What Are the Pros & Cons of a Learning Management System?

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A learning management system organizes the information in a school course. The system can store supplemental information, such as course handouts, newspaper and journal clips, and course outlines. The learning management system can also store student records, such as grades on exams and homework assignments.

1 Instant Results

A learning management system can provide instant feedback to a student. If a student is practicing for a test, he can enter responses to questions, and the system can immediately tell him whether he got a question correct, and the potential reasons for a wrong answer. The student can also get his grade for a homework assignment or a test as soon as he finishes the task.

2 Educator Convenience

Because the learning management system can easily grade true-or-false and multiple-choice questions, it reduces the time the professor needs for grading. The learning management system can also store important documents such as the course syllabus, so a student who loses her copy does not have to ask the professor for another copy.

3 Academic Discussion

A learning management system restricts academic sharing. According to Educause, in many courses, only the current students can see the links to papers, discussions in course forums, and responses from the professor, unlike a web page the professor posts that the public can visit. The course closes at the end of the semester, so students can't go back and refresh their knowledge.

4 Cost

Setting up a learning management system is expensive. Proprietary learning management systems often cost the school a license fee each year. If the school uses an open learning management system, it will have to purchase computer equipment to host the system, and it may need to hire extra information technology employees to keep the system functioning and provide technical support to teachers.

5 Learning Tools

A learning management system offers several types of communication tools. The system can host its own web forum, mail service and chat client. Using the learning management system ensures that each student can easily access all of these tools without installing additional software programs, and that all students are using compatible communications methods.

6 Lock-In

Vendor lock-in is a problem with learning management systems. A course module that operates on one vendor's learning management system may not function on another's. If teachers and students get used to using one learning management system, they may complain if the school decides to switch to another one.

Eric Novinson has written articles on Daily Kos, his own blog and various other websites since 2006. He holds a Bachelor of Science in business administration from Humboldt State University.