Determine how an LMS will facilitate teaching and learning within the educational community’s context and achieve your strategic plan of growing the University. We covered this in an earlier newsletter, read more.
An example of an LMS goal can be: Select an LMS that will power our growth and strategic plan in the next 5 years. The platform should facilitate academic planning and provide flexible instruction and learning options for 30,000 students who may receive their education on or off-campus. It should be affordable to students and easy to use with minimal training by the university community.
Once Step 1 is articulated, the next action is to specify the required LMS features, the functions or tasks it must execute, and the standard it must achieve.
Start by listing out these functions and features on a spreadsheet with descriptions and any notes on specifics or preferences. Initially, the description of a particular feature might be quite general, but as each LMS is examined and more knowledge about how a function or feature is executed, additional details can be added. Reviewing your spreadsheet to expand or improve on your earlier objectives should be a continuous focus in this step.
Next agenda is categorising the listed features into priority groups; you might, for example, group them into categories such as:-
- Needs: mandatory, essential, non-negotiable functions and features (high priority).
- Highly desirable: important to have functions and features (medium priority).
- Desirable: extras, nice-to-haves (low priority).
One last and essential thing to note in your LMS selection process is an advice not to carry out this decision with only one stakeholder in an organisation. Especially in the case of a learning institution, even though academics is focused on the teaching and learning aspects of an LMS, an overview of the software’s basic technical requirements and total cost required needs to be represented along with the end users’ capacity. Therefore a collaboration of contributions from the IT, to academic staff, financial team, students and lecturers should be represented.
Now there have been different ways of involving stakeholders through LMS decision needs. They have ranged from committees to surveying systems, town hall deliberations etc. But the key purpose remains that it is an all-inclusive process that revises and updates its progress and needs.