit assignments through a digital locker is another must-have feature. Providing a window for parents to keep up-to-date on their student’s coursework, grades, assignments and academic progress is another vital feature to consider in your LMS.
By choosing a solution that promotes digital literacy, you’ll make sure your students are keeping up with tech advancements, so they are better prepared for higher education or the workforce environme
5) The Ability to Incorporate Online Elements into Daily Activities
One of the key functions of an LMS is to promote digital literacy, both inside and outside the classroom. Integrate online assignments, tests and quizzes for learning at home and on the go. Use your LMS to create a class blog for students to contribute to, or practice email etiquette in the classroom. By choosing a solution that promotes digital literacy, you’ll make sure your students are keeping up with tech advancements, so they are better prepared for higher education or the workforce environment.
Your solution should promote educational advancement and learning during the summer months or break-periods, too. Promote online reading or facilitate class discussion groups. Make an investment in advancing education for your district’s students by creating a space for learning to continue outside the classroom walls.
An LMS is a must-have for any school district today, and choosing the right one is an important first step. An LMS built with student outcomes in mind will help you and your district get the most out of your investment. Whether your district is beginning its first search for a system or considering making a switch, be sure to choose a comprehensive solution that includes customizable integration, streamlines processes, provides key analytics, increases student engagement, and fosters digital-literacy.
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