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How to Align Your LMS With the Science of Learning

By Dr. Ian Kelleher

Editor’s Note: This article was originally published by Edutopia. Follow the link below to read the piece in its entirety.

Distance learning has brought many changes to our daily practice and made many of us feel like rookie teachers all over again. I personally feel like my hard-won, Jedi-teacher skill set has been boxed up and relegated to the storage cupboard, replaced in the online classroom by a newbie version of me.

One foundational tech tool that’s been a lifeline during it all, though—a pillar of certainty in an ever-changing school landscape—is my trusty Learning Management System (LMS).

Whatever permutations of “school” we face in the coming year, LMSs are destined to play an increasingly significant role. We might be in person one week, engaged in a hybrid model the next, fully online soon after that, or bouncing between all these through the course of the year. So we’re going to rely on technology—a lot.

But thinking of your LMS as the solution to all of your distance-learning problems is a mistake. Like any tool we use in the profession, an LMS requires that we match rich, meaningful learning objectives with the appropriate teaching strategy—and that means we should ask ourselves if we’re grounding our choices in the best research on how students learn. After all, the fundamental building blocks of learning don’t change because there’s a powerful new LMS at our disposal: The brain will still be the organ of learning, and each student will still have their brain with them, wherever they are.

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Dr. Ian Kelleher is a science teacher at St. Andrew’s Episcopal School, and Head of Research for its Center for Transformative Teaching & Learning. His work focuses on helping teachers translate the science of learning into everyday practices in their own classrooms, and measuring the impact. Ian is the co-author of “Neuroteach: Brain Science and the Future of Education,” and co-designer of Neuroteach Global. Ian is the the inaugural Joseph and Kathleen Dreyfuss Faculty Chair for Research, an endowed position at St. Andrew’s Episcopal School for the lead CTTL researcher.