What Learning Management System (LMS) Should You Use for Your Online Bootcamp?

Blog
April 28, 2021

Technology has made the learning process a lot more efficient, organized, and convenient. LMS software is an excellent example of technology innovated to make the learning process better. LMS stands for Learning Management System. It is an application that enables you to offer, track and report on your online course, training programs or other learning activities.


This is a simple guide that will outline great LMS solutions for your online bootcamp but first, here are the essential features that any LMS software should have.


Elements of a great LMS


Host content/curriculum

A learning management system should centralize all learning material in one place. Modern LMS software offer this capability through a cloud-based system; hence it is easy to distribute the course content to your learners. Having all your content in one place means that all the participants get the same information every time.


Track student outcomes

With LMS technology, reporting on students is a lot easier compared to conventional methods. Since all the information on students is available in one place, it is easy to see what they have done, what they are currently doing, and what's remaining.

Schedule live classes via Zoom

A great LMS should be able to support live virtual classes. This means that your participants will be able to join in from the convenience of their location and still experience the one-on-one attention of classroom interaction.


Should have support for integrations

Migrating your data from one application to another is a big task to do. However, a great LMS will allow you to seamlessly integrate all your existing apps and data to make the change smooth. Business tools like your HRIS and your CRM already make work convenient - incorporating them into your LMS keeps the benefits of both without losing either.


Here are four options to look at when considering a learning management system (LMS) for your online bootcamp:


1. Canvas

Canvas LMS is an open-source, cloud-based software made by Instructure Inc and is available on mobile devices and desktops with Apple, Windows, or Linux operating systems.

Pros:

  • Great for content hosting

Being a cloud-based system, Canvas hosts all your course content without breaking a sweat. The content can also be accessed from any location worldwide on any computer or smartphone.


  • Support for announcements

Canvas offers an internal communication system as part of the package; hence you won't need an external messaging or email integration.


  • Can create assignments and projects

Canvas allows educators to add quizzes, projects, assignments, and exams to any student. They can also introduce a discussion in the repository to supplement course interactions.


  • Gradebook

Its Outcome feature is an excellent way to help educators assess their students based on their assignments and exams. The grades can then be exported easily via a student information system.


Cons

  • Canvas doesn't have support for live classes since it doesn't have its own video conferencing tool.
  • Teachers and students can communicate via messaging and video chat, but they can't book virtual office hours.
  • Canvas offers no support for automatic attendance tracking.


2. Build Something In-House

Instead of buying an LMS, you can opt to build your own with an internal engineering team.

Pros

The main benefit of an in-house system is that you're able to customize everything you want to the last detail. This is not possible with a one-size-fits-all LMS.


Cons

  • Expensive

As with most custom solutions, you'll incur a high initial cost to get it developed and running. The cost of maintenance too can be high as well.


  • Requires hiring engineers

Building your learning platform means that you'll have to bring a team together to develop and maintain the software, an expense that is much less with an LMS.


  • Time-consuming

It takes a minimum of 1-2 years to develop and launch a learning management system, which is a long time compared to switching to an existing LMS.


3. Stitch Together Existing Tools

Rather than build your custom product, you can also use the different tools already on the market. For example, Zoom can be your video platform, Calendly can manage your schedule and Mailchimp your inbox.


Pros

Flexibility is a significant benefit of using these tools together. You can scale up or down as you wish, discontinue any tool that you don't need, and keep the strengths of all.


Cons

  • Too many tools, each with their purposes, can get confusing for the students.
  • Because you're running across different tools, it is more challenging to manage all of them compared to a centralized LMS.
  • It requires a lot of manual work to transfer data because the information is held in different tools that may not be integrated well.


4. Virtually

Virtually is an all-in-one solution for teaching online. You can manage your entire program just from Virtually- meaning that you'll spend less on resources with a great user experience.


Pros

  • Virtually hosts all your resources, assignments and curriculum content online, accessible to your students with a single password.
  • Virtually not only supports live group classes but also the students can schedule 1-on-1 meetings with their instructors.
  • It is easy to create assignments and projects on the platform. It's also efficient to grade these assignments and track students' outcomes all at the same place.
  • Virtually integrates with tools such as Zoom, Slack, Google Calendar, and much more seamlessly.
  • Virtually allows you to charge and track all payments on the platform. This means you can handle direct student payment processing with ease.
  • LMS Migration is also included with your Virtually package.


Cons

There's currently no API for the software, although it is in development and coming soon.



Get started with a free 7-day trial at https://tryvirtually.com/ and experience the difference!


Ish Baid

Ish is the Founder & CEO of Virtually (YC S20).