What Do Students Hate About Their LMS? Our Tips For Building A Great eLearning Platform
We’ve talked to K-12 and college students to find out the pitfalls of LMS platforms. Learn common mistakes to get a great LMS.
Design From The 2000s
Online services that we use in 2023 are well-designed and thought-through. When students open their LMS, they expect similar quality. Yet, many eLearning platforms seem like they come from twenty years ago. Looking at such designs, students want to close the browser tab ASAP.
Apart from the visuals, poorly designed LMSs are often cluttered and confusing. They can have too many menus, buttons, and options. When students first open such platforms, they feel completely lost. Often there are no tours showing them how to navigate the platform. Without a straightforward user experience, it’s difficult to interact with the LMS.
Most commercial LMSs are either oversaturated with unnecessary features or miss some crucial ones. For example, medical students will benefit from VR-powered operating rooms. Meanwhile, English literature students will likely take VR as a toy cluttering their dashboard. Boxed solutions by definition can’t fit everybody. Instead, they cover generic requirements.
Tip. To get a modern LMS, designers can rely on guidelines like Google’s Material Design or Apple’s Human Interface Guidelines. Such guidelines provide best practices for modern interfaces and even include open-source code. If your LMS is made with these guidelines in mind, your students will find the platform modern and easy to use.
Old-school platforms are built for the average student, but they don’t take into account people with disabilities and other minority groups.
Some students have just recently moved to the US, and they can have difficulties reading or speaking English. Some have visual impairments or color blindness. Other students don’t have stable internet access. If your LMS doesn’t consider minorities these students won’t have access to education.
Tip. Modern platforms are inclusive to everyone. Here’s what it means:
- For ethnic minorities, your platform should have multilingual support. Automatically translated content can make a world of difference for students who don’t speak English.
- For students with disabilities, the LMS should support WCAG. At the very least your platform should have a dark mode, text-to-speech, and speech-to-text.
- For students without internet access, your LMS should support offline tools. These can be Google Suite apps with offline access, like Calendar, Drive, Google Docs, etc.
- For different age groups, teachers need to control the sequence of content. For example, high school and college students get to access all learning materials from the start. They get to study in the order that they prefer. Meanwhile, elementary students need a straightforward learning experience, where they only access new chapters once they’ve read the previous one.
Poor 3rd Party Integration
No one likes to keep passwords for multiple platforms. If students have to go between multiple services while studying, the learning experience gets disjointed. As a result, students lose their focus on a task.
To organize their coursework, students use third-party note-taking apps, productivity tools, and cloud-based storage services. When the LMS doesn’t support such tools, students struggle with their learning. They are forced to switch between different platforms, logging into each one separately. This leads to confusion and low engagement.
To enhance the learning experience, students use interactive educational games, virtual reality simulations, and real-time feedback tools. If these tools are not integrated with the LMS platform, students can miss out on interactions with the course material and peers.
Tip. To integrate 3rd party learning tools make sure that your K-12 LMS supports LTI (Learning Tools Interoperability). LTI is an industry standard for integrating learning tools into an LMS. With LTI, there’s no need to log into third-party apps. Instead, students can use a single sign-on to access all the tools and games. Think of it like logging into Youtube with your Google account.
Shallow Mobile Optimization
Sure, every LMS has a mobile app. But the learning experience on mobile is generally much weaker than on desktop.
Third-party integrations are often not adapted for mobile. Things like virtual labs for science experiments, or additional assessment tools often only work on the desktop versions.
Tip. Naturally, some content doesn’t work well with smartphone displays. It can require a larger screen. Still, at the very least a mobile LMS should support basic features like file uploads, instructor feedback, or collaboration tools.
Part of the reason why students use LMS platforms is to track their progress. Still, quite a few LMS platforms have weak analytics features. This means that students can’t accurately track their progress with them.
Another issue is real-time grade updates. Too many students have to wait hours or sometimes days to check their grades. All of this happens when teachers have to manually copy grades from learning tools to the LMS or the SIS.
Tip. Build a personal dashboard into your LMS. Here, students should see clear and detailed reports on their progress, grades, and badges. To keep the reports up-to-date your LMS needs to support standards like OneRoster and LTI.
Lack Of Communication Tools
If done wrong, online learning can isolate students. This doesn’t only apply to abstract concepts like the sense of community. It’s also about simple and practical tasks.
Group projects can be difficult to pull off in outdated LMSs. An old-school solution to this issue would be to add a forum. Unfortunately, online forums don’t work very well with group assignments. Forums are good for posting ideas and updates. But they don’t really help with real-time collaboration, unlike group chats and video conferences. Forums also lack project management tools like task lists, calendars, or deadlines.
Privacy is also a concern. Students don’t want teachers and faculty to oversee their communication. As a result, students prefer to stay out of built-in chats and forums whenever they can.
Tip. Integrate social media and third-party messengers into your LMS. This makes it easy for students to collaborate on group projects. Also, this way students can chat in your LMS freely, knowing that the faculty doesn’t have access to all of their discussions.
Related IndustryStreamline Your Online Training With Customized LMS Solutions
LMS platforms have been around for decades. Since the start of the COVID pandemic, eLearning skyrocketed. Yet, millions of students still use outdated platforms.
LMS is no longer a tool for reading educational content and uploading assignments. Today, eLearning platforms are supposed to be social and user-friendly.
If you’re looking to update your LMS, consider custom eLearning software. At Aristek Systems we build educational platforms for millions of students. Students, teachers, and administrators enjoy our products. Reach out to learn more about modern eLearning software.