What To Know When Choosing an Educational Platform in 2021

by | eLearning Software

When choosing an educational platform, it is important to consider what you are hoping to do with it. Are you teaching a group of freshly-homeschooled students from your cul-de-sac? Are you trying to train a group of employees on safety best practices remotely? Are you creating a training program that will teach everybody who volunteers at the daycare the best way to handle a disaster like an earthquake or tornado?

The answer you have will determine how you proceed, what parts of an educational platform are most important, and ultimately which solution you’ll choose.

What is an Educational Platform?

First off, what is an educational platform? An educational platform is a typically digital service specifically built for the purpose of teaching, educating, managing, and evaluating learners. While something like a Zoom call or a Facebook Live broadcast can be used to teach people en masse, it wasn’t built with the intent of teaching and it doesn’t offer evaluation or grading solutions; so we wouldn’t include something like that in our definition.

In much of the eLearning and education world, an Educational Platform is also known as a Learning Management System (LMS). Examples you might have heard of include Blackboard, Moodle, Canvas, Chamilo, and of course Academy of Mine.

 

Determining the Goals and Objectives You Have For Your Educational Platform

Why do you want an educational platform? Presumably to teach! But who you want to educate, and why you want them educated will help you decide which Educational Platform or LMS is the right one for you.

Here are the questions to ask yourself:

  • Who is your primary learner?
  • What do you need them to know?
  • What is the best way to convey that information? Text, videos, presentations, hands-on experiences?
  • How long will it take to teach them?
  • Does there need to be a teacher, or can the lessons be performed asynchronously?
  • Am I a proponent of Cognitive Learning Theory or Vicarious Learning Theory, or do I want to use both?
  • How will I evaluate and grade my learners to determine if they were successful?
  • How am I going to keep in contact with my learners? Through email, a chat service, carrier pigeon?
  • If I already have content, how am I going to implement it with my educational platform or LMS?

Once you’ve gotten the answers to these questions, we can move forward to help decide which educational platform to choose.

 

Determine the Course Requirements

You now know who you want to teach and what you want them to learn, and you have a rough idea how long it should take to teach them that information. Now, it is time to figure out how you’ll grade them.

“Grade” makes people think of A-F letters or numbers written in red ink on a math test; but a grade is nothing more than an evaluation of a learner’s ability to retain and regurgitate information. How you choose to measure this is up to you: the old letter standbys are understood by most people, but for something like a certification a simple “completed” or pass/fail measurement may be sufficient. Determine how important it is to you to get into the nitty gritty of evaluation.

 

Outline the Featured Platform Requirements

The most important features the average instructor wants from an LMS or educational platform are an email service (or other way of communicating with the students), a content evaluation service (so you can grade and respond to assignments that get turned in) and a hosting database (where the content you make can be stored and viewed by your learners).

Beyond those simple basics, (communication, evaluation, and information storage) you also want to consider what other features an LMS can bring that would make your life easier.

 

Determine your Budget

For just shy of $10,000, Academy of Mine will build you a 100% custom educational platform that does every single thing you want it to and nothing that you do not; but that number might also make you balk. If your budget is in the $100 a month range or less, there are still plenty of options. Let your budget help guide you, while keeping in mind that the cheaper options are often very cookie-cutter in their approach to eLearning. Sometimes this is exactly what you need though!

 

educational platform 2021

Choosing an Educational Platform

Alright, now it’s time for the main event. You know your budget, you know what features are most important to you; and you know who you’re trying to teach and why. Now, it’s time to learn what your choices are.

Academy of Mine

If you’ve got the budget for it and the need for a custom solution, you can’t beat Academy of Mine’s platform. You can learn more about it here.

Canvas/Instructure

Well used and well loved, this educational platform is useful for businesses, teachers and everybody in between.

Adobe Captivate

Works with the Adobe Creative Cloud Suite, so if you are used to using that you already have an advantage, and you know how Adobe’s pricing model works.

Moodle

Open source and easily adaptable, and flexible for a range of uses and prices, there’s a reason Moodle is #1 at many universities.

For a more detailed list of educational platforms, look here!

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