What is the Purpose of an LMS?

The Learning Management System (LMS) provides a central repository for all course materials with one login, which simplifies the learning process in the online environment. An LMS can be used for blended and face-2-face courses as well. Videos, blogs, wikis, journals, and portfolios can be added to courses within the LMS expanding the students’ resources and offering collaborative learning possibilities. The LMS includes efficient tracking and recording tools for monitoring progress to ensure that students are meeting their performance milestones. If a learner is not able to successfully complete a lesson, you can offer supplemental resources.

Although students are tech savvy, they are not always tech knowledgeable. They do not always make the best decisions about privacy and we should not contribute to this delinquency by requiring students to visit or register for sites that are not vetted by the technology services experts on campus. The LMS organizes e-learning content in one secure location.

Some opponents of the LMS believe the focus of the system is the storage and delivery of content rather than having a learner-centered focus. This is actually more myth than truth; the LMS can be flexible enough with the mode of instruction, interaction, and assessment strategies to accommodate a variety of teaching strategies with the added benefit of one central login and privacy protection. Think about adapting the system to fit the instruction as opposed to modifying the instruction to fit the affordances of the tool. Our number one priority should be our students, and requiring them to learn a new tool and sort through new navigation for every class is not the most efficient use of their cognitive energy.
VCU is currently using the Blackboard Learn LMS.