The Importance of an LMS

I haven’t posted anything besides conference notes in the last year, or so it seems. I’ve been to ITC eLearning in St. Petersburg, Florida, and the Desire2Learn Fusion conference in Las Vegas, Nevada. My postings during these events were notes from the sessions that I went to, but I haven’t done any free writing or reflections on much lately. Well now we change that.If you don’t follow me on a personal level (my professional presence has been non-existent lately), you likely don’t know that I’ve been evaluating Learning Management Systems lately. Having experience with Blackboard, Canvas, and Sakai, I wanted to see what LMS could meet the needs for my employer. And for me.This goal is what prompted my attendance at D2L Fusion in July. I wasn’t overly familiar with D2L, but knew that higher education sang its praises. So I figured I needed to at least investigate. Without going into detail about my findings and the recommendations that I am making, let’s just say that I explored and carefully vetted the platform.What prompted this post, however, has nothing to do with vetting an LMS. What prompted this post is on something I heard, third hand, from someone in my organization. The comment that I received is that an individual was choosing not to use the LMS that we are using because they felt it was “too clunky” last time. I’m having a hard time wrapping my head around this comment. Is our LMS perfect? No. Does it aid in learning from the program participants? Without question. So why would someone choose not to use the platform? Is it really so bad that they chose to “short” the learning potential of the students? That boggles my mind. So what makes the platform so clunky?Many people who complain about an LMS are those who don’t spend time learning the platform. Are there easy ways to post content, links, documents, videos? Of course! But those who don’t take the time to fully learn the product will never understand that. Is there a user friendly way to post a reflection of a learning experience in a discussion forum? Of course! But those who don’t take the time to fully learn the product will never understand that.What irks me even more is that people who complain about the LMS feel that they have to do everything themselves. Like they are on an island with no instructional or administrative support. Regardless of your industry or higher education/corporate environment, that just isn’t the case. There’s always someone willing to help. Or at least someone willing to teach you how to quickly and easily use the platform.A Learning Management System is such an important tool, possibly the most important tool, to facilitate and guide student learning. I’m hoping that as time goes on, I’ll be able to clearly articulate its importance…</rant>

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