The acronym LMS stands for Learning Management System. But the phrase doesn’t even begin to explain the world of benefits this brings for education.
Let’s start with the somewhat unusual definition of LMS and try to comprehend its value through numbers.
For starters, LMS is the foundation of an industry that has recorded a whopping 900% growth since the beginning of the 21st century. It is projected to reach $325 Billion By 2025. (source: eLearning Industry).
These staggering numbers are probably the result of the LMS efficiency. Here are a few more mind-blowing statistics to get you thinking:
- For every dollar spent on e-learning, businesses get $30 in return through productivity
- In an educational setting, e-learning tools enable students to learn five times more material hourly
- 65% of US faculty supports open educational resources
In other words, LMS is a versatile tool with a wide range of applications in the business, governmental and educational sectors. It is made for companies, governments, and all types of educational institutions.
This article will discuss the meaning of LMS in education, leaving a rich world of other benefits for some later time.
What Does LMS Stand For in Education?
In educational settings, learning management systems are tools that provide educators and administrators with an indispensable set of features to support their activities.
First and foremost, they operate as a unique data center that connects all the interested and authorized users around a central depository of information.
In simple words, an educational learning management system is the heart of the school’s operations and the engine that ensures all parts work in harmony:
- It supports teaching and delivering lessons
- Keeps tracks on students records
- Performs repetitive and organizing tasks in administration
- Connects students with school’s staff
- Creates firm interdepartmental relations within the school itself
The list is actually much longer, but we’ll discuss these assets in greater detail in what follows.
Why do Schools Have LMSs?
Educational leaders recognized LMSs as an efficient and cost-effective way to engage students, fuel educators’ productivity, organize administration, and – eventually – boost enrollment rates. Put differently, in today’s saturated and competitive market, having a centralized software that supports school’s functioning is becoming a necessity rather than an additional luxury.
In simple words, schools have LMSs because virtually everyone extracts their set of benefits from well-crafted software. Whether in K-12 environments or higher educational institutions, educating has become almost impossible without relying on LMS tools.
Here are the three main “because” that paint a whole picture.
#1 Because LMS is an Administrative Tool That Cuts Down on Costs
Let us turn our attention now to faces instead of statistics.
Meet Alice – she has been working as a university administrator for 20 years now. Been there when student records were manually organized and kept. Witnessed an implementation of LMS and felt on her own skin what it meant for the school’s daily functioning.
Earlier on, Alice’s job involved tones of paper and many hours of doing the same thing over and over again. Despite that, she was a bit concerned about the new LMS coming to university because she’s not a tech-savvy person.
As it turns out, she needn’t worry. The learning curve was not overwhelming, and the intuitive design paired well with her fingers. After a week of training, she handled the software pretty well and actually felt quite relieved – piles of paper were gone from her desk, and the LMS took over many things for her.
She was happy and productive at her workplace. LMS turned out to be a solution rather than another burden.
#2 Because LMS Supports Learning in so Many Ways
Although LMS benefits administrators too, its primary use is knowledge management, meaning that it is software designed to facilitate the creation and distribution of educational content.
That’s why it’s so important to meet Karen – a faculty professor who welcomed the LMS implementation with joy and excitement. She knew right from the start what it could do for her lectures and the corresponding assessment procedures.
Having a systematic mind, she drew the list of her expectations from the new LMS:
- Easy creation and distribution of lessons
- Assessing students and tracking their progress
- Analyzing results of her teaching endeavors
- Easy collaboration with administration
- Making learning more engaging
As a teacher at heart, she was, of course, the most excited about the last tab on her list. Karen wanted to find a way to activate students who lag, and she was hoping that a digital learning experience can help her with that.
But the LMS superseded her expectation. Karen was able to monitor each student’s progress and define precisely what they’re struggling with. As a result, she could tailor a customized learning curve both for top-performing students and those who need extra help.
Additionally, by using the gamification feature, she uplifted the spirits of even the most inactive students. Being unburdened from many administrative and repetitive tasks was a cherry on top.
All in all, Karen was pleased she entered the statistics the right way – she was now partitioning to those three out of four users that report LMS’s positive impact on teachers’ productivity.
Her stakeholders were, of course, highly satisfied with the overall results of the LMS implementation – especially after noticing that the software managed to cut down
$12,600 in expenses on printing the class syllabus alone.
*The referenced statistics are taken from the various case studies and are not necessarily mutually interconnected.
#3 Because Students Need it
Lastly, meet John – he is Karen’s student, and the main center LMS is designed around. Growing up in a tech-driven world, he is now expecting a digital learning experience. In other words, our John is what is called a “digital native.”
Also, he was one of Karen’s lagging-behind students. He wasn’t uninterested in the matter or anything of the sort but had a hard time following sections that required a certain amount of foreknowledge.
It wasn’t until he had 24/7 access to lectures that he could digest all the information together. And only when the professor designed the personalized learning curve for him did the pieces of the knowledge puzzle come together.
John might not know that his performance got better because of the sophisticated monitoring system (nor does he have to), but he does feel that LMS has given him a sense of collaboration outside the brick-and-mortar classroom. And that was vital for his studies because he was able to self-pace his way to graduating.
Things to Look For in Your LMS
To sum it all up, when choosing an LMS suitable for educational settings, there are important features to look for. Alice’s, Karen’s, and John’s stories teach us that learning management software is a powerful tool only if it comes equipped with:
- User-friendly design and intuitive interface
- Secure data management
- Support response and staff training
- Tracking student progress features
- Assessment tools
- Tools for measuring results
- Advanced educational content management
- Tools for engaging students (gamification features, interactivity, etc.)