Despite its name, the Learning Management System (LMS) is not about learning. The LMS was originally the CMS—Course Management System.
The LMS succeeds as a core productivity tool for educators because it allows institutions to extend their academic capacity and transcend the constraints of time and space. However, the Learning Management System was never able to deliver on the promise of its new name because it was created for a completely different purpose: course management. Learning doesn’t happen within the digital space of the LMS; it happens beyond its borders.
Today’s generation of students is deeply social and collaborative. They rely on real-time online interaction, collaboration and sharing to feel supported, confident and successful. Having grown up on iPhone, Snapchat and Instagram, this generation expects seamless experiences that are deeply social and collaborative.
In the post-LMS world, learning technology is student-centric in its design because today’s students are vocal, creative and eager to share their blue sky ideals and ideas.
The post-LMS world is also social by nature. in the post-LMS world, learning technology is simple, modern and mobile.
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,”
The Best Learning Management Systems based on Customer Experience
This Top 20 LMS list has been created using a holistic approach and is based on input from actual LMS users.
The order of appearance depends on Customer Satisfaction (CSAT Score), Customer Effort (CEF Score) & Customer Expectation (CEX Score).
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.”
95 percent of larger programs (those with 2,500 or more online program students) are “wholly asynchronous” while 1.5 percent are mainly or completely synchronous. About three-quarters (73 percent) of mid-sized programs (schools with between 500 and 2,499 online program students) and 62 percent of smaller programs are fully asynchronous.
The asynchronous nature of this kind of education may explain why threaded discussions turned up as the most commonly named teaching and learning technique, mentioned by 27.4 percent of respondents, closely followed by practice-based learning, listed by 27.3 percent of survey participants.
While the LMS plays a significant role in online programming, the report pointed to a distinct lack of references to “much-hyped innovations,” such as adaptive learning, competency-based education systems, simulation or game-based learning tools. (my note: my mouth run dry of repeating every time people start becoming orgasmic about LMS, D2L in particular)
four in 10 require the use of instructional design support, three in 10 use a team approach for online course design and one in 10 outsources the work. Overall, some 80 percent of larger programs use instructional design expertise.
In the smallest programs, instructional design support is treated as a “faculty option” for 53 percent of institutions. Another 18 percent expect faculty to develop their online courses independently. For 13 percent of mid-sized programs, the faculty do their development work independently; another 64 percent may choose whether or not to bring in instructional design help. (my note: this is the SCSU ‘case’)
Among the many possible quality metrics suggested by the researchers, the five adopted most frequently for internal monitoring were:
Student achievement of program objectives (83 percent);
Student retention and graduation rates (77 percent);
Key takeaway: the clear supermajority of LMS usage is, at least for Blackboard, just document management. For nearly 80% of cases, people use the leading LMS just to share documents, plus announcements and grades:
Seeking to bring the qualities of well-designed games to pedagogical assessment, the University of Michigan created a learning management system that uses gaming elements such as competition, badges and unlocks to provide students with a personalized pathway through their courses.
a new type of learning management system called GradeCraft. GradeCraft borrows game elements such as badges and unlocks to govern students’ progress through a course. With unlocks, for example, you have to complete a task before moving to the next level.
Written in Ruby on Rails and hosted on Amazon Web Services, GradeCraft was created by a small team of students and faculty with additional software support from Ann Arbor-based developer Alfa Jango. Their work received support from UM’s Office of Digital Education and Innovation and the Office of the Provost. GradeCraft can work as a stand-alone platform or in conjunction with a traditional LMS via the LTI (Learning Tools Interoperability) protocol.
Here is how it works: Instructors create a course shell within GradeCraft (similar to the process with any LMS). Students use a tool called the “Grade Predictor” to plan a personalized pathway through the course, making predictions about both what they will do and how they will perform. When assignments are graded, predictions turn into progress; students are then nudged to revisit their semester plan, reassessing what work is available and how well they need to do to succeed overall. Students are able to independently choose an assessment pathway that matches their interests within the framework of learning objectives for the course.