Learning Management Systems are the future of online education. Wondering what exactly are the benefits of LMS in education?
LMS allows you to document, administer and track all your educational courses on a single platform. But that’s not all. It basically solves every single problem that people face with online classes in general.
Why do offline classes get a bad rep? After all, we have seamlessly and gladly transitioned from mails to emails, shopping to e-shopping, and cinema halls to Netflix.
What prevents students from making an easy transition to online classes?
Well, it’s not solely the students’ stubbornness that’s stopping them from adapting to this new method of teaching. There are several problems with the scattered mode of online teaching that is being followed now.
E-learning should not imitate classroom learning. Not only will it never measure up, but it also will never be able to discover its own strengths. And why imitate the classroom at all? It’s not like that was the most flexible setting that was well-suited to everyone’s needs.
In this article, I’m going to tell you what are the benefits of learning management systems. The benefits of LMS are not just limited to the students but also to the teachers and the heads of the institutions.
Hopefully, by the end, you’ll understand the dire need of learning management systems in the present times.
Benefits of LMS in education:
Brings everything together in one place
“Haphazard.” That’s the word that you’ll hear multiple times from parents complaining about online teaching.
There’s a good reason for that word being tossed around.
Some teachers send their study materials over Whatsapp, some over emails, and some just ask the students to take screenshots while they are sharing their screen over Zoom.
Needless to say, this is not very ideal for anyone involved. The students then send back their solved worksheets, page after page. At the end of the whole process, neither the student nor the teacher can be sure of where everything is located.
One of the very fundamental benefits of LMS is the fact that it allows you to store every bit of information in one cloud-based database. It doesn’t have to take up a chunk of your laptop or phone memory. More importantly, you know where everything is.
But study materials are not the only things that LMS helps to organize in one place. Another benefit of the LMS is that student profiles, scores, attendance records- everything is available on one database.
Plus, how LMS helps students, even more, is by bringing an array of highly qualified teachers together in one platform. You no longer have to search for good tuition teachers all over the place.
Easier to distribute study materials
Not only are pages upon pages of study material hard to store, but they are also hard to distribute.
As a teacher, you have to take the pains to ensure that each student has received your email. And often even that is not enough to ensure that they have actually seen those study materials. On the off chance that your email is buried under a stack of their father’s emails, that information has to be sent again.
Wouldn’t it be much easier if you could just upload whatever material you wanted to distribute to the LMS so that students could access it whenever they wanted to? The benefit of LMS is that it allows you to share study materials, in whichever form, with a very large group of students at once.
Experiment with your teaching methods
How often do you get to experiment with pedagogical methods in the usual classroom setting?
You know your CV desperately needs some of these cutting-edge pedagogical techniques. But all school teachers also know that it is almost impossible to implement any new changes within the dreadfully inflexible confines of the classroom setting.
Thankfully, you no longer have to work under the same constraints in a Learning Management System. One of the benefits of LMS is that it not only allows you to conduct pedagogical experiments, such experiments are actually encouraged.
LMS is not meant to be like a boring lecture series that you’re forced to sit through and then blissfully forget after filling out a hasty questionnaire.
If you’ve ever had any experience with LMSs like Unacademy then you’ll know that they try to make the process of learning as fun for you as possible.
Think of Duolingo.
Why do you keep going back despite the passive-aggressive owl? Because their varied teaching methods are incredibly effective when it comes to learning a language.
Also, the techniques which work in a classroom don’t translate well to an online setting without some much-required changes. It’s one thing to sit through a three-hour-long lecture if you can at least look forward to the scrumptious lunch that you will be served later. It’s another thing to endlessly stare at your computer screen as a teacher drones on and on.
As an LMS teacher, you’ll get a chance to use your creativity and to teach how you always wanted to be taught. Did you ever think being transformed into the most loved teacher that ever existed would be one of the benefits of LMS? It is.
An LMS is not free. So, as the head of an educational institution, it’s fair to wonder- Why should I spend money on something that works just fine?
Ah. The good old “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” argument.
Well, I can argue all day about why it IS broken but if that’s not enough to convince you, I can do you one better- an LMS might cost you a bit of money, but it’ll save you money in the long term.
And there’s something sweeter to add to this (already wondrous) list of benefits of LMS.
Not only will it save you money, but it’ll also bring you money.
First things first, just imagine how much money your institution will be saving if you don’t have to keep printing out mountains of handouts and study materials. Yeah, we know printing costs you a fortune. But it’s not just that.
Laurel Ballard, the supervisor of the Wyoming Department of Education’s student and teacher resources team, estimated that the state would save $250,000 a year if all school districts agreed to adopt the LMS.
And if you can fully transition to an online platform, imagine the money that you would be saving on classroom set-ups, electricity, and everything else.
But, how do you make money from LMS?
Just look at the meteoric rise of Unacademy from a startup in Bangalore to a company worth $4.5 billion in just five years.
By organizing everything across a single platform you are connecting more teachers to more students than they could ever manage to find organically. And the profit generated in every step of the process comes back to you.
Figure out exactly where students are struggling
This is one of the benefits of LMS that you possibly did not foresee.
A lot of students suffer in the school setting because the teachers fail to understand exactly where they are facing difficulties. It’s not something that is easy to pinpoint in a class of 50.
This, however, is something that can easily be taken care of with the analytics tool present in most LMSs. It allows you to see which units the students are spending the most time on, which units they have to keep repeating and which tests they keep failing.
The LMS tracks this data for every single student and hence you can understand which areas you need to explain to them specifically or which units you perhaps need to simplify for better understanding.
You can also see which of your testing or teaching methods are working out better for the students and then improve the content that is not drawing in many views or producing good results.
As an institutional head, you also can use this analytics tool to see which of your teachers and performing better than the others.
Move at your own pace
This benefit of LMS is especially useful for slow learners and the ones who cannot maintain a steady schedule.
One of the worst things about the classroom setting is that you MUST learn physics when you are being taught physics. You cannot learn it earlier during the day, you cannot learn it later. You cannot learn English instead. Neither can you learn “Reflection” instead of “Refraction.”
You HAVE to learn what is being taught at the moment and you have to swallow that information at exactly the same pace as the rest of the class.
This is unfair and ineffectual in more ways than one.
Not everyone can learn at the same pace.
LMS can be your best friend if you want to prioritize self-pacing over all else.
Lots of institutions have self-paced courses along with the regular courses but even the ones which don’t- still record all of the live classes. You can always go back to them and listen to something you missed out on the first time.
And since the LMS is basically a depository of educational content, you can skip over to whichever subject and whichever topic you want to study at the moment. One of the stellar benefits of LMS is that you have hundreds of class videos at your disposal.
It saves the fast learners some time as well. They don’t have to feel like the other students are slowing them down. If they think they have the capability of finishing a 12-month-long course in 7 months, then they absolutely can.
Facilities group activities
One of the most startling changes that the children have had to cope with is the loss of the company of their friends.
It’s been hard for adults too, yes. But just try to imagine spending your wonderful school years shut off in a room, without being able to interact with any of your friends.
Sure, kids in online classes can technically “see” each other but that’s about it. You cannot discuss your lessons, you cannot collaborate on a project- you barely feel like you are a part of a larger class. So, you feel isolated. You cannot even ask a guy, “Did you understand that part?”
LMS makes up for this loss of human interaction by making group activities easier to conduct on an online platform. They provide the students and teachers a range of options- chats, blogs, forums, social communities. The students can discuss topics from their classes on these chats.
Even if you are engaging in remote learning, that’s no reason to not make friends. Bridging the gulf between offline and online education, especially with regards to human-to-human interaction, is one of the best benefits of LMS.
Students feel much more confident and comfortable in asking questions if they know who they’re studying with. They shouldn’t feel like the rest of the student population is a nameless, faceless multitude that they can’t interact with.
Focus on students’ individual needs
No child is exactly like another. They all learn at their own pace and have their own preferred methods of being taught.
That’s why so many of them suffer in the regular classroom setting.
In fact, ask yourself this. How many students really excel in the classroom setting? Only a handful.
The teachers don’t have the opportunity to tailor their approaches to various students in schools because of the time crunch and large class populations.
However, one of the benefits of LMS is that it makes tracking each student’s progress easy. It also allows you to see exactly where the student is failing. If a student fails a particular unit, schools will usually move on by issuing him a failing grade.
But whom does this help? The LMS will actually help the student succeed by providing the student with supplementary tests so that they can practice further.
This kind of deep investigative process can only be carried out because of the analytics tool present in the LMS. You can actually track how much attention a student is paying to a certain module by tracking the frequency and placement of their clicks on the screen.
Seems magical? Just another benefit of the LMS.
Unlimited study materials anywhere, everywhere
Indian families have a million family functions throughout the year. If your child kept missing out on his lessons every time he had to visit his aunt’s or his uncle’s house, it would take him thirty more years to finish school.
But forcing him to study elsewhere also means packing an extra 5 kgs of textbooks, workbooks, and exercise books that you have to carry around.
Or, if you’re someone who is stuck in remote Phulera where you cannot manage to find some extremely out-of-the-way Chemistry books that your teacher keeps suggesting- LMS is for you.
LMSs store every kind of study material on a single cloud-based platform that you can access from anywhere and everywhere.
As long as you have a smartphone and an internet connection, you can study anything, anywhere.
Easier to track
Manually maintaining attendance lists is hard, every teacher will attest to that fact. And it’s also pointlessly time-consuming.
Sure, the roll call in school must have taken 5 minutes max but online classes have two roll calls each, one at the beginning and another at the end to ensure that students aren’t silently slipping away, and these are way more of a hassle than offline roll calls that happened once at the beginning of the school day.
With an LMS, none of your teachers will need to waste their time doing something that is much more efficiently done digitally.
And it’s not just about attendance. The benefit of LMS is that it tracks everything.
As we have already stated, it goes way beyond just ascertaining that you remained in the class. It tracks your involvement based on where and how many times you are clicking. LMS also measures how much time you are spending on a particular module.
The Analytics tool of LMS makes other kinds of tracking easier as well. Tired of the monthly confusion regarding how many students have yet not paid the fees?
It no longer has to be your responsibility to check. The LMS will keep track of all fee payments and you can send out mass notifications to the late payers.
Also, as I’ve already mentioned, LMS tracks students’ progress way more efficiently than a school could ever dream of.
Diverse forms of testing
Think of how bizarre the ancient trend of 3-hour-long written tests actually is.
Not everyone has the same attention span. In fact, some children with ADHD, despite their best attempts, cannot have the same attention span.
These overly long written tests become even more bizarre when translated into their online counterparts.
Parents say, “Don’t play games for 3 hours straight. You’ll damage your eyes.” Then how is staring at a computer screen for exactly that long, for a test, supposed to be any better?
Why design an exam that not everyone can perform their best at?
Yes, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all model for examinations either. This is why, as a good teacher, you should experiment with modes of assessment.
One of the benefits of LMS is that it gives you multiple options to customize your tests. Plus, you can get as creative with them as possible.
Vary the time, the question patterns, and the visual aspect and you can easily have tests ranging from MCQs, questionnaires, flashcard quizzes, video quizzes, and so on.
Your creativity will only serve to improve your students’ performance. And the institutional head will reward you for it. Plus, you can always use the Analytics tool to figure out which of your testing methods are not producing the best results so that you can modify them.
Diverse study materials
Visual learner, auditory learner, logical learner, verbal learner, social learner, physical learner.
Out of all of these learners, whom does the school classroom cater to? Just the auditory learner.
The hour-long lectures are not for everyone because not everyone learns through their ears.
And sure, you can argue that teachers who have to drill a piece of information into 50 heads in a set frame of time, neither have the time nor the resources for those experiments.
But as I’ve already explained, one of the best benefits of LMS is that you can tailor your approach to what the students need.
So have written study materials and lectures, sure, but maybe also add interactive modules, video riddles, and even games of logic to help students learn better.
It’s not like you have to sit down and learn the basics of designing for this. The LMS already offers a variety of customization options.
Involve the parents
Parents are justified in wondering what teachers are teaching their children. Especially at a time when they have to be the primary disciplinarians.
If you don’t know what homework your child has due for tomorrow, how can you ensure that he has completed that homework?
One cannot expect teachers to personally call and inform every parent how their child is performing. But if you don’t call, Ashish from your class is never going to tell his mother that he got a 6/100 in Chemistry.
So what do you do?
Let the LMS do it for you, of course. Everything, starting from class schedules to lesson plans to homework, is uploaded regularly anyway. So you can check that whenever you want to.
But one of the other benefits of LMS is that you can choose to direct the students’ marks and performance reports directly to the parents’ cellphones.
Parents of school-going children will know how useful this particular feature is.
There is complete transparency between the teachers and the parents. The teachers can send their remarks directly to the parents and the parents too can easily leave their feedback which will be taken into account.
Easier to update your courses
This, in particular, is a benefit of LMS that clearly exhibits why it is better than unstructured online classes.
What does updating courses in an offline class mean? Printing out tons of new study material, right?
What does updating courses in an unstructured online class mean? More or less the same. Because you have to type out entirely new study materials again and then be responsible for their distribution. Yet again.
What does updating courses in LMS mean? Just making a few changes to the material that is already on the cloud. Whatever changes you make will immediately be visible to all your students. Absolutely no distribution required.
Updating a course is so messy that teachers often wait for a new session to begin, to implement the changes.
But why wait around at all when you are using an LMS? Whatever you want to add or subtract gets communicated to the students immediately.
Did you ever think there would be so many incredible benefits of LMS?
LMS takes tasks that would take you hours to do manually and does them for you in a second.
And not only that, the greatest benefit of LMS is that it does those tasks way more efficiently than you ever could.
Experts have spoke of the need for a pedagogical change time and time again. But there’s no use denying that the classroom setting will always have some constraints that will never allow a teacher to truly experiment with their methods.
So why do we keep replicating those same constraints in e-learning?
E-anything should be better and easier than the original thing. After all, do you get personalized ads every time you visit a shopping mall? E-shopping made regular shopping easier, better.
Shouldn’t we aim to do the same with e-learning?
The technology already exists. Now it just depends on you to decide whether you want to use it.
After all, online classes are here to stay for a while. Why not take a leap of faith and actually turn the antiquated education system around?
Hopefully, the urgent need of Learning Management Systems is obvious to you already. But in case you still have some doubts, do let me know in the comments below!
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, you can track individual students with LMS. The Analytics tools available with LMS allows you to do this. From mouse movements to clicks, you can track if a particular student is paying attention. Since all the student records are meticulously stored, you can also track their progress individually.
Yes, in many ways it is. It cuts down the overall cost of education. It organizes a haphazard system of study material distribution. And most importantly, it allows you to tailor your teacher methods to individual students. You can understand exactly which assessment methods are working and which aren’t by tracking their progress.
The analytics tool present with the LMS allows you to track everything. Mouse movements, clicks, periods of inactivity. Like the website analytics tools, it allows you to understand what is working and what is not. Accordingly, you can supposed to make changes to your teaching or student assessment methods.
Asynchronous learning refers to the act of letting students learn at their own pace. This means they do not have to collectively learn at the same pace as the rest of the class. LMS allows you to do asynchronous learning. This benefits both fast and slow learners. Fast learners can finish a module early and move on to the next one. Slow learners can re-watch recorded classes till they feel confident to move on.
You don’t need the extra spending on a classroom setting, electricity, study materials etc. The entire process takes place on one single cloud-based platform. This saves everyone money- the institutional heads and the students both.