LMS user experience can make or break your learning and development initiatives. We explain why the quality of your LMS user experience is vital to engaging employees and keeping the larger learning and development wheel going, absolutely seamlessly.
“It’s important to understand that UX isn’t just user-friendly interfaces and a smart look-and-feel. It also involves applying intelligent business rules that help simplify jobs and push engagement and productivity. These ideas are crucial for user adoption,”
Our survey polled 232 faculty members across the country about their use of technology in the classroom, their likes and dislikes, their predictions for the future and more. The majority of respondents (68 percent) come from public institutions, with 28 percent from private nonprofits and 4 percent working at for-profit schools. Seventy-two percent work at four-year colleges or universities; 26 percent are at community colleges (the remaining 2 percent designated their institutional level as “other”).
Respondents represent institutions of a range of sizes, with about one-third (32 percent) working in colleges or universities with 2,500 to 9,999 students. Just under half (45 percent) of respondents are from institutions with 10,000 students or more.
Our respondents are veterans of higher education: The largest group (47 percent) has more than 20 years of experience, with 81 percent logging at least 11 years in the field.
The top three most common school and college types among our respondents are education (22 percent), business/business administration (17 percent) and liberal arts (12 percent). But overall, respondents work in a wide range of disciplines, from engineering and medicine to humanities and fine arts. The top 10 states with the most survey respondents are New York, Texas, California, Florida, Georgia, Virginia, Illinois, Missouri, Pennsylvania and Massachusetts.
Penn State, through a partnership between Penn State World Campus and the University Libraries, has made available more than 330 e-books for almost 300 courses offered through World Campus starting in the 2017-2018 academic year. The e-books are available to students through Canvas, the University’s learning management system, and are also searchable online in the University Libraries’ catalog.
The e-book licensing partnership between the Libraries and Penn State World Campus
Two of the leading learning management system companies are cutting ties after a six-year partnership — a split that Inside Higher Education reported was likely “messy.”
U.S.-based Blackboard and Australia’s Moodle separately announced the end to the partnership, which will mean that Blackboard won’t use the Moodle name in the future, but its Moodlerooms product will be maintained.
Beyond The Buzz Phrase: Social Learning And LMS Gamification In Real Life
When: Thursday 26 July 2018, 11:00 PM – 12:00 PM
Adobe’s Senior Learning Evangelist, Katrina Marie Baker in our webinar, and find out how you can easily transform your learning by taking a deep dive into the 2 smartest learning breakthroughs of the decade: Social Learning & Gamification 🚀
During this session, you will:
• Learn how to blend social learning into existing courses using an LMS
• Discover how gamification can be aligned with your business objectives
• Come upon the latest learning tech tips to help you drive engagement
• See examples of how gamification and social learning can be both employed in Captivate Prime LMS
Are social learning and gamification the new fashion that will dominate the future of eLearning? Let’s find out together!
Here’s how to evaluate the potential for mobile solutions
Before they set foot in their first class, incoming college students face a maze of requirements and resources that will be critical to their success. So-called “student supports” abound. Yet forty percent of first-year studentsdon’t return the following year, and a growing number report information overload as they navigate campus life amid newfound independence.
The nine in 10 undergraduates who own smartphones are probably familiar with the xkcd about it. College-aged Americans check their devices more than 150 times per day. So it should be no surprise that a growing body of research suggests that mobile solutions can play a critical role in enhancing the student experience.
1. Is the mobile app native?
We’ve all had the frustrating experience of using a smartphone to navigate a page that was designed for a computer. But when designing native mobile apps, developers start with the small screen, which leads to simpler, cleaner platforms that get rid of the clutter of the desktop browsing experience.
As smartphones overtake laptops and desktops as the most popular way for young people to get online, native design is critical for universities to embrace.
2. Is there a simple content management system?
It’s also critical to explore whether mobile apps integrate with an institution’s existing LMS, CMS, and academic platforms. The most effective apps will allow you to draw upon and translate existing content and resources directly into the mobile experience. My note: this is why it is worth experimenting with alternatives to LMS, such as Facebook Groups: they allow ready-to-use SIMPLE mobile interface.
3. Does it allow you to take targeted action?
At-risk or disengaged students often require more targeted communication and engagement which, if used effectively, can prevent them falling into those categories in the first place.
Unlike web-based tools, mobile apps should not only communicate information, but also generate insights and reports, highlighting key information into how students use the platform.
4. Does it offer communication and social networking opportunities?
Teenagers who grew up with chatbots and Snapchat expect instant communication to be part of any online interaction. Instead of making students toggle between the student affairs office and conversations with advisors, mobile platforms that offer in-app messaging can streamline the experience and keep users engaged.
Over the past 10 years, new learning management systems (LMSs) have sprung on the scene to rival the Blackboards and Moodles of old. On the EdSurge Product Index alone, 56 products self-identify and fall into the LMS category. And with certain established companies like Pearson pulling out of the LMS ranks, where do you start?
As University of Central Florida’s Associate Vice President of Distributed Learning, Tom Cavanagh, wrote in an article for EDUCAUSE, “every institute has a unique set of instructional and infrastructure circumstances to consider when deciding on an LMS,” but at the same time, “all institutions face certain common requirements”—whether a small charter school, a private university or a large public school district.
The LMS Checklist
#1: Is the platform straightforward and user-friendly?
#2: Who do we want to have access to this platform, and can we adjust what they can see?
#3: Can the instructor and student(s) talk to and communicate with each other easily?
“Students and faculty live a significant portion of their daily lives online in social media spaces,” writes University of Central Florida’s Tom Cavanagh in his article on the LMS selection process. “Are your students and faculty interested in these sorts of interplatform connections?”
#5: Does this platform plug in with all of the other platforms we have?
“Given the pace of change and the plethora of options with educational technology, it’s very difficult for any LMS vendor to keep up with stand-alone tools that will always outperform built-in tools,” explains Michael Truong, executive director of innovative teaching and technology at Azusa Pacific University. According to Truong, “no LMS will be able to compete directly with tools like Piazza (discussion forum), Socrative (quizzing), EdPuzzle (video annotation), etc.”
As a result, Truong says, “The best way to ‘prepare’ for future technological changes is to go with an LMS that plays well with external tools.”
The emergence of the chief online officer position at many institutions is strong evidence that online education is becoming more mainstream
Revenue generation and tuition
most responding institutions have online program tuition rates that are aligned with standard tuition or that are higher. Those higher tuition rates ranged from 12 percent of private institutions to 29 percent of four-year public institutions, and lower than standard tuition rates ranged from 3 percent of community colleges to 37 percent of private institutions. None of the larger online programs reported tuition rates for online students that are lower than standard tuition rates, and 20 percent reported higher tuition rates for online study.
Forty percent of chief online officers in larger programs larger programs use instructional design support, and 30 percent use a team approach to online course design. Ten percent outsource course design.
This kind of course development is in stark contrast to practices of chief online officers in mid-sized and smaller programs. Among the smallest online education programs, 18 percent of chief online officers expect faculty to develop online courses independently, and 53 percent treat instructional design support as a faculty option. This means that a combined 71 percent of smaller programs do not mandate the use of instructional design specialists.
In 13 percent of mid-sized programs, faculty are expected to develop courses independently, and in 64 percent of mid-sized programs, they are free to choose whether or not to involve instructional design specialists, yielding a combined 77 percent of programs that do not require the use of instructional design expertise.
Teaching, learning and technology
The CHLOE survey also asked chief online officers to name three technologies or tools they consider most important or innovative for their institution’s fully-online programs. Eighty-one percent first listed an LMS, while others named audio and video conferencing and lecture capture. The technologies most-cited for second- and third-most important were conferencing, video and lecture capture software. (see Plamen’s effort to start faculty discussion on lecture capture here: http://blog.stcloudstate.edu/coursecapture/)
“There was no sign of much-hyped innovations like adaptive learning, competency-based education LMS solutions, or simulation or game-based learning tools,” according to the study. “Such tools may be in use for specific courses or programs but based on responses to CHLOE, these have yet to achieve institution-wide adoption at any scale.” (see Plamen’s efforts start a discussion on game-based learning here: https://blog.stcloudstate.edu/ims?s=game-based+learning
a learning management system (LMS) is never the solution to every problem in education. Edtech is just one part of the whole learning ecosystem and student experience.
Therefore, the next generation digital learning environment (NGDLE), as envisioned by EDUCAUSE in 2015 … Looking at the NGDLE requirements from an LMS perspective, I view the NGDLE as being about five areas: interoperability; personalization; analytics, advising, and learning assessment; collaboration; accessibility and universal design.
Content can easily be exchanged between systems.
Users are able to leverage the tools they love, including discipline-specific apps.
Learning data is available to trusted systems and people who need it.
The learning environment is “future proof” so that it can adapt and extend as the ecosystem evolves.
The learning environment reflects individual preferences.
Departments, divisions, and institutions can be autonomous.
Instructors teach the way they want and are not constrained by the software design.
There are clear, individual learning paths.
Students have choice in activity, expression, and engagement.
Analytics, Advising, and Learning Assessment
Learning analytics helps to identify at-risk students, course progress, and adaptive learning pathways.
The learning environment enables integrated planning and assessment of student performance.
More data is made available, with greater context around the data.
The learning environment supports platform and data standards.
Individual spaces persist after courses and after graduation.
Learners are encouraged as creators and consumers.
Courses include public and private spaces.
Accessibility and Universal Design
Accessibility is part of the design of the learning experience.
The learning environment enables adaptive learning and supports different types of materials.
Learning design includes measurement rubrics and quality control.
The core analogy used in the NGDLE paper is that each component of the learning environment is a Lego brick:
The days of the LMS as a “walled garden” app that does everything is over.
Today many kinds of amazing learning and collaboration tools (Lego bricks) should be accessible to educators.
We have standards that let these tools (including an LMS) talk to each other. That is, all bricks share some properties that let them fit together.
Students and teachers sign in once to this “ecosystem of bricks.”
The bricks share results and data.
These bricks fit together; they can be interchanged and swapped at will, with confidence that the learning experience will continue uninterrupted.
Any “next-gen” attempt to completely rework the pedagogical model and introduce a “mash-up of whatever” to fulfil this model would fall victim to the same criticisms levied at the LMS today: there is too little time and training to expect faculty to figure out the nuances of implementation on their own.
The Lego metaphor works only if we’re talking about “old school” Lego design — bricks of two, three, and four-post pieces that neatly fit together. Modern edtech is a lot more like the modern Lego. There are wheels and rocket launchers and belts and all kinds of amazing pieces that work well with each other, but only when they are configured properly. A user cannot simply stick together different pieces and assume they will work harmoniously in creating an environment through which each student can be successful.
As the NGDLE paper states: “Despite the high percentages of LMS adoption, relatively few instructors use its more advanced features — just 41% of faculty surveyed report using the LMS ‘to promote interaction outside the classroom.'”
But this is what the next generation LMS is good at: being a central nervous system — or learning hub — through which a variety of learning activities and tools are used. This is also where the LMS needs to go: bringing together and making sense of all the amazing innovations happening around it. This is much harder to do, perhaps even impossible, if all the pieces involved are just bricks without anything to orchestrate them or to weave them together into a meaningful, personal experience for achieving well-defined learning outcomes.
Making a commitment to build easy, flexible, and smart technology
Working with colleges and universities to remove barriers to adopting new tools in the ecosystem
Standardizing the vetting of accessibility compliance (the Strategic Nonvisual Access Partner Program from the National Federation of the Blind is a great start)
Advancing standards for data exchange while protecting individual privacy
Building integrated components that work with the institutions using them — learning quickly about what is and is not working well and applying those lessons to the next generation of interoperability standards
Letting people use the tools they love [SIC] and providing more ways for nontechnical individuals (including students) to easily integrate new features into learning activities
My note: something just refused to be accepted at SCSU
Technologists are often very focused on the technology, but the reality is that the more deeply and closely we understand the pedagogy and the people in the institutions — students, faculty, instructional support staff, administrators — the better suited we are to actually making the tech work for them.
Under the Hood of a Next Generation Digital Learning Environment in Progress
The challenge is that although 85 percent of faculty use a campus learning management system (LMS),1 a recent Blackboard report found that, out of 70,000 courses across 927 North American institutions, 53 percent of LMS usage was classified as supplemental(content-heavy, low interaction) and 24 percent as complementary (one-way communication via content/announcements/gradebook).2 Only 11 percent were characterized as social, 10 percent as evaluative (heavy use of assessment), and 2 percent as holistic (balanced use of all previous). Our FYE course required innovating beyond the supplemental course-level LMS to create a more holistic cohort-wide NGDLE in order to fully support the teaching, learning, and student success missions of the program.The key design goals for our NGDLE were to:
Create a common platform that could deliver a standard curriculum and achieve parity in all course sections using existing systems and tools and readily available content
Capture, store, and analyze any generated learner data to support learning assessment, continuous program improvement, and research
Develop reports and actionable analytics for administrators, advisors, instructors, and students