The learning management system market is growing exponentially. Industries such as K-12 education, higher education, continuing education, corporate learning and development, technology, manufacturing, healthcare, real-estate, and event marketing are all increasing investments in cloud-powered online training platforms (JoomlaLMS Learning Management System, 2016). Why? Cloud-powered learning management systems offer quicker deployment of resources, don’t require in-house technical support, and provide lower initial costs and smooth scalability options (JoomlaLMS Learning Management System, 2016). Offering trainings and other courses online rather than relying upon face-to-face traditional learning methods allows organizations to reach a wider network of learners such as busy professionals and students with full-time jobs. Now, this learner population has the opportunity to participate in programs anytime, anywhere at his or her own pace using any portable device with a WIFI connection.
Creating programs on learning management systems has never been easier. It’s cost-effective and environmentally friendly to digitize course materials and upload various forms of multimedia (e.g., PowerPoints, videos, articles, infographics, images) onto learning management system modules. Increasingly, organizations are utilizing learning management system platforms due to its impressive ability to reliably support mobile learning, gamification, microlearning, social learning, and videos (JoomlaLMS Learning Management System, 2016). In fact, most organizations that conduct online learning programs heavily rely upon video content—and for good reason. One of the benefits of educational videos is that online educational videos elicit enhanced learning outcomes (Cohen et al., 2018).
Educational video’s importance is evident given the multiple ways they are supported by LMSs.
- Videos posted by others or by the course creator on major video hosting platforms (e.g., Vimeo, YouTube, Dailymotion) are able to be uploaded to learning management system courses. One of the benefits of short educational videos uploaded to major video hosting platforms are that they are great for demonstrating real-world examples regarding the subject matter of interest.
- Pre-recorded video lectures are able to be uploaded directly from one’s computer to a learning management system course seamlessly. Learning management systems typically support multiple video formats (e.g., MP4, FLV, AVI, WMV , MOV, MPEGPS, WebM and MPEG4). This allows students to watch 30-minute to hour-long sessions from any device without having to step foot in a classroom for a similar exposure. One of the benefits of educational videos that are pre-recorded and available via an online course is that once these online courses are made available for purchase, course creators do not need to schedule live lecture sessions. Course creators can sit back, relax, and watch profits roll in while students view video lectures at their own pace on their own timeline and complete courses after course payment.
- Live Webinars can also be conducted on learning management systems. A webinar is typically a live instructional session conducted as a discussion or presentation with an audio and visual component (Hayden, n.d.). Conducting a webinar allows the host to connect with learners at the same time in real time anywhere in the world. When the webinar is hosted live, there are typically options for learner interaction via chat windows that aid in the learning process.
Learning management systems offer multiple ways to support video files because videos are one of the top ways to engage students, and engaged students are more successful academically during the learning process than those that are not engaged (Cohen et al., 2018). Including videos in your online educational courses therefore strengthens learning outcomes.
Typically, student engagement is measured by pre- and post- surveys that students fill out before and after online course participation (Cohen et al., 2018). This self-report is often biased and may not give the best description of student engagement. Student engagement is also commonly measured as number of clicks in an online course, number of views, and amount of participation in discussion forums (Cohen et al., 2018). These measures of engagement however, do not correlate with academic success (Cohen et al., 2018) . Researchers Cohen, Madsen, Touchan, Robles, Lima, Henin, and Parra (2018) thought that there must be a better way to measure student engagement in such a way that truly captures psychological investment that often leads to academic success. These researchers decided to measure student engagement with electroencephalographic (EEG) responses of students watching educational videos. This, in fact, proved to be a sensitive measure of knowledge acquisition.
In the study, two groups of subjects watched educational videos. One group of subjects operated under an intentional learning paradigm (Cohen et al., 2018). This means that these students watched the educational video knowing full well that they would be tested on the material in the course. The other group of subjects operated under an incidental learning paradigm. These students were unaware that they would be tested after watching the educational videos. After these two groups of students endured these conditions—brain activity measured by the EEG was stronger in the intentional learning group than the incidental learning group (Cohen et al., 2018). Results also showed another benefit of educational videos: memory of factual information presented in educational videos is predicted by engagement on a neurological level (Cohen et al., 2018).
This study and countless others like it demonstrate the importance of educational videos in online courses. Due to the strong ability for an educational video to grip students’ attention on a neurological level similar to an entertaining video of conventional cinema, it is vital that videos be included in online courses to boost student learning outcomes (Cohen et al., 2018). Therefore, it is essential that when choosing a learning management system to host your online courses, you choose one that has powerful video support.
Cohen, S. S., Madsen, J., Touchan, G., Robles, D., Lima, S. F. A., Henin, S., & Parra, L. C. (2018). Neural engagement with online educational videos predicts learning performance for individual students. Neurobiology of Learning and Memory, 155, 60-64. doi: 10.1016/j.nlm.2018.06.011
Hayden, B. (n.d.). What the heck is a webinar, anyway? [Blog post]. Retrieved from http://www.bethhayden.com/what-is-a-webinar/
JoomlaLMS Learning Management System. (2016). [Infographic of LMS usage rates and trends 2016]. Top LMS Industry Facts. Retrieved from https://www.learndash.com/lms-industry-snapshot/