For the last 5 years I have been working with various Learning Management Systems (LMS) and platforms to create the ultimate class website for my physics students, and the 12 other online courses I’ve since developed. I began working on creating the ultimate class website because I believe that blending traditional learning with the advantages of video, interactivity and flexible access can take a learner to experiences not previously possible.
In the next few paragraphs I’ll share what I believe are the 5 features that define the future of online learning.
1. Ease of use
If the platform is difficult for students, they won’t use it. The platform should be clean, minimalist and mobile friendly. Only the most important features should be on the screen, and the next step for students to take should be obvious.
2. Creativity in Assessment
Put an end to boring tests. Once you have students on your site and the content easy for them to find, you need to create forms of both formative and summative assessment that students will enjoy using. In other words, you need to help students gauge their understanding and you need to be able to track it.
Most learning management systems offer built in assessment, but not all of them allow for a great deal of creativity. Creativity in assessment will make your class website stand out.
Instead of a boring multiple choice test, why not create a build-your-own-adventure video? Simply adding a video into your assessments can decrease student boredom and increase knowledge retention. Since your scores will be received digitally, why not include many smaller quizzes instead of a large test? You will reduce stress and students will not dread using your website.
3. Social Collaboration
The internet brings us all together, and so should your class website.Adding social media elements like wall posts, comments, forms, and chat can bring your students together even after school. Google Docs and their other apps allow your students to work on the same document simultaneously, andBuddyPress can give your WordPress site a set of Facebook features.
Cyber bulling has become an increasing problem in schools. If your ultimate website uses forms, wall posts, messages or other ‘FaceBook’ like features, be sure to include a blacklist of comments. WordPress and other content systems can automatically flag comments with inappropriate words. Also, if your students are underage, your website should discourage search engines from searching their profiles to help protect their identity.
5. Instant Feedback & Statistics
I hate grading manually, but creating a long answer test is one of the best ways to gauge student learning. Creating a digital assessment that rivals a hand written test will take you longer to design create, but will save you hours in grading and give your students instant feedback. Not only will your ultimate class website grade the assessments for you, but it will let you export a spreadsheet filled with all kinds of statistics. Knowing exactly where your students are struggling puts power in your hands to change it. A good learning management system will supply your students with certificates or other records showing how they did. You may even opt for a leaderboard to encourage a little competition. Just be sure that you don’t broadcast confidential things like class averages and student grades.
Did I miss something? Have a question?
Those are the 5 most important features I’ve found while designing my ultimate class website and learning management system. Did I miss a feature you think is important? Have a question I could help answer? Share it in the comments below and help other teachers create their ultimate class website!