Must-have Features in any LMS
LMS, learning management systems, are an absolutely superlative way to organize resources for any entity or person imparting knowledge to others. As such, LMS software can be adapted to simple or elaborate systems. They can be used as an organization-wide module for schools or for businesses. There are certain features that are essential to any LMS.
- Security. While there might be a blog, calendar or bulletin board for public consumption, most learning media systems handle proprietary, personal, and confidential material. Therefore a good security system that allows users to log into the system, yet keeps intruders out, is an absolute must.
- Communication. Interaction with the system, with administrators, teachers, students, workers, and other concerned parties is central to the operation of any LMS. The communication system needs to be secure, but still easy to use, even for inexperienced operators.
- Flexibility. No two schools or learning situations are going to be the same. Therefore, the LMS needs to be able to adapt to all sorts of situations, from enriching Kindergarten classrooms to training busy working adults who are learning on the job.
- Modular. This goes along with flexibility. Designing the app in modules means that users can elect to focus on the parts that they are most likely to use in their situation.
- An Intuitive Interactive Virtual Classroom. This would probably include a virtual whiteboard, Pedagogue has a nice one). synchronous and asynchronous chat boards, the means to record and play back videos or voice recordings. It should certainly provide a way to upload materials such as text documents, spreadsheets, and pictures. It might simply be made compatible with existing applications, or it might have its own dedicated production software.
- A means of assessment. Not only does this mean the ability for teachers to test student understanding of materials and to record the results, it also means the ability to assess effectiveness of the program and to allow users to send feedback.
- Options for a resource library. This can range from apps provided as part of the LMS to digital library holdings such as books, magazines, videos, and more.
- Technical support. No matter how user friendly your software, or how good your explanations, problems will arise. Sometimes there really does need to be a human to troubleshoot the software.
- Options for monetization. Whether this means providing the ability to track school lunches, teachers dues, tuition, or payment for individual classes, funds must be collected from somewhere to keep the servers running and connected to the Internet.
- A system for overall record keeping. Even the Sumerians tallied the cattle that came through their gates. Keeping track of all sorts of stuff is implicit in the abilities of an LMS.
This list is by no means exhaustive. Different systems might require more of one part or another, but these are things that should be in any good Learning Management System. Whether it is being used in a standard school district or adapted to business industry instruction, these are parts that will be essential.