How an LMS can help with digital content integration


With so many technology-based resources–such as video, eBooks, and Google Docs–now available to help teachers deliver dynamic lessons, many teachers still find it challenging to incorporate digital content seamlessly within their lessons. But some experts say that’s exactly what a learning management system (LMS) can help educators do.

“A robust LMS pulls all of your digital content together,” said Gail Palumbo, lead faculty and area chair for curriculum and instruction-teacher leadership for the University of Phoenix Online, and national consultant for schools, districts, and corporations, during a recent webinar hosted by edWeb.net.

Palumbo said that a robust LMS can help teachers deliver quality lessons with minimum preparation, since many teachers still struggle with incorporating digital content in the classroom.

(Next page: The potential of an LMS)“Indiana has a site called Learning Connections that is like this, developed by the DOE to house lessons, notes, etc.,” said Jennifer Wells, a webinar attendee. “None of my teachers use it, though.”

“Many teachers still say ‘It takes time to stop what I’m doing, go to the computer, find a link or video, wait for it to load, go back to the text or whiteboard, and keep jumping around.’ And that does take a lot of valuable time. But with an LMS, digital content can be added as part of your lesson plan, running from one resource to the next seamlessly.”

According to Palumbo, an LMS has the capability to include a multitude of digital content, defined as any and all materials or programs stored on an electronic or digital medium that can be transmitted or used by computers and over networks and the internet.

Digital content on an LMS can include synchronous collaboration (instant messaging, chat rooms, videoconferencing, and Skype), message boards and online forums, blogs, wikis, social networking, and collaboration apps (Google Docs, Sync.In, and Zoho).

Watch eLearning’s video on how to choose a LMS

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The benefits of incorporating digital content into the LMS system are numerous, said Palumbo, including being able to access the content and lesson from any internet connection, modifying lessons from anywhere and anytime, and many LMS will let the user add standards postings with the listed digital content.

Palumbo also advises teachers and curriculum directors to seek help from their school librarian or library media specialist when it comes to incorporating digital content into the LMS lesson plans.

“They have advice on the right information and resources that could best fit your lessons, as well as the right processes for efficiency, the right platform to use, how to develop white papers and reports, what materials are age-appropriate for your students, and what materials are best-suited for different types of learners.”

(How best to use a digital content-rich LMS)

Experts also agreed that besides getting advice from media specialists, it’s important to have the right infrastructure and professional development.

“Kick the tires and see if your current infrastructure, like IT set-up, network connectivity, et cetera, is robust enough,” says Pranjalee Thanekar, senior marketing communication manager and author of “8 things to follow while implementing blended learning via an LMS.” Thanekar also recommends providing LMS training to teachers.

An LMS can provide complete interaction between the teacher and the students, and it supports this interaction by “enabling a continuous learning environment before, during, after, and beyond the learning event itself,” said Director of AVP Sales Amol Shinde in a blog post titled “5 tips for managing effective blended learning through an LMS.”

Shinde says that through the LMS’s collaborative capabilities such as discussion boards, forums, wikis, blogs and chat, learners can continue to share relevant ideas and materials, and continue to learn from each other.

“It also helps develop a strong community outside of the classroom training. This sense and place of community is a powerful force that can drive learning in the enterprise,” he said. “In the organizational context, knowledge is no longer contained in silos defined by geography, function or domain, and can be shared and viewed transparently.”

Meris Stansbury

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