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PLEASE NOTE: This is the transcript from our 30 minute podcast entitled BEST LMS’S FOR ONLINE COURSES. Please click here to listen to the full podcast.

How to decide on LMS features

TRANSCRIPT

Part 4: Previous Page

So hopefully at this point, Paige, as the smart woman she is, is thinking “okay, I’m onto something here, but I’ve hit a ceiling in this place I know as the “real world”. How can I make this educational exchange more efficient and reach a wider audience? How can I offer my course for sale online?”

So let’s say Paige takes the leap and decides to bring her course online. Before she even starts thinking about an LMS or a CMS she needs to think about how she can solve her student’s problems.

And there is no right way to do this. And that’s the really amazing thing about the democratization of education. And that’s that we have a lot of new mentors, experts and professionals who are taking on teaching responsibilities and have totally unique ways of solving problems and looking at students’ educational goals.

So at this point Paige needs to decide on what features she needs her LMS to have.

ADDING FEATURES TO A LEARNING MANAGEMENT SYSTEM… THE RIGHT WAY

So let’s say Paige decides this: Let’s say she noticed that many of her students from the cafe had this universal problem with say 10 things which she could easily identify.

You know, it could be anything from underdeveloped characters. Problems with story logic or story architecture or the script’s descriptive elements. The list can go on. But let’s say Paige can identify 10 of these common problems.

But now instead of being in the cafe and having to do many of the same speeches over and over again she can create a 10 part course that workshops an aspiring writer’s script with them. The educational goal here, is to help writers solve these ten beginner screenwriter mistakes… before they spend the time and energy to write a feature script.

And let’s also say that Paige realizes that even though these students wanted to “plug-in” to her mind and see how it works… the information she’s providing is really information that any working professional screenwriters with a similar sensibility to Paige would be able to provide this feedback and guidance. So let’s say she decides to bring on two teachers with similar style to help her review and grade student projects.

Okay so now she’s ready to start designing her online course. Let’s say lesson 1 is about how to develop well-rounded characters. So let’s say Paige creates a video or audio pieces for this lecture she’s done over and over again in the cafe. But now, of course, she’s pre-recording everything and putting it all online. So she’s had to do it once but now many students can enjoy and learn from this content without her even having to be there.

And continuing on with her idea –  maybe she decides it would be hugely beneficial for students to see how well written characters translate from the script onto the screen.

So she hires one of her teachers to host these weekly group “character analysis meetings” where students can first read a scene and then watch it unfold on the screen. I mean production companies are making so many scenes available on sites like YouTube and Vimeo now that it would be easy for a teacher to host content like this by embedding it on their website.

And then the students could engage in a group discussion on each clip with both the teacher and other students.

Maybe at the end of the first lesson, the student will be asked to upload a mini assignment. It might be something like a character breakdown for the teacher to review.

And Paige can repeat this process for all 10 of her course modules.

But let’s say Paige also want’s to implement this feature that will cost money to implement or manage so she wants to make it an optional add-on for students who are willing to pay more for this educational feature.

So she also needs her LMS to be able to create student access levels. Where only students with access to her premium content will be able to see the links and be able to access those pages. And I’m going to talk about ‘access levels” more soon, in fact, I’m even going to walk you through the entire demo LMS on our site, but for now, just know that Paige is hard at work identifying things she needs her LMS to do.

PAIGE’S LMS

So Paige decides that her LMS needs to have the following features:

  • First, she needs it to protect her course content.
  • Students need to be able to watch videos online.
  • Listen to podcasts.
  • Upload their scripts for review.
  • She needs to be able to log in and have her teachers log in to review her students’ assignments.
  • She’ll also need to have a group chat area where they can watch videos and have an online discussion.
  • And lastly, she needs to have a protected premium students area.

So only now can Paige start looking for an LMS that can do these things for her.

Other teachers teaching similar topics might want other features. They might want a group feature, a social feature which allows students to interact. A whiteboarding feature, a screen sharing feature and so on.

But for Paige, this is all she wants. And this is a really important thing to establish because remember what we said earlier… start at the end. Start with your students’ objectives and use ONLY the tools that help you accomplish that in your LMS.

Maybe you only need the digital equivalent to two chairs, a table and a place to talk. If that’s all you need to accomplish your students’ educational goals… then that’s all you should use.

Different educational approaches and different topics are going to require different LMS requirements. For example, teaching people how to trade on a currency exchange will require different LMS features than a course that teaches people how to knit.

KEEP READING BELOW

Part 1: Best Learning Management System
Part 2: Real world educational exchanges
Part 3: LMS design: Thinking about the educational process backwards
Part 4: How to bring your course idea online: Decide on LMS features
Part 5: LMS scalability & efficiency

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