How Efficient is Your LMS?

Educational Management Systems

I recently had the opportunity to survey over 100 educators from Michigan about their learning management systems. I wanted to use my education in Human Computer Interaction (HCI) to analyze them on their design elements including how easy they were to learn and how efficient they were to accomplish common tasks. The goal of my survey and subsequent research was to create a resource that could help educators make an informed decision about their learning management system (LMS). What you are reading now is the result.

One of the most common things I hear from educators is “I wish I had more time”. This is in large part why I decided to analyze the efficiency of learning management systems; the amount of time that it takes for an educator to complete common tasks on an LMS determines their overall satisfaction. In turn, their overall satisfaction with their LMS determines the likelihood that they will implement blended learning effectively as well as their longevity of use. Thus, in my opinion, the efficiency of a system is one of the most important aspects of it.

The following are a few key points that came out of the survey. Interested in more information? Click here to see the full survey results.

Overall Satisfaction of Each LMS

Of over 100 educators surveyed, Blackboard, Edmodo, Google Classroom, Moodle and Schoology stood out as the top 5 learning management systems. Some other notable learning management systems that showed up, but were not analyzed were Canvas, SeeSaw, Edvance360, MyBigCampus and Neo. Educators identified their overall satisfaction through a series of scalar score questions. Below is the average user satisfaction rating for each of the top 5 learning management systems.

Overall Satisfaction

Available Features

Educators also reported how they felt about the number of features available to them on their LMS. This indicated the level of simplicity or complexity that they perceive their LMS to have. You’ll notice that Google Classroom was reviewed to have too few features and Blackboard and Moodle had too many features. Edmodo and Schoology fell pretty close to to what I affectionately call “the line of just-right”.

Amount of Features

 

 

Common Tasks

Survey participants also identified how often they used their learning management system’s features to complete specific tasks. This was used to identify the most common tasks for educators on an LMS. Any task that more than 75% of participants reported that they commonly used would be analyzed for efficiency later. Here’s what participants said.

Common Use

Efficiency Assessment

Now that the most common tasks were identified, I used Keystroke Level Model (KLM) analysis on each of these tasks. KLM breaks each task down into smaller components like clicking a mouse, clicking a key or moving a cursor on the screen. Each of these subtasks are assigned a time based on an average computer user. In the end, these times are summed up and the result is an estimate of the time it would take an educator to complete the task on their LMS. This is a fair way to the efficiency of each task on each LMS.

Here’s a summary of those results. Click here for more detailed results from my work.

LMS Efficiency (3)

Remarks on Each LMS

My hope is that this survey and data analysis helps you make an informed choice when you’re deciding on your next LMS.

schoology

Classroom

Edmodo

Blackboard

Moodle

What do you think?

  • What do you think about your LMS? Do you have a recommendation?
  • How important is efficiency in an LMS for you?
  • What do you look for in an LMS?

 

This post is meant to be a resource for educators. I intentionally left out significant portions of my actual report to make it easy to read and understand. My complete summary goes into much more detail for how I actually conducted my survey and research as well as a few additional insights. Click here for a detailed summary of my work.

The Post-Mobile Era

After reading 5 Tech Trends that Could Supercharge Education in 2016 from EdTech Magazine today, I noted how quickly technology changes and the impacts on our classrooms. Wearable devices and the Internet of Things (IoT) continue to show up on the K-12 Horizon Report and other areas of education .

We are quickly shifting from the mobile era to the post-mobile era as devices like Apple Watch, FitBit, and Portal become cheaper and more accessible to our students. The digital world can now follow our students into new areas of their lives and we need to prepare for what that future looks like in our classrooms with these devices.

Our lessons need to be so engaging that they distract our students from the distractions.

The debate over cell phones in the classroom is dead. We are already living in the Post-Mobile Era and, soon enough, saying “leave your devices at home” will no longer be an option. Embrace the technology that our students use daily in their blended lives and begin to seek understanding over how to leverage these tools for learning and engage our students in new ways.