A Teacher’s Guide to Adapting to a New LMS
Learning management systems have become an integral part of the classroom. While some still consider them only in the context of online learning, the LMS has become an information recording and delivery system that offers convenience to both student and instructor. In some instances, it serves as a virtual classroom that augments—and doesn’t compete with—the physical classroom. If you are tasked with employing an LMS in your course, consider the following advice.
Incorporating a new learning management system into your curriculum can be frustrating. Some teachers are not computer or Internet savvy and may prefer more familiar methods of instruction and record keeping. While an LMS can eventually streamline classroom management activities such as taking attendance, the time spent in learning and mastering its interface may seem daunting at first. There’s likely a good reason why your school chose this particular learning management system. Open your mind to the ways that you can leverage the new system to your advantage.
Get Familiar with the Software
There is no substitute for experience. Your new LMS might appear complicated and require numerous tutorials, or it might seem user-friendly from the start. Either way, the only way to learn it is to use it. Many schools will deploy a new LMS the semester or summer prior to it going live in the classroom. Utilize this time. Get a feel for its interface and features. Create a student account and enter grades. Create a message thread, and post comments and replies. In short, learn the ways of the LMS at your own pace in a low-pressure environment.
Train and Retrain
Many schools will roll out a new LMS and will provide training or other resources. While you should take advantage of this, you should also explore other documentation that may be out there. Many companies provide additional information on best practices for their LMS as the system is part of product-service packages. More established learning management systems might even boast unofficial online user groups in which other instructors share their experiences with the product, including workaround solutions for problems and their own preferred methods for getting results. A little ongoing self-training can pay off in a big way in productivity gains.
Many different learning management system platforms exist, and the market continues to grow. Learning to use an LMS has become a necessary component of ongoing professional development. So, log in and dig in. You might surprise yourself!
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