5 Tips for Selecting a Learning Management System (LMS) for Your School

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For those who are new to the LMS scene, learning management systems have pervaded the higher education sector for over fifteen years, and have most recently found their place in the K12 setting. What schools are most interested in, as it pertains to learning management systems, is a single shared ecosystem that unifies educators, students, and parents.

When schools begin their preliminary research in the learning management system space, it is easy to become quickly overwhelmed with the amount of available products, all with their distinct and most notable features.  While there seems to be no clear winner in this space yet, some market leaders include Canvas by Instructure, Schoology, Haiku, and Edmodo. Whichever product ends up being selected,  it will be important to stay focused on how this new system will fit into your current school ecosystem.

Consider these five tips as you begin exploring the multitude of learning management systems out there:

  1. Your new LMS must be user-friendly

While certain learning management systems boast a high number of features and capabilities, it will be important to stay focused on the user experience. For this system to be successfully adopted and utilized it will need to be easy to use and intuitive for a broad base of users. Creating a “must have” list that considers all important stakeholders will be key to making an informed selection.

  1. Your new LMS should align with your school’s goals and technology strategy

While many schools don’t currently have a technology strategy that is aligned to the school’s learning goals, it will be important to start thinking through what this may look like at your site. Selecting a learning management system that can provide the framework to bring your school’s goals and technology strategy to fruition is key. Can you present an example of a good or a bad alignment?

  1. Your new LMS should provide efficiency to teaching and learning

While teacher efficiency should not be the lead driving force in your system selection, it should definitely be high on your selection criteria. Your faculty will thank you for this! Again, an example of an efficient process or inefficient process.

  1. Your new LMS must integrate with other services and tools

It is helpful to think of a learning management system as a tool belt, a system that can integrate with a variety of other external digital tools. This integration can provide a seamless and efficient experience for students and teachers. Also, if your LMS integrates with your school’s student information system (SIS), that is another major plus.

  1. Before selecting a new LMS, get feedback from your faculty and students

Before committing to a single platform, it is wise to do your research on a variety of the market leaders in learning management systems. Have your teacher’s trialing these systems in their classrooms, with their students. Having a structured pilot program, with built in time for group sharing and collaboration, will only help to inform your final selection.

This list will get you started as you start narrowing down your LMS options. If you’d like to learn more about which systems schools are using and how they have approached a full-school rollout, be sure to reach out to one of our Instructional Technology Consultants at info@knowingtechnologies.com

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Author Jim Puccetti

Before joining Knowing Technologies, I spent eight years as a secondary level science teacher and an instructional technology leader at De La Salle High School. I received my Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership at the University of San Francisco, where I created a model that teachers could use to effectively integrate technology into their classrooms. I have presented in a variety of conferences across California and have garnered both Apple and Google certifications along the way. When I teamed up with Knowing Technologies, I began building the Instructional Technology division of the company. I designed a coaching program that addresses many of the challenges associated with most traditional professional development models -- and I am proud to say that the results have been the catalyst for pedagogical transformation for all participating teachers.

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