A Learning Management System (LMS) is specialized software that is build for the purpose of assisting teachers in going about their business of teaching. Many teachers are looking for ways to continue their instruction in an online format. They are looking for ways to combine synchronous and asynchronous methods to deal with the challenges of many students being absent or schools being closed, possibly for long periods of time.
Elearning has been around for a long time and luckily many choices and tools are available for teachers to choose from, many being free. Below are my top three reasons to choose an LMS such as Moodle to start utilizing some elements of elearning quickly.
1) Onboarding of students: Introducing elearning in the middle of the school year needs to be easy for students and teachers. Your students may not have email accounts and they may have limited Internet access in their homes. We can not assume that by simply sharing a link with students that they will be able to join your online spaces on their own, wherever they might be. A system such as Moodle allows for multiple approaches to help students join their teachers classroom. Teachers may do the leg work of creating accounts and enrolling students themselves or they may enable self-registration and self-enrollment for students. Guest access may be used to rapidly make available content to students even if they don’t have an account or not even an email account. In addition, students may view resources and participate in the course without being connected to the Internet at all times.
2) Organization and pacing: Most teachers organize their instruction by developing unit and lesson plans. We typically plan ahead our instruction and organize what we teach into topics and units. Timing, and consequently pacing, is an important part of instruction for most teachers. Out of the box, Moodle offers a highly organized course canvas or template that supports the organization of teaching and learning very well. The teacher simply drag and drops resources and activities into the appropriate units. Timed and conditional release features can be used pace when resources become available.
3) Knowing what your students do: To help students be successful, in elearning and in a building, teachers observe their students. In a building, observation takes place in many ways – watching students follow a lesson and interact with each other, watching them read and write, assess their assignments and so on. Systems such as Moodle offer the ability to observe student engagement in a variety of ways. From simple log audits to sophisticated predictive behavior analysis, Learning Management Systems can help teachers get to know their classes and students.