4 Learning Management System Design Tips for Better E-Learning

Written by SeekLMS Correspondent on 14 March 2022

What makes a good learning management system? Building a custom system can be a daunting task, and without proper planning, a simple project can turn into a huge headache. Having helped several schools design and build custom systems, here are the four things I recommend considering when designing or adopting a Learning Management System.



1. Focus on the data, both for instructors and students.  

We're obsessed with data these days, and for good reason: It's relatively easy to come by if you know what you're looking for. While you won't be able to identify everything that's useful upfront, take a step back and assess what you hope to learn. Create a list of the information you need and a list of the things you would like to have. For example, do you need to know the average test score for History students? What about attendance rates during the month of December? Knowing what you're looking for in advance helps you determine what specific information you'll need to capture from your users. 


2. Design for usability:

make it 'pleasant' to use Once you know what you need users to tell you, you need to make it easy for them to do so. Design every component of your LMS with usability in mind. Create a hierarchy of actions you need users to take, ranking them in order from essential to non-essential, and use prominent buttons, obvious links, and clean copy to direct people to them. Also, take advantage of what is out there. Things like social logins, streaming videos, shared calendars, message boards, and forms are commonplace on the web, and users immediately know what to do with them. Take inspiration from Google, Facebook, Microsoft Word, and others to learn the common themes of web interfaces and copy them. Your users will thank you. For a great reference on user-friendly interface design, I recommend Stephen Krug's book “Don't Make Me Think”.


3. Plan for mobile from the start


As of 2020, there are more than 14 billion mobile devices in use worldwide, a number that is expected to rise to nearly 17 billion by 2023.


Additionally, more than half of all web traffic is mobile, which means that the likelihood that students, parents, faculty, and staff will need to use the LMS on a mobile device is relatively high. To optimize your experience, take a mobile-first design approach. Instead of building a full, standard website and then stripping down features or reducing functionality for a mobile version, start by focusing solely on how your LMS looks and works on mobile devices.


Ask yourself, what are the basic tasks that teachers, students, parents, and administrators must perform? What information and tasks should be accessible at all times? How does the information look on small screens? How do you interact with the information?


It's always easier to layer complexity for a desktop experience, but designing for mobile-first ensures a seamless experience for users, wherever they are.


4. Design curriculum and instruction with the strengths of your specific LMS in mind

Every platform is different, and no single approach to building an LMS is perfect. Some work well as evaluation software, while others handle video better. Some or visual, while others are fast-loading, text-based, and use frequent lessons and page loading to move the learner through the material.


Whatever your approach, design what and how students learn in cooperation with the strengths and abilities of the LMS rather than designing digital lessons and units and then fitting them into whatever the LMS can do.

While the customization options can be exciting, taking the time to consider these four things will help you build the system that meets your needs so you can focus on what matters most: providing a great education to students.


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