Teachers and Trainers Must Master LMS Technology

#Learning Management System #LMS

Nava Brahe

 

Are some learners more important than others in LMS training and education programs? Most people would answer no. But they’d be mistaken.

When adopting LMS training and teaching technologies, there is one special person whose mastery of the technology holds more consequence; whose profound understanding of the course content and its form is critical. This is, of course, the person who is delivering the material–the teacher or trainer him/herself.

“Who dares to teach must never cease to learn,” said John Cotton Dana. Good teachers and trainers–especially those who rely heavily on technology for their course content–are constantly learning new ideas and skills in order to evolve with changing times.

An LMS is a big, intricate tool, though the complexity varies from LMS to LMS. If your organization is planning to implement LMS training, you’ll want to consider LMS training courses for your staff.

Look for training classes designed to get technical staff up to speed with new technologies, as well as maintain their knowledge of system and software capabilities for their specific systems. Trainers will learn how to apply the software to tackle engineering problems in specific application areas. Some courses provide both LMS training classes and optional on-site training services.

LMS use in both companies and schools is currently on the rise. However, though LMSs are commonly used in universities, the standardization of LMSs in high schools is relatively sluggish. Why is this the case?

Lack of school funding and proper LMS training for educators are two reasons.

For many teachers, the span of time separating today from the day they completed their teaching degree is a long one. And though most teachers are constantly learning as they go, there are some new skills, like managing LMSs or online courses, that they might be lacking compared to teachers fresh out of college.

This is one major obstacle to the implementation of an LMS in many schools–oftentimes, educators are not well-equipped to use the technology. Training is expensive and often outside the possibilities of a school budget. Many educators are plunged into the stormy waters of unfamiliar technology without a paddle.

And given the benefits that experience with LMS technology provides for learners, it’s paramount that more high schools adopt advanced technology and collaborative learning softwares. Doing so will prepare students not only for more education, but for an increasingly competitive job market that values ICT skills more every day.

In higher education, feedback for LMS use has been mildly positive, though not exactly radiant. This reflects a need for better integration into the classroom, blending with face-to-face instruction, and LMS training for professors. At the beginning of 2008, about 4 million students were taking online courses in universities and other higher education institutions, with many of those courses being hosted on LMSs. And according to the Sloan report, which is based on a poll of academic leaders, students generally appear at least equally satisfied with their online classes as they were with traditional ones.

But with more educators able to instruct using LMSs in their courses, greater quality and accessibility in course content offered online, and increasingly computer-savvy educators, the feedback is bound to become more positive.

The ideal is for teachers and trainers to become closely familiar with how LMS training or teaching works as quickly as possible. This involves understanding instructional design as a teaching strategy. Instructional design refers to the practice of creating instructional tools and content to instigate interactions and facilitate learning between students. To facilitate effective online interactions, it’s important to first analyze and understand the different forms of interaction and learning online.

Capella University is one school that recognizes that teachers might not have the time or means to attend face-to-face workshops. Capella offers Masters, PhD and other graduate programs in teaching online, instructional design for online learning, and curriculum and instruction with a technology focus. The university is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and is a member of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.

For a wealth of information on classroom technology topics, there are online sources for educators in the form of chatboards and discussion forums. Teachers.net is a great one for discussion boards, such as the Educational Software chatboard, as well as articles and resources related to integrating online courses in the classroom. Other sites offer tips on how to integrate online courseware into a course, and reports from educators who face challenges in their own blended learning environments.

If you are a courseware system developer seeking a discussion forum to converse about the challenges and strategies involved in courseware creation, there are also many online resources. Some courseware system syndicators host forums where course developers can discuss their ideas, suggestions, etc. Coggno is one such platform, hosting an author-to-author discussion forum for anyone involved in the e-learning industry, or who wants to learn more about LMS training.

For more information, visit Coggno.com.