LMS explained

Infograph showing the function of LMS for students and teachers

Learning Management Systems

A learning management system is a software application wherein courses have their own learning space. Several tools belong to the learning space. With it teachers can send notifications to students, share teaching materials such as folders, files, websites, links, as well as set up different projects. The types of projects and features may differ from one system to the next, but a few examples of these include:

  • project returns
  • tests
  • discussions
  • calendars
  • glossaries
  • peer reviews
  • surveys
  • attendance logs.

Many systems allow for students to be grouped for teamwork and some will let the teacher define student access to materials and projects depending on different premises. A gradebook is included in the learning space, as well as tools for feedback and assessment, e.g. rubrics, grading scales and feedback for student papers.

It is possible to link a learning management system to other systems and databases, such as Google Drive, Office 365, Merlot, among others.

The learning space of a course is where student submissions and grades are maintained and it typically offers the teacher various types of reports and statistical tools.

From a pedagogical point of view, a learning space should reflect the syllabus and the teaching plan. The student should have an overview of the course as a whole, projects should be linked to learning outcomes, deadlines of the course calendar should be visible etc.