Looking for a new learning management system? Choosing an LMS is time-consuming and represents a significant investment for your school. It’s crucial to find a good fit for your students, teachers and parents to ensure maximum ROI.
Your LMS is the centerpiece of classroom and information management. Every school has its own unique requirements, and determining what your school needs is key to picking the system that will best meet your needs.
The first step in the process is to evaluate and prioritize the needs and wants of the school and staff. For example, some ways an LMS can add value include:
- Streamlining classroom management and teacher tasks
- Giving administrators a holistic view of the school
- Allowing students to view assignments, grades and learning materials
- Encouraging parents to communicate with the school with concerns or questions
If you’re exploring a new LMS, also consider the following questions to help choose a system that will best serve your needs:
1. Will it benefit your students, teachers, administrators and parent communities?
Can your school communicate easily? Can teachers evaluate their students? Can students access and view their progress? Do parents have a voice in the education process? Many learning management systems have strengths in some areas and weaknesses in other areas. Focus on the features that matter most to you. Important features to consider include ways to:
- Boost teacher productivity by tying together lesson plans, learning materials, grading and attendance
- Enable students to stay connected to school work, teachers and peers
- Keep administrators in the loop
2. Does the LMS play nicely with others?
For many administrators and teachers, it’s a pre-requisite for an LMS to closely integrate with tools like Microsoft Office or Google Apps for Education. Technologies such as Learning Tools Interoperability (LTI) allow interaction with content from various publishers and third-party services. Be certain that any LMS you deploy integrates as smoothly as possible with your existing systems. Technology changes quickly, so ensure your LMS is adaptable and will continue to let you use all systems critical to your school.
3. What are staff expectations for a new LMS?
Choosing an LMS isn’t necessarily a one-person task. You can increase buy-in by including a mix of stakeholders in the process. Have each team member play an active role in the process and encourage them to voice concerns, needs, and ask specific questions about features and benefits. You’ll improve adoption and utilization by having a core group of faculty stand enthusiastically behind your chosen LMS.
4. How can the LMS vendor help?
The vendor you work with should be your partner. Don’t feel afraid to ask them questions about how they can support your school. A good vendor will be responsive and collaborate with you every step of the way to ensure a smooth transition and understand what you need so they can continue to be a resource. Ask them to provide references from other customers as you evaluate the product. By drawing on experience from similar schools that went through the same process, they will tell you what to look for and what went well during the rollout.
5. What is your ROI?
Setting a budget for an LMS and considering all the options available within that budget is a good practice. It is true you get what you pay for, but also important to pay only for what you need. More expensive tools may tout many bells and whistles, and it’s important to consider an LMS that isn’t overbuilt for your students and teachers. You’re searching for a tool that performs essential functions brilliantly and doesn’t get in the way with too much feature clutter.
The Twine LMS harnesses the power of a system servicing over a million students, but is specially built for smaller school requirements. Sign up for a demo today, or feel free to contact us with any additional questions on selecting a LMS.