That the education technology and tools available today are based on the online consumption habits of today's youth is not surprising. According to recent data from Pew Research, 24 per cent of teens are online constantly. Another 56 per cent go online several times a day.
Blame it all on the smartphone phenomenon. Unlike the baby boomers and teens of Generation X, Pew says almost 75 per cent of today's teens have or have access to a smartphone. Consider, less than 20 years ago, most home computers weren't even hooked to the Internet.
In consequence, today's educators recognize it is not sufficient for our youth to simply read the printed word on a blackboard. They must be able to mentally process and synthesize the commanding images of a multimedia culture.
The challenge for educators is to deliver education experiences to today's youth in the multimedia format to which they've become accustomed and on the mobile devices that they use.
Learning Management Systems
Learning management systems (LMS) have entered into society's lexicon as a powerful learning tool for today's educators. A LMS, of which there are several, is a learning platform that offers a 360 degree approach to educating our youth. It handles all facets of the learning process from course content to course administration, even course registration. A LMS delivers to today's youth an experiential, hands-on approach to learning. It uses cutting-edge technology and big data to foster quality education through engagement and interaction.
Learning management systems are poised to dominate the way teachers teach and students learn in the near future. According to a 2015 Markets and Markets forecast, the combined academic and corporate global LMS market will exceed $11 billion U.S. by 2020, nearly three times its current size in 2015.
Content Management Systems
A content management system stands in stark contrast to the more robust learning management system. Unlike the experiential and interactive LMS platform, a CMS is a passive system having limited functionality. With the simpler CMS, teachers and administrators can manage course content from a central location based on access authorization. Those with the required permissions can add and edit content.
Learning management systems are experiential. Students experience the data by acting upon the data. They view it, listen to it, and interact with it. Other modules within a LMS allow teachers and administrators to make assignments, communicate with students and prepare a variety of reports.
The more innovative LMS providers include skills-gap analysis in their LMS platforms. Skills-gap analysis employs competency-based learning to uncover learning gaps, which guide in the selection of remedial materials.
For example, the Brightspace LMS uses an adaptive learning process that allows teachers to create individual customized content with adjustable learning paths to replace traditional course content. Customized content allows students to learn at their own pace according to their unique style and learning needs.
The Mobile Learning Experience
Mobile devices have likewise become a significant part of the learning process. There's been a rapid increase in recent years in students accessing course assignments and completing homework using mobile apps on smartphones and tablets. Unknown only a few years ago, this practice is possible thanks to learning management systems.
Recognizing the demand for mobile-optimized learning management systems by teachers and students alike, many LMS suppliers include tools such as rich text editors to create content online that's responsive to mobile devices.
Learning management systems that deliver a mobile learning experience are, of necessity, cloud-based. As such, there's a significant trend toward cloud-based learning management systems in 2015 to provide students anytime, anywhere access to knowledge.
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