A learning management system (LMS) is a software application that allows you to create, administer, and track an educational course in its basic functions. It also allows you to deliver and store your learning materials such as your lesson files and quizzes. There are many types of LMS offering a wide range of functionalities. But in this article, we are going to highlight examples of web-based LMS that offer access to their free version of their product while still offering the most common features among LMSs. Below are the five (5) free LMSs you can try to create and manage your online class:
Google Classroom is a free cloud-based web service developed by Google that streamlines the sharing of files between the teachers and students. It has a simple user interface that is easy to use. It’s integrated with other Google apps such as Google Drive, Google Docs, Google Sheets, and Google Calendar.
Some features of Google Classroom:
- Create a class
- Invite learners by email or through a code
- Allows you to create announcements
- Post your lesson materials
- Schedule when to post your materials
- Create assignments and questions
- Follow and monitor the progress of your students
- Mark assignments
If your main concern is just to host your online class outside social networking sites such as Facebook, then Google Classroom is good for entry-level step in making your class go digital.
Edmodo is a web-based LMS allowing teachers to communicate and collaborate among themselves. It’s an educational technology that connects teachers, students, and parents in one platform. Through your class, you can distribute content, quizzes, and assignments to your students. It can connect with Microsoft products such as Word Online, Powerpoint Online, Excel Online, OneDrive, OneNote, Sway, and among other things.
Some features of Edmodo:
- Set up a class
- Explore class features before adding your students
- Invite students to join in your class by email or by code
- Ready-made instructions on how to join your Edmodo class in a PDF file
- Create and manage your folders allowing you to organize your files
- Have a poll or students’ wellness check
- Create assignments and quizzes
- Create small groups within your class
- Add badges as awards to your students
On top of the basic features, you can also see and message your connections, join communities, use hashtag features in your posts, discover resources for distance learning, and play games.
Schoology is a social networking service and virtual learning environment for K-12 school and higher education institutions that allow users to create, manage, and share academic content. It can be integrated with Google Drive, OneDrive, Khan Academy and utilized 200+ pre-integrated tools.
Some features of Schoology:
- Create a course
- Invite your students by email or code
- Add assignments and quizzes
- Add discussion and pages within the course
- Create a media album
- Publish announcements
- Manage grade book and easily grade your student’s works
- Add and manage badges
- Manage learning objectives
- Manage students’ attendance online
- Create events and manage a calendar
Schoology also allows you to join your school and message or email other teachers working in your school and collaborate with them. Through the platform, you can organize your personal resources and discover public resources that can easily be adapted for your course class. You can make a blog or discover blog content from other teachers and form a professional group right in the platform.
Canvas is a cloud-based learning management system that supports online learning. It serves from individual classrooms to large-scale educational institutions such as universities. It can be integrated to other applications such as third-party online whiteboards.
Some features of Canvas:
- Start a new course
- Offers convenient access to view and manage grades, assignments, and discussions
- Manage course calendars
- Manage files such as video lectures,
- View analytic reports
- Create groups
- Allow peer-review assignments and integrate rubrics
- Manage how you send a message
- Manage the content that can be shared
One of the nicest features of Canvas is that it allows you to create a portfolio that can feature your educational works such as your research papers. Through the portfolio feature, you can build your professional profile and highlight your educational experiences. It is also integrated with Canvas commons, a learning object repository that enables educators to find, import, and share resources to their courses in an easy way. The system also offers resources to guide you about video conferencing.
Classflow is a cloud-based lesson delivery software for collaborative and interactive whiteboards and displays. Through the platform, teachers can build and deliver lessons in the most engaging way. You can deliver interactive activities in real-time or as an assignment. You can integrate applications such as Dropbox, Google Drive, and OneDrive in the platform.
Some features of Classflow:
- Generate a class and invite learners by email
- Allow an open class that can be accessed by any learners regardless of the specific classes they belong to
- Browse free lessons that can be added as class resources
- Administer a live interactive lessons delivery that allows you to create live games, polls, quizzes, and activities
- Equip with an online whiteboard
- Perform lesson-based assessments in real-time
- Deliver classroom assignments
- Follow up your class or some specific students
- Awards badges
- Manage multiple groups
Classflows also allow you to easily make an item analysis from your assessment activities and view the performance of the students giving you an idea whose students are having difficulty in learning.
There are many free LMS that you can try and the market is getting competitive as schools transition to online learning as one of their flexible learning options in response to Coronavirus pandemic. If your school doesn’t have a unified platform, then those five are the ones that offer the basic features and easy to use to get started with your online learning. Using a free learning management system will surely help you in managing your class and your learning resources in one place without breaking your wallet.