If you haven't heard yet, there's a lot of buzz going on about Learning Management System engagement.
A Learning Management System (or “LMS” as it's commonly called) is a rather broad term that can apply to a variety of features and tools used to facilitate online learning. It's a term that can be used to describe anything from progress/goal tracking to quizzes to granting student certifications.
And although LMS systems have actually been around for quite a while, it's only been within the past few years that they've garnered attention in a larger variety of industries.
Once entrepreneurs started making the shift towards a profitable course launch formula, the demand for user-friendly LMS systems began to grow exponentially.
Now, a simple online search reveals dozens – actually, hundreds – of LMS platforms for you to choose from.
The question remaining is: will the Learning Management System engagement justify your investment in it?
Table of Contents
- Why an LMS tool Might Save Your Online Program
- But You'll Still Have To Look Deeper To Attain Success
- Stay On Top Of Learning Theories
- The Need To Be Unforgettably Personal
- A Logical, Beautiful design
- Learning Management System Engagement Is Great, But Not A Perfect Solution
Why an LMS tool Might Save Your Online Program
The features of most LMS plugins are based on research in educational psychology. The research gives insight into activities that stimulate learning, which the LMS tools then provide a solution for in the digital realm.
These “discoveries” are often simple things that we often take for granted, like quizzes and visual rewards for learning achievement.
For many students, a course that includes interactive elements greatly increases their ability to grasp the material…at least, more easily than if they were simply presented with a bulky textbook.
Why does interactive learning make such a difference?
When the brain is allowed to engage with learning material on a variety of levels, it is actually far more stimulated and “interested” in capturing the information.
In other words, with the right interactive elements, you can give your students the brain-boost they need to fully engage with your course material.
But You'll Still Have To Look Deeper To Attain Success
Unfortunately, the biggest hype about LMS tools can make them seem like they're a one-size-fits-all solution. That as long as you have one in place to facilitate a better learning experience, your online course is going to work wonders.
But this is far from being either realistic or true.
“One Size Fits All” Does Not Apply
For one thing, not all LMS plugins are created equal. Some are designed specifically for the “further education” of corporate professionals, while others are made for K-12 teachers and the learning needs of younger students.
…and that's not even mentioning the many varieties of LMS tools that fall along the middle ground of that spectrum.
Because of this fact alone, simply adding a popular LMS platform to your site isn't a guarantee for success.
First and foremost, you'll have to determine exactly what features your particular students will most benefit from.
The Risks of Over-Stimulating Your Students
Another risk associated with LMS plugins is the temptation to excessively rely on their nifty features.
While a few LMS features planted strategically throughout your course material is pretty fab, there's a danger of requiring too much interaction.
In extreme cases, over-utilizing your LMS system and other multi-media actually runs the risk of over-stimulating and alienating your students.
When over-used, an LMS system will then hinder the same brain activity that it was designed to stimulate.
Which makes sense: real engagement and learning aren't going to happen if the main experience of your online course feels like an arcade game.
The Need For Solid Content, First And Foremost
By taking that step into the world of online learning and creating your own course, you do so with full knowledge that there's a lot of competition out there.
And the only way you can come out ahead is if you are truly, wholeheartedly providing the very best content for your students.
You see, the majority of earth's population doesn't want another shiny, pretty object to spend money on…at least, not when we're talking about online education!
Fundamentally, it doesn't matter if your online course is bespeckled with quizzes and high-tech LMS features. What matters is that you're able to provide a powerful solution to transform the lives of your students.
Stay On Top Of Learning Theories
If you're not totally sure whether personality quizzes or goal tracking will make more of an impact in Lesson A vs Lesson B, it's time to do some research.
By learning why and how interactive learning works, you empower yourself to make the greatest impact when putting it into action.
That's why instructional designers like Dr. Kelly Edmonds stress the need to stay up to date with online learning theories…and why they're also one of the first professionals to approach when you're ready to create your own online course.
The Need To Be Unforgettably Personal
This might sound superficial, but if your program's lacking personality, soul, and originality…it's not going to stand out.
But most of us are tired of buying into bland, “vanilla” programs that are full of cookie-cutter solutions. Instead, we long to regain that personal connection with another human, even when it's in the world of online learning.
Yes, there are certain standards that are worth adhering to when you're creating your course. But throughout it all, your you-ness should still stand out boldly.
Because when faced with a decision between your course and that of your closest competitor, your clients are going to make a gut-decision based on the vibe and personality that they glean from your material.
A Logical, Beautiful design
Of the two options below, which would you find more engaging inside a textbook:
For many of us, (B) is pretty obvious.
Adding some design element to your course makes everything easier to read and scan on an electronic screen. And it can make up for less written content.
But design doesn't just impact the layout of your pages.
The entire course should be thoughtfully, strategically designed so that each piece of content builds very naturally upon the ones before.
And everything – from tech tools and strategic outlining to graphic design – will come into play here.
Course design will ultimately determine how satisfied your clients are with the educational material you're offering to them.
Learning Management System Engagement Is Great, But Not A Perfect Solution
When all is said and done, the “success” of your course will always be determined by a variety of factors.
And this is a good thing! It means that you don't have to “have it all” in order to deliver impressive learning solutions to your tribe.
But as you continue to grow and develop your own business and online courses, it's worth asking yourself a few guiding questions along the way:
- Does my course idea offer a powerful solution for my clients?
- Can I deliver this content in a personal, unforgettable way?
- Does each lesson flow logically into the next, or are there some gaps in my material?
- Do I need to invest in extra tools to help facilitate interactive learning with my students?
- Do I know exactly what features I need for the ultimate Learning Management System engagement?
If the answer to any of those questions is “no,” then it's time to go back to the drawing board to discover the most effective way to impart your knowledge to your students.
Because here's the thing: if you've created an incredible, successful course, then thoughtfully adding an LMS plugin on top of it can only make it better.
If, on the other hand, your course is terrible, even the most expensive tech tools will not suffice to make it any better.
Maria Myre is the word person at AccessAlly, where she spends her days sipping on espresso and exploring new, intuitive ways to connect entrepreneurs with the tech tools and training that will best fit their business needs. When she’s not writing tech-y business stuff, Maria enjoys art, and horseback adventures in the Great Outdoors.