How an LMS Can Help Teachers Keep Older Students Engaged
An LMS can be a valuable tool in helping keep older students engaged. “Older” can be a somewhat relative term. This can refer to middle school and high school students, who are certainly older than elementary students or Kindergartners. But it can also refer to the group frequently called “non-traditional” students, which is to say students who dropped out of high school or college, and are now returning to school to obtain a high school equivalency, a college degree, or to simply acquire skills needed for the workplace. An LMS, or Learning Management System, provides a platform for organizing ideas and reaching out to those who might otherwise have little or no opportunity.
One thing that holds true across the board for older students is that most of them have little patience with what they consider to be frills. There are a few exceptions to this thought. These are often students who are intrigued by information, skills, or ideology expressed in an entry level class who would like to know a little more about the topic without endangering their grade level. Since many schools now have a “no extra credit” policy in place, offering this kind of enrichment can be difficult or confusing to the students who are there for the basics.
An LMS offers ways for students to track their progress through the required parts of the course. It can provide a meaningful way to give feedback, as well as a way to offer alternative work assignments for students who need accommodation. In addition, it can provide a means to link students to enrichment or “just for fun” materials or activities that can give the enthusiastic student an opportunity for more in-depth learning.
Most LMS now provide the means for students to engage in guided discussion of a topic, and to offer pages for interactive peer learning as part of the educational process. This works very well for blended classrooms where the students and instructor might meet once per month in a face-to-face meeting. However, where that is not possible, students can also set up voice or video meetings which can simulate those once-per-month meetings.
Perhaps one of the greatest benefits to the non-traditional student is that working students can log on and access the material at any time of day or night. They do not have to meet at a specific time. They can even participate in group discussions or panels by adding their comments. This kind of asynchronous learning grants the ability to manage household demands, work hours, emergencies and even (occasional) to develop some time to just have fun.
The opportunity to add enrichment materials that might engage learners attention, the ability to track required portions of the course and to be able to see the difference, and to still engage with the instructor and other learners in meaningful ways are all benefits granted by an excellent LMS.
Learning management systems such as these have brought distance education, for example, from a chancy sort of hit or miss sort of instruction that leaves many students floundering to a state-of-the-art instruction method that can be used by people of many different ages from wide-flung locations.