Businesses frequently use learning management systems (LMSs) to enhance online training and elearning initiatives
That’s why these systems are increasingly becoming key parts of instructional design and employee training. These articles explain some of the major LMSs for the following:
- Instructional designers and training professionals trying to stay up to date with all the different LMSs organizations are using, and,
- Business leaders looking to implement a new LMS or better understand the one they have
This article series explores different LMSs on the market today, considering their various applications for designing and conducting corporate training and education initiatives.
Blackboard Learning System
The Blackboard Learning System is one of the most commonly used LMSs on the market today. It offers a variety of platforms to meet the needs of different institutions, ranging from academic environments to corporate training. Some of the types of environments that apply this solution include:
- Higher education
- Career colleges
Blackboard is a proprietary software used by administration and instructors for course management over the internet. Institutions can either host Blackboard themselves, or sign up for “Managed Hosting,” allowing Blackboard to run the servers and take care of IT and support personnel.
Features & Benefits
Bundled Services: The proprietary software, required resources, and user support services are all bundled into one package. Everything necessary is available to establish and maintain an elearning or online training system.
Hosting Options: Blackboard can be installed on local servers or hosted by Blackboard ASP Solutions. Institutions do not have to worry about finding their own host server. It offers four levels of hosting service, so organizations can choose which plan best fits their size and demand.
Levels of hosting service include:
- Silver: ideal for small initiatives or departments
- Gold: medium-sized or larger initiatives; includes additional technology components when required
- Platinum: structured and mature online presence; offers complete hosting infrastructure and additional project management
- Diamond: institutions whose online programs are integral to education; highest level of support and strategic planning
Blackboard’s tiered engagement plans make it easy for users to upgrade their plan as their elearning initiative continues to grow. All plans use the same infrastructure and support baseline.
Innovative Communication Tools: Blackboard features innovative communication tools that allow a more convenient means of interaction between instructors and participants. It includes discussion forums (threads, blogs, journals), instant chat capabilities, and a built-in recordable whiteboard for discussions, lectures, and team assignments.
Convenient File Transfer: With Blackboard, files can easily be uploaded and downloaded. Instructors can put lessons, study guides, assignments, and other course materials directly on Blackboard for participant access. Podcasts or videos of lectures, for example, can be uploaded and made available for participants to download and use offline. Instructors can also obtain reports that track the frequency and duration of participant access.
Reliability: Server management and network security are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Other features include the following:
- Free orientation and training materials
- Grade book
- Templates that can be applied to courses, sections, chapters, and lessons
- Folder privacy settings
- Reusable learning objects
- Administrative reporting
- Learning Content Management System (LCMS)
- Administrator module
- Microsoft SharePoint
Blackboard is compatible with Windows, Mac, and Linux/Unix operating systems. It can also be aggregated across departments and merged with other data, making information easily transferrable. It is AICC and SCORM compliant.
Blackboard is a trusted and widely-used LMS that provides many standard and innovative features.
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