How Your LMS Encourages Student Ownership of Learning
Education isn't something that can be done for students. Sure, educators can lead the proverbial horses to the most carefully crafted and engaging water trough around, but the drinking in of knowledge must ultimately be done by the learners themselves.
One important way to encourage student ownership of learning is to provide tools that show them their progress. Administrators and teachers are deeply familiar with all the charts and tables that result from standardized testing, but how many students actually know what their test scores mean or which standards they need to work on? When students have a better understanding of their progress, they can be directly involved in making goals for improvement, identifying their weaknesses, and developing a plan to individualize their own learning.
While professional educators have years of experience sorting through testing data, these results aren't always provided in a kid-friendly format. Fortunately, your LMS can help bridge the gap between what teachers know about student progress and what students understand about their own learning. As students become more interested in targeted feedback on their progress, they'll also be able to appropriately customize their learning on the LMS, thus creating a positive feedback loop of ever-increasing engagement.
The Benefits of Using an LMS: Student Ownership Edition
While it's perfectly true that an LMS makes staying organized and sifting through data much easier for educators, there are several ways your LMS also directly benefits your students:
Information at Their Fingertips: When you have learning materials available online via your LMS, your students can access the information they need anywhere they are, at any time of day. Forgot to jot down a homework assignment? It's on the LMS. Missing class for a family vacation? Keep up on the airplane. With everything right at hand, excuses become old-fashioned and students become more responsible for their actions.
Increased Collaboration: Your LMS makes it easier than ever for students to communicate with each other for group assignments, whether via a live chat or a message board they can visit when it suits their schedule. It also makes it easier to get in touch with instructors with questions, so they can take charge of what they know—and get help with what they don't.
Personalized Learning: Self-paced classes or modules often offer a better learning experience for students, because they get exactly what they need instead of being bored by something too easy or frustrated by work they're not ready for. Educators can also upload resources and content specifically aimed at their community of learners to make general lessons more engaging.
Streamlined Processes: There are no shortcuts for learning, but that doesn't mean that homework has to take additional time out of students' busy lives. Submitting assignments via the LMS is quick and easy, saving time as well as paper. It also allows for more immediate feedback, which helps students address issues right away.
5 Tips to Encourage LMS Usage
With all that your LMS has to offer students, it seems like a no-brainer that they would be on board. Change can be challenging, though, and you may meet some reluctance to learn a new platform at first. Try these ideas to get more use out of your LMS and to turn your students into true fans:
- Flip Your Classroom: Switch up your lessons so that students' first encounter with new concepts is at home. Whether they're reading text or watching a video you post on the LMS, flipped learning means they'll take ownership of the material to be prepared for class discussion the next day. This also allows students to direct classroom learning by bringing their questions, so as an instructor you'll build your time together around their needs.
- Peer Review: Use your LMS as a place to post student work in progress, and have classmates read and (constructively!) comment on each other's ideas. This is a great way to brainstorm and peer edit essays as well as to collaborate on questions and theories for a science project.
- Gamify Participation: Having trouble getting students to use those online resources? Use your LMS to track their usage and set up a leaderboard to inject a little friendly competition into your classroom. You can track how many times students comment on a message board, how many lessons are completed, or whatever aspect of LMS usage you want to encourage.
- Track Progress and Name Goals: Get your students to dig into their own data and feedback on the LMS by asking them to evaluate their strengths and weaknesses. This will make test scores more meaningful and give your students ownership of their progress. Once they've taken a hard look at their numbers, they can devise a goal for the coming weeks and check their progress along the way.
- Design Your Own Lessons: If you're using your LMS to present online lessons, consider showing your students the basics so they can make their own. This is a great way to turn a presentation or oral report into something more interactive for the whole class, and you may even be able to share student-created modules with parents and siblings.
Whether your students are newcomers to your LMS or they've been using it since kindergarten, keeping them actively engaged in using it will make learning more fun, less time consuming, and ultimately an exercise in taking more ownership of their educations.
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