Online learning management systems, sometimes called virtual learning environments (VLEs), are software platforms that allow teachers to create and deliver online courses and track student progress. As a student, you may interact with learning management systems for some or all of your classes. This guide will explain what learning management systems are, their key features, benefits for students, and tips for using them effectively.
What is a Learning Management System?
A learning management system (LMS) is a web-based software application used for administering, documenting, tracking, reporting, and delivering online educational courses and training programs. Learning management systems are used by K-12 schools and colleges to host online classes and augment on-campus courses with digital components.
Common LMS platforms used in schools include:
- Google Classroom
These systems provide tools that allow instructors to:
- Post-learning materials like documents, videos, slideshows, and links
- Create quizzes, assignments, discussion boards, and other activities
- Communicate with students via announcements, email, chat, and messaging
- Track student progress, grades, and participation
- Generate reports on student learning and class performance
As a student, a learning management system provides you access to your class resources all in one place online. You can participate in learning activities, submit assignments, take tests, track your progress, and communicate with your classmates and instructor.
Key Features of Learning Management Systems
Learning management systems include a wide range of features to facilitate online courses. Typical functionality includes:
Course Delivery Tools
– Content hosting – Upload documents, videos, images, slideshows, web links
– Discussion forums – Hold class discussions asynchronously
– Chat rooms – Chat in real-time with teachers and classmates
– Assignment dropboxes – Submit assignments digitally
– Calendar/Schedule – View course events and deadlines
– Announcements – Receive class notices and reminders
– Quizzes/exams – Take tests and assessments online
– Gradebook – View your marks and teacher feedback
– Rubrics – Understand grading criteria
– Attendance – Teachers take attendance digitally
– Messaging – Email and message teachers and students
– Collaborative spaces – Work together on group projects
– Virtual classroom – Hold live video lectures
– Badges/Rewards – Earn badges and points for achievements
– User management – Create student and teacher accounts
– Technical support – Get help with login or tech issues
– Mobile access – Use apps to take courses on smartphones or tablets
– Analytics – Track participation, completion, and performance
– Branding – Add school logos and colors
– Navigation – Organize courses intuitively
– Accessibility – Support assistive technologies for disabilities
– Localization – Display content in different languages
Benefits of Using a Learning Management System
Using an LMS provides many benefits for students:
1. 24/7 Access to Learning Materials
You can log in at any time to access course content, announcements, assignments, and grades. No more forgetting textbooks or papers at school!
2. Organization & Routine
Your classes and deadlines are all in one place, helping you stay on track and making it easier to follow along.
3. Improved Digital Skills
Using an online platform builds your technology skills including online communication, collaboration, and digital citizenship.
4. Teacher Access & Feedback
Messaging teachers within the LMS makes getting assistance and feedback more convenient.
5. Collaborative Learning
Tools like discussions and group wikis allow you to collaborate more online.
6. Parent Access
Your parents can also be given LMS accounts to monitor your progress and grades.
7. Personalized Learning
LMS analytics provide your teacher data to customize instruction to every student’s strengths and needs.
Tips for Students Using a Learning Management System
Follow these tips to get the most out of your learning management system:
Log In Regularly
Make checking your LMS part of your daily routine. Look for new assignments, announcements, and feedback from your teacher.
Explore the Platform
Poke around to know where different features are located. Many LMS platforms have help menus and video tutorials.
Set Up Your Profile
Upload a profile picture and fill out any bio info to introduce yourself to classmates and teachers.
Use a Laptop or Desktop if Possible
Small smartphone screens may make it hard to read a lot of material. Larger displays are better for long study sessions.
Download Mobile Apps
Take advantage of iOS and Android mobile apps so you can access courses on your phone when on the go.
Set Up Email Notifications
Set preferences to be alerted via email about new grades, assignment updates, messages, and other notifications.
Bookmark important pages like your course dashboard, calendar, assignments, and message inbox.
Check announcements regularly so you don’t miss important class news and reminders from your teacher.
Enable Push Notifications
Allow push notifications from the mobile app to alert you instantly about urgent new messages or posts.
Keep Your Calendar Updated
Stay on top of assignments, tests, and deadlines by syncing your LMS calendar to your mobile device.
Reach Out to Teachers
Don’t be shy about messaging instructors within the LMS if you need help or have questions!
Participate in Discussions
Discussion forums allow you to share ideas and help each other learn. Post regularly.
Submit Assignments Early
Don’t wait until the last minute! Submit work with time to spare in case of tech issues.
Set a Schedule
Create set times each week to check in on classes and stay on pace even without in-person reminders.
Avoid multitasking and turn off notifications to stay focused while working in your courses.
Ask for Extensions If Needed
If you’re struggling with an assignment, speak up right away to ask for more time. Don’t wait until it’s too late.
Using learning management systems might take some adjustment at first. But by proactively engaging with the platform, you’ll get more comfortable with online learning technology and be able to take advantage of its benefits. Reach out to teachers or tech support if you ever need assistance using your LMS.
Frequently Asked Questions About Learning Management Systems
What if I have a technical issue with my LMS?
Email your teacher or check the LMS help guides. Your school may also have IT support staff who can help troubleshoot any login, glitch, or navigation issues you encounter.
How can I personalize my LMS account?
Most platforms allow you to upload a profile photo, customize login info, organize courses by color or icon, set notification preferences, and more based on the features offered. Explore to make the system fit your needs!
Is the LMS available as a mobile app?
Many major LMS providers offer iOS and Android mobile apps so you can access courses and notifications on your phone or tablet on the go. Download and login using your same username and password.
How do I communicate with my teacher in an LMS?
Built-in messaging, chat, and discussion features allow you to interact with instructors right in the platform. Email or video chat external to the LMS are other options if enabled by your school.
Can my parents get LMS accounts too?
Yes, teachers can create parent accounts so your mom and/or dad can log in to check your grades, assignments, and course activity if you grant permission. Parent access keeps them in the loop!
How do I submit an assignment?
Your teacher provides a Dropbox for each assignment. Simply upload your completed document, presentation, spreadsheet, or other file before the deadline. Submitted work is time-stamped when received.
Can I access courses offline?
Unfortunately, LMS systems require an internet connection to log in and interact with course content. But some mobile apps allow limited offline access like reading materials for a period of time.
Is my work private and secure?
School LMS accounts are password-protected to keep your info safe. Administrators can reset passwords if needed. Only enrolled students and approved teachers can access course materials and grades.
How do I get tech support?
Most LMS platforms offer self-help guides and 24/7 chat support if you encounter technical issues. Your school IT department can assist as well if problems persist. Don’t hesitate to ask for help!
Learning management systems provide powerful online learning tools. Make the most of your LMS by engaging regularly and don’t hesitate to ask teachers or tech staff for assistance. With practice, you’ll get comfortable navigating the platform as you continue honing your digital literacy skills!