Parents Need More Support From Their Learning Management Systems
By Vlada Lotkina
April 27, 2020
Today, learning management systems (LMS) have become a fundamental part of modern-day schooling in light of COVID-19 and school closures. Teachers, parents and children across the country have had to adapt to online curriculums, digital classrooms and cyber communications. Everyone has had to acclimate to a new normal and the notion of distance learning. Parents who once stayed on the periphery of their children’s education have now had to step up and take on a new role as “educator.” But are they prepared?
As much as LMS’ should be focused on providing the best resources for children, they should be equally focused on equipping parents. This starts with bringing parents together, offering capabilities specifically based on individual needs and being universally accessible.
Encouraging Online Communities
Social distancing can be extremely isolating. While parents are working hard to ensure that their children’s social and emotional wellness remains intact, they too need to feel that they are emotionally supported, especially single parents. While children have multiple opportunities and avenues to interact with their classmates through their LMS (i.e. virtual field trips, online read alouds, virtual pen pals, etc.), parents should be able to lean on their LMS to build relationships with other parents and maintain their sense of belonging and community.
This could be anything from encouraging parents to organize online PTO conferences, creating a “Parents Only” discussion board for parents to ask advice from their peers, or even the ability to host weekly video “Wine Nights” with other moms. Utilizing a LMS to build new connections between parents could be the beginning of long-lasting friendships and bonds between families.
Engineering With Parents In Mind
Educating multiple children, maintaining a household and potentially juggling a career at the same time can be extremely taxing on any parent. While parents would like to be as present as possible in their children’s education, the daily stressors alone could make staying on top of everything a difficult task. Bottom line, parents are only human.
Having a LMS that is specifically engineered to help parents be as engaged as possible could make all the difference. Capabilities like scheduling parent-teacher conferencing based on individual schedules, direct messaging via preferred communication (i.e. email, text, or web) and sending follow-ups and reminders to parents automatically can make tackling their children’s educational needs easier and more efficient. Not only is having these tools helpful for the collective, but it also holds parents accountable in the process.
American schools have become more culturally and linguistically diverse in recent years. While many students quickly attain proficiency in English, there’s often a language barrier when communicating with parents. Now add in eLearning, and things just got a lot more complicated. Based on internal insights from ClassTag, the rate of users employing the translation feature on our platform jumped nearly 400% from the first week of March to the last week (2020).
Laying a great foundation for communicating with each family, regardless of technology, language or background, will pay dividends as the year progresses. LMS’ should be focused on providing the most accessible help to children, but also parents. This means adapting to multiple and preferred languages for parents, and making them feel that they can easily comprehend and participate in their children’s learning.
Understanding what parents need in order to help their children succeed during the age of distance learning will be imperative as LMS’ continue to be a vital resource for education. Parents need to feel that they are fully engaged and supported as they navigate this uncertain time alongside their children. Through increased accessibility, personalized features and championing for the community, LMS’ can be immensely impactful for the future of digital education.
About the author: Vlada Lotkina is the founder and CEO of ClassTag. Now supporting 25,000 schools and the transition to learning from home, ClassTag is a free communication platform for schools, customized to fuel and inspire parent involvement. Engineered to provide the simplest and easiest way to communicate, ClassTag provides school leaders, parents and teachers a streamlined communication channel, customizable to each individual parent and teacher needs with automated translation in 50+ languages and multi-channel reach via SMS, email, apps or web.
Featured Image: Alexander Dummer, Unsplash.
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