Do Learning Management Systems Actually Improve K-12 Outcomes?

The following is a guest post by Ehsan Memari, a blogger for SkyPrep, a provider of leading online training software. If you would like to submit a guest post, please contact us

Today, organizations and academic institutes require robust and strategic learning management systems (LMS) that can automate manual processes of traditional tools. Effective learning management systems can empower departments and enable business growth, as well as further educational initiatives.

Over the years, LMS has become a vital tool to achieve enterprise learning objectives. It is no wonder the LMS market will be worth $22.4 billion by 2023. Learning management systems, for instance, can be used in several formats. You can use it as a formal, experimental, or social managerial compliance training program.

Moreover, the role of eLearning to generate revenue for enterprises continues to evolve. LMS personalizes feedback to promote a self-regulating learning process. In fact, LMS has been proven to increase the effectiveness of students’ and employees’ learning outcomes.

The Evolving Role of the Learning Management System

A revolutionary change in the LMS is the contextualization of the learning process for teachers and employers. The right LMS can enable increased interaction between instructors and learners. Consequently, a collaborative virtual learning experience improves outcomes for online learners.

Adoption of LMS by K-12 Schools

It is true – the skepticism towards LMS no longer exists. And why would it? The majority of institutions have successfully implemented the systems in higher education to improve student’s learning process. Similarly, LMS is now widely used by K-12 schools. It does, however, present an opportunity for researchers to learn the standardized testing process at such a scale.

What’s interesting is that the adoption of an LMS solution goes beyond higher standardized test scores. However, this effectiveness is interconnected with the cost and nature of the system itself. For example, an education system should have a proprietary system configuration, while an open-source solution is preferable for an organization.

Accurate Analytical Data

The success of an LMS solution is no longer determined or promoted because of favorable testimonials on a company’s website. Instead, analytical data presented in a study by Royce Kimmons shows that the open-mindedness of schools and organizations have led to result-oriented computer programs. As a result, LMS adoption has been found to have a strong link with school’s test scores.

Kimmons essentially wrote a computer program to determine if a K-12 school adopted a specific LMS. This program scanned every page of the school’s website for several keywords associated with the LMS. He involved many human researchers to test the accuracy of his program, who searched a limited number of school websites. 

Unlike the human researchers, the computer program was able to identify about twice as many systems. However, after additional investigation, the human researchers successfully confirmed about 97% of the info provided by Kimmon’s program.

Overall, Kimmon discovered that the adoption of a LMS had a slight, but statistically significant, positive effect on test scores.

Responsiveness of the Solution

It is imperative to understand that the positive effects vary from system to system. Nonetheless, the statistical data shouldn’t be the sole decision-making parameter for institutions to understand the constructive cause-and-effective relationship of LMSs.

Tracking and Reporting

Primarily, LMS has been deemed more efficient when it comes to tracking and reporting features. An integrated LMS solution can determine criteria and designated time to complete the task for improving the training efforts. You can apply the same LMS reporting rules when students or employees want to revisit specific topics to gain more information.

Change of Perception

Sure, people and official authorities may cling to preconceived beliefs. But the fact remains that modern online LMS solution increases your chances of improvement and achievement. Therefore, the implementation of new technology into a school or organization wouldn’t hurt the management or the regulated policies.

Ultimately, it comes down to schools’ willingness to move forward in one direction with an open-source LMS solution to garner better results. The outcome of the LMS can have a different impact because of the graduation rates and instructional methods.

What Lies in the Future?

As of now, xAPI has become a norm for the eLearning process among academic institutes. From data personalization to tracking progress, organizations have come to realize the true usefulness of learning management systems.

It is only fair that more development should be enforced to confirm more findings. Why? To create strong LMS features within the same technological infrastructure. As more institutions will be moving to an online management solution, it is important to find out exactly which strategic methods are most effective for the management.

Whether it’s the flow of information, data security, or maintenance of the network; learning management systems can undoubtedly deliver. Similarly, the cost-benefit ratio and scalability options have worked in favor of improving the outcome. Your choice of online training software, however, should be based on whether or not it covers your business’ needs in a limited time period.

The dilemma of choosing between an open-source or cloud-based LMS solution will also shrink. Though open-source is preferable by programmers and has a long history, the focus of attention should be the added features for your business.

Conclusion

Effective eLearning solutions are ideal for organizations that tirelessly operate under certain budget constraints. Besides, there’s an extensive amount of online material businesses can use to take care of the maintenance and functionality issues.

And using learning management systems for education means you get extensive community support on forums. Think of learning management systems as a stand-alone solution that can provide free online features and courses. It’s a tool that can modify and enhance user performance for good.

Author’s Bio: Ehsan Memari is a blogger for SkyPrep, a provider of leading online training software for organizations to train employees’ partners and customers. Ehsan is a regular contributor to blog posts related to knowledge sharing, L&D, and eLearning. Follow him on Twitter @ehsanmemari

Writing Your Own Online Course- The 12 Steps to Success

The following is a guest post written by Mary Walton, blogger at Simple Grad and resume proofreader at Resume Writing Service. If you would like to submit a guest post, please contact us.

Online courses are becoming one of the most popular forms of learning for higher education students from around the world. This is why it’s such a great time to be starting out in the industry of developing online courses.

However, there is so much to consider when designing a higher education course, which is why many people may be put off by the idea. However, if this is something that appeals to you, fret no more. Here’s a 12-step guide on how to start, write and create your very first online course.

#1 – Choose Your Topic

Of course, the very first step you need to take it deciding what your course is going to be about. Thankfully, you can choose basically anything you care to name or that you’re interested in.

However, you also need to find a balance by making sure there’s a market for the topic that you’re going to be working on. Make sure this is a topic you understand well.

#2 – Decide on a Platform

Next, you’ll want to start thinking about where you’re going to host your online course since this will dictate how you’re going to design your course. There are many different platforms out there, Udemy being one of the most popular, but you could even host on YouTube or your own website if you choose.

#3 – Start Planning Your Course

When you’ve chosen your platform, it’s time to start thinking about the actual content of your course. Start by planning the format and structure of your course. In short, you can get a piece of paper and write an introduction, and then start to list out all the topics and themes you want to cover in your course.

#4 – Write Your Course

Once you’ve listed and organised all the subjects and themes that you’re going to cover, it’s time to actually start writing your course. This is the exciting part, and you’ll have true creative freedom with how you present yourself and the information for your course.

#5 – Edit Your Course Content

After you’ve finished writing your course, it’s recommended that you take a break from it for several days. This is so you can clear your mind before returning to the editing process.

The editing process is where you’ll go through your content, making sure everything is correct and factual. You’ll also want to edit your content to make sure that it reads well and flows professionally.

#6 – Proofread Your Course Content

When you’re happy that you’ve finished the editing process, it’s time to move onto proofreading. This means going through your content while looking for spelling mistakes, typos, poor grammar, misplaced punctuation and more.

This part of the process is all about making sure that your content is perfect for the reader and the highest possible quality. When it comes to the writing, editing and proofreading stages, you can guarantee quality by using some online tools to help;

  • Via Writing / State of Writing: These are two websites full of writing guides you can use to improve your general writing skills.
  • Paper Fellows / Academized: These are two professional proofreading tools, as recommended by the HuffingtonPost.
  • Grammarix: This is a free online grammar checker to help you polish your content.
  • UKWritings: An online writing community where you can meet writers and find leading writing tips, as suggested by Best British Essays in UK Writings review.
  • My Writing Way: This is an online blog full of content you can use to answer all your writing-related questions.
  • Let’s Go and Learn: A site dedicated to teaching you everything you need to know about grammar and punctuation.

#7 – Design & Add Extras

Once your course content is perfect and you’re happy with it, it’s time to start thinking about designing and adding the extras. This will include video content, downloadable worksheets, expert interviews and any other content you think will enhance your course and provide value to your readers.

#8 – Market Your Course

You could create an absolutely incredible course, perhaps the best in the world, but it won’t matter if no one is using it, hence why marketing is such an important aspect to consider. For maximum impact, create and host your own website, create a blog, start social media pages, build an email mailing list and contact your target audience.

#9 – Generate Feedback

As your course goes live and people starting enrolling in it, you’ll want to pay attention to how higher education students are responding to your course. This means asking them for feedback and advice on how to improve, what they found difficult and how you can tweak and improve your content so that it is the best it can be.

#10 – Consider Your Next Course

As students finish your course, the chances are that they are going to have questions about different subjects and different areas that you didn’t previously have time to cover. The more students engage in your course, the more likely you are to get a suitable average for which questions are popular. These are the questions you’ll want to think about answering in your next courses.

#11 – Expand On Your Course

Now that your course is in full flow and attracting users, you’ll want to start thinking about the next steps that you want to take.

“Are you going to start creating and designing your next course? Maybe you want to specialize your chosen topic and offer private tutoring sessions to students around the world? The choice is up to you,” shares Thomas Hardy, a course writer for Boomessays.

#12 – Keep Things Updated

This point obviously depends on the course topic that you’ve chosen, but things can get old or updated, such as facts, figures, definitions, statistics and other elements of your course. Make sure that you’re returning to your course, perhaps every six months, to make sure that your content is accurate and factual.

Author’s Bio:

Mary Walton is a blogger at Simple Grad, her website for college students. She works as a resume proofreader at Resume Writing Service.

Reference herein to any specific commercial products, process, or service by trade name, trademark, manufacturer, or otherwise, does not constitute or imply an endorsement, recommendation, or favoring by Touro College.

Online Ed as a Stepping Stone for the Real World

One of the great advantages of attending a traditional college are the many benefits the school may offer on campus in terms of job opportunities and career services. Some online programs try to match the high standards set by schools such as Princeton, MIT, and Purdue (according to research published by College Magazine) by making resources and advisors available by phone, chat, or via LinkedIn. However, these methods don’t always live up to the desired goals. So, what do online courses offer in the way of preparing students for the Real World? What life skills could students gain by taking online courses?

 

1- Online Networking and Communication Skills

Thanks to the internet and other technological advancements of the 20th and 21st Centuries, many companies and work environments no longer rely on an office or central location to maintain operations. Instead, graduates who are new to the working world may find themselves subject to a network of contacts and coworkers with whom they must communicate via email and not in person. The online learning environment, with its virtual classrooms and lack of face-to-face interaction, helps to prepare students for a situation in which they will have to rely entirely on online and long-distance communication.

2- Manners

Although some people may argue that a virtual or distance learning environment robs today’s students of their exposure to society and weakens social aptitudes, there are other ways in which online learning can help strengthen a student’s ability to gain and practice using proper manners. While shorthand and abbreviated texts are acceptable when texting a family member or instant messaging a friend, they are not suitable for participation in a discussion board or when emailing a professor. This need to learn and develop proper writing etiquette is a skill that will benefit students as they venture out into the world, whether to pursue a higher degree or start a new job. And, by participating in online learning activities and communicating virtually with other students and faculty, students should be able to cultivate these skills and, simply put, manners.

3- Self-Discipline

Students are forced to develop self-discipline in order to excel in their online studies. Unlike in a traditional classroom, where a majority of the learning is done in class with only homework assignments or papers completed at home, an online course does not provide a work schedule or outline for when students should log onto the course management system and do their work. There is no teacher providing live encouragement or watching over their every move in the classroom, so students must develop their own self-discipline in order to get things done. This unique characteristic of an online class can help students to find and foster the internal motivation necessary when setting out into the real world.

4- Time Management

Unlike students in a traditional classroom, who are required to attend lectures and labs at specific times, online learners are encouraged to take advantage of every minute and schedule their time appropriately. Many students choose distance learning because they are juggling more than just school on a daily basis. Jobs, families, and travel all factor into their daily schedules, so they need to learn great time management skills in order to fit schoolwork into the picture, as well. Additionally, because many course management systems are now accessible on the go, students can take advantage of every spare minute, reading assignments or contributing to discussion boards from their smartphones or tablets while between appointments or during a lunch break. It is this early exposure to time management that teaches online students how to make and meet personal deadlines and goals.

5- Technology

Although on-campus students are often required to interact with the same LMS as distance learning students, there is one aspect of technology to which they do not often gain access while in school- professional video conferencing software. While many students are familiar with Skype and FaceTime, basic video chats are missing the features and feel of a professional online meeting. Many businesses are now choosing to ‘meet’ with clients, partners, and other employees virtually instead of spending airfare on overseas (or even domestic) travel. And, online instructors will often use these methods to communicate with students or set up group projects for learners. This can help students better communicate with fellow classmates and instructors for a variety of academic reasons, all of which are better translated into the corporate world.

6- Job/Career Prep

There is one colossal advantage to taking courses online instead of in person- everything is saved and recorded electronically. This means that online students may be better prepared to put together an e-portfolio, one of the greatest assets an individual can have when voyaging into the world of job searches, applications, and interviews. Being able to seamlessly build an online repository of work, projects, and learning can help place online learners a step above those who learn on-campus. One of the many arguments against online education is that students have less of an opportunity to acquire hands-on experience in their field of study. While this may not be true for web developers, graphic designers, and writers, this is definitely a huge disadvantage for biology or education majors. However, by allowing students to access and display their work and studies in an organized, easily accessible manner, online education can help students boost their resumes and market themselves as effectively as possible.

 

Sources:

20 Life Skills Not Taught in School, by Jake Akins

How Online Learning Develops Essential Skills for Lifelong Success, by Jason Evans

College Magazine’s The 10 Colleges with the Best Career Services, by Lyla Lawless

US News’ 4 Ways Online Education Programs Teach Real-World Skills, by Darwin Green

US News’ Evaluate Career Services in an Online Education Program, by Jordan Friedman

What to Expect in 2017

In October 2016, researchers from JoomlaLMS Learning Management System published a collection of quotes from 14 eLearning and Technology experts. The ultimate question? What trends and eLearning advances do you expect to see in 2017? Each individual was given the opportunity to reflect on the past year and share what they foresee as being the “new big thing” in the coming year. Here’s what they said:

  • Virtual and Augmented Reality
    • According to John Leo, CEO and Lead Analyst at Talented Learning, LLC, students should expect to see renewed interest in augmented and virtual reality. This technology can help educators to deliver materials and information in creative and innovative ways, drawing students into the learning and not simply dictating it to them.
  • Personalization of E-Learning
    • Indiana University Professor Curt Bonk explains that because of the widespread use of technology and the ease with which Learning Management Systems can be personalized, instructors are no longer relying on technology and computer science experts to set up their courses and learning materials. Instead, professors and administrators are predicted to take technology into their own hands and personalize their courses using the tools made available to them, without having to rely on a middle-man.
  • Decrease in formal eLearning and an increase in self-directed learning
    • Steven W. Anderson, educator, speaker, and former Director of Instructional Technology, explains that over the past few years, there has been a steady increase in the number of students turning to self-directed learning in place of a traditional or structured learning environment. Over the next year, educators should expect to see a growth in student enrollment in MOOCs, free online courses, and other self-paced and directed learning environments. He even suggests that the definition of eLearning be altered to include the various environments in which self-directed learning takes place, such as blogs and social media platforms.
  • Increase in seamless integration of and reliance upon apps and learning platforms
    • The past few years have shown an increase in reliance on educational apps and other edtech resources. However, despite this upward trend, many classrooms and educational centers are lacking the seamless integration necessary to make these tools a crucial part of classroom (and online) learning. This is what Mike Karlin, former K-12 teacher and technology leader and founder and editor of the EdTech Roundup, expects to see in the coming year. Educators have begun to appreciate the advantages and benefits to using these forms of technology as part of the educational experience, and Karlin believes that those who maintain and support these learning platforms will work to guarantee that the lack of integration that many see now will be an exception to the rule by the end of 2017.
  • AI, the Chatbot, and “A Good Instructor”
    • Online learning program developer and blogger Kevin Corbett raises an interesting point in regard to the technology he plans to see in 2017. Unlike many other technologists who are focused solely on the integration of LMSs and other apps into the classroom, Corbett also expects to see educators turn their attention to making sure that all instructors, both new and existing, receive evaluations and training to make sure that 2017 produces better teachers. How exactly does he see this working in tandem with other eLearning trends? As an example, Corbett discusses how classrooms are being introduced to AI such as chatbots, computer programs that “mimic conversation with people using artificial intelligence” (TheGuardian). Companies and schools are slowly implementing these ‘chat robots’ into their everyday work or classroom environments as a means of retrieving or accessing information in an instant.  However, they do not take the place of the instructor in a classroom. Rather, they free up teachers to allow them additional time to plan and prepare for their lessons, and to work with the students in a more innovative and creative manner.

Check out the complete article at JoomlaLMS.com for more information or predictions for EdTech in the year 2017.

 

Sources:

Top Experts Predict What Will Transform ELearning in 2017 by Ilona Hetsevich.

What Is a Chat Bot, and Should I Be Using One? by Julia Carrie Wong.

E-Learning Trends for the New School Year

As we near the start of the 2016-2017 school year, let’s take a look at what researchers at Aurion Learning predicted would be the e-learning trends for 2016. How are we holding up? Did their predictions hold? What can we do to make sure we meet all of these expectations before the close of the calendar year? Click on their infographic below for more information.

10 eLearning Trends to Watch in 2016 Infographic

For more information and a great webinar on e-Learning trends, visit AurionLearning.com.

 

Source: AurionLearning.com