10 Ways Instructors Can Use eLearning Management Systems More Effectively

Instructors have many options when working with eLearning management systems.

They don’t want to get bogged down with one aspect of the technology while missing out on an opportunity to leverage another feature.

Here are 10 tips that will save time instructors so they can focus more on course development, research and other projects.

1. Advocate the use of learning content management systems (LCMS) that work hand in hand with a learning management system (LMS).

They may sound the same, but both are essential to support eLearning.

In the most basic sense, a LCMS allows organizations to reference one central place or

database while creating, reusing, storing, managing and cohesively distributing vast

amounts of digital content in multiple learning formats. A LMS, on the other hand, is

more focused on organizing learning content and establishing the right setting for

students, instructors and course options (e.g. scheduling classes, registering learners).

Instructors can easily organize the present through courses by referencing the structure and tools available in a robust and flexible LCMS.

2. Encourage instructors to keep presentations on track.

They don’t need to create online content that’s excessive – either with graphics or text. They should keep slides to a few key points. A single image may suffice instead of an animation.

3. Adapt material from other instructors.

In some corporate environments and many academic settings, you can use a LCMS to share content (revise and expand without building it from scratch).

4. Know the students and how they will learn.

In your planning, corporate training executives and academic leaders must understand how students will learn. Can instructors’ content be displayed in the mobile world – everything from iPhones to various tablets? It’s important to make course material and exams accessible on those and other devices.

5. Data import.

Make sure instructors are able to use a system that’s easy to use when they add their own content or update what a colleague produced.

6. Emphasize social learning.

When possible, incorporate user-generated content to reduce training costs. Your ROI will improve as students become more acclimated to eLearning.

7. Partner with other experts.

Whether on a formal or informal basis, encourage outside experts to share their knowledge through content they’ve already created. In some cases, they may be willing to develop fresh content for a course.

8. Be aware of connectivity requirements.

Connectivity needs can vary widely depending on the eLearning format. While e-mail and discussion forums may require up to 128 Kbps, video conferencing and live webcasting could require 2 Mbps.

9. Plan early for learners and the technology they must use.

What types of computers and software programs will they need (memory, processing speed, audio/video cards, etc.)? Companies and schools must factor that in when instructors work on courses. What multimedia capabilities are expected and will students be able to use preferred plug-ins?

10. Consider using content authoring tools.

Although content authoring tools (or authorware) have some limitations, they are fairly easy to use and the learning curve can be low.  Essentially, they avoid the costs associated with custom programming. Tools typically are template-based, timeline-based and object-based. Popular products include CourseLab30, Rapid Intake, Adobe Flash and SmartBuilder.