Checklist for choosing the right LMS

Learning Management Systems or LMS is a buzzword in education today. With classrooms going online and the UGC’s recommendations for blended learning, turning to an LMS is no longer a choice for institutions that are committed to their students' learning and educational experience. There are numerous types of LMS options available, ranging from enterprise, cloud-based, SaaS vs. Hosted, licensed, free and commercial LMS. Prior to zeroing in on a choice, educational institutions will have to assess the type of platforms that they need primarily keeping in mind ease of use, student delivery programs, and faculty training.

Several learning management systems in the market are at an institution's disposal if the requirement is solely classroom management. As learning needs evolve, it is advantageous to have an end-to-end System for Education Design and Management that will give the institution, teacher and student a holistic view of their activities and progress.

While the thought of migrating to a new, online system is daunting, there are many advantages of an LMS. To begin with, the institution may request for an LMS features checklist and cross-check it with their learning management system requirements checklist.

Once you know that your LMS requirements are being met, here is a quick checklist to help you choose the right LMS for your institution:

  1. Customizable learning experiences:

An LMS enables you to easily tailor learning experiences for different kinds of students. More institutions want this included to impart a rounded curriculum. This could be more visual content, or more auditory or kinetic content depending on the student cohort and profile. What this means for an institute, is a significantly wider student profile to consider, recruit and delight with the learning experience.

  1. Faster feedback and remedial measures:

The service team of a good Learning Management System resolves queries and incorporates feedback quickly to avoid lesson interruption. A quick review and approval of after-sales offerings and support teams will reduce the hassle of a long wait to fix issues that are critical. Getting customer (student) issues solved quickly also builds credibility and increases the quality perception of the institution. With the dashboard system, teachers can see student activity and submissions at once glance and easily glean performance trajectory without having to depend on multiple sources for information.

  1. Reduces institution expenses:

An LMS installation should ideally reduce dependency on manual processes and people. This, in turn, enables institutes to control costs and avoid possible human error. Repetitive tasks, predominantly in the administrative section can be automated and the focus can be maintained on lesson delivery and student progress.

  1. Meets regulatory and legal requirements:

With more regulation around education and the amount of time students can spend in front of the monitor, it can be challenging to deliver on guidelines while also considering legal requirements for content creation and delivery. An LMS enables the institute to easily deliver and track compliant material while ensuring that the quality of the class does not suffer.

  1. Provides easy access on the go:

A good LMS allows faculty to conduct the classroom just as they would in a brick and mortar institute. Many students in Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities make use of smartphones to study lessons and consume auxiliary information as well. This means that the LMS must be able to deliver content in an engaging and device-responsive manner, facilitating interaction, storing lessons and more. Educators can create, store and access intellectual property easily and from anywhere and also control who gets access to it.

  1. Delivers a current experience:

Students today are the most digitally entitled group of people. Often, education institutes compete with the over-exposure to information and high expectations students have from education. An LMS can enable institutions to create exciting experiences and win back real estate in their students’ attention span.

  1. Updates in real time:

A lot of regulation and policy updates happen as authorities establish a structure to the sudden migration of students online. An institute’s software infrastructure should be able to change according to sector demands. This is true of the LMS too. A cloud-based LMS will update and give the benefits automatically, without the hassle of unprecedented demands and accompanying changes.

The LMS market in India is estimated to progress with a CAGR of 20.58% by the year 2026. What drives demand for top platforms is the essence of a good online education, and the evolved learning trends observed in the online education space. Interestingly, searches for good LMS systems have seen an uptick in Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities which seems that institutions realize that this is a critical component in imparting education and the time of return to the physical classroom structure is not determinable in the near future. With smartphones and mobile devices being used to access lessons as well, it makes having a robust and responsive LMS necessary if institutes want to capture a good student pool. Since the pandemic began, faculty members are looking at a gradual learning curve as most of them have become comfortable with online lesson delivery with standardized features and interfaces across most LMS offerings. This means that the institutions have the option to possibly switch to a platform that has better service offerings in order to keep up with the latest content trends suited for students.

Finding and implementing the right Learning Management System needs a lot of due diligence. By including the key stakeholders and frequent users of the system, institutions, and faculty respectively, the ease of lesson delivery through various platform features can be ascertained and implemented. A good practice is to start jotting down the outcomes expected from an LMS and preparing an LMS checklist. Once this is in place, a cost-benefit analysis can be conducted and the search for a suitable LMS can begin.