In addition to minimum education requirements and teaching experience, a very common requirement or preference in online teaching job descriptions is “experience with X LMS”; X being the Learning Management System that the particular school uses.
You may have experience as an instructor or a student using one or more LMSs (and you should highlight these on your CV!). But you may find yourself without direct experience or familiarity with the “X” LMS that a job description lists. If you wanted to invest your time LMS training, where would you start? There are so many LMSs out there, where should one focus one’s efforts?
While there are a lot of LMSs in existence, it does seem that at least 4 are rising to the top as the most popular. eLearningIndustry.com lists the top 4 LMSs and my experience reading online teaching job descriptions echoes and supports this list as the four on which you might focus your training efforts. Below, I’ll list them and link you to places where you might find some good, affordable, or free training.
Blackboard. If you have been a student or an instructor in the past 10 years, I’d be quite surprised if you haven’t come across a Blackboard classroom. Indeed, Blackboard is perhaps the most commonly used LMS in higher ed today. While a lot of training happens once you have been hired by a school, there are avenues for individuals looking to increase their Blackboard navigation skills. Consider Lynda.com as a good resource. Blackboard Help also has some good, free training videos you can watch.
Moodle. Moodle is an open source LMS and as such is a very cost effective solution for most schools. Anyone who wants to offer a course on anything is able to download Moodle to their server for free. If you don’t have your own server, MoodleCloud will host a Moodle classroom for you. Signing up for a free MoodleCloud account will allow you to poke around a Moodle classroom from an instructor angle – and you might even be inspired to create your own course! LearnMoodle.com also provides a terrific Moodle overview.
Canvas. If a school doesn’t use Blackboard or Moodle, I’d put my next dollar bill on Canvas, another very popular LMS. Any efforts spent on training oneself in Canvas will likely bear some fruit. You will need to create a login, but here is a free Canvas orientation class you might find very helpful.
D2L Brightspace. Large online universities like Purdue University Global use D2L/Brightspace, so if you are choosing where to invest your time, choosing training in this LMS is wise. Lynda.com has a great training course on Brightspace and Brightspace Help offers a nice FAQ page for instructors, covering some basic usages of the site, like getting started, discussions, assignments, and quizzes.
And if you do take a training course in any of these LMSs don’t forget to list that on your CV. If a school you are applying to uses any of these LMSs, you will certainly want to drop that detail, at least parenthetically, somewhere in your cover letter!
Have any good LMS training resources to share? Please comment below!