How to determine your LMS content
Congratulations on your decision to purchase of the LMS Classroom! Whether you are an established learning management system pro, or this is your first go-round with this type of tool, the best place to start is by considering how you will organize your content. Based on customer-tested approaches, we recommend following the steps listed in this documentation to optimize your success. This is an exciting time, and we know you are eager to get started. Making this document the first stop on your Classroom journey will assure you are ready to hit the ground running as soon as you log into your new learning tool!
Quick Glossary Items
First, it’s important to outline some of the more readily used terminology. See the big ones below. You can access full Help documentation here.
Learning Center - This is your staging area. This is where you build out all of your content packages, which are made up of courses, chapters, lessons and assessments. Whatever you build in the Learning Center will not be made live until it is published by making it a Package.
Courses - When you build a course in the LMS, you are putting all the pieces together in order for your learner to move seamlessly through a learning experience. The course is broken into chapters, lessons and assessments. Your learner cannot see these items until they are made into a Package (more to come on that later).
Chapter - A chapter is the top item in a course under which all sessions fall, whether those sessions are lessons or assessments. You can give your chapters whatever name makes sense within the context of your course offering. You can easily go back and rename chapters at any time for convenience and flexibility. Finally, you can have unlimited chapters within your course.
Session - A session is a part of a chapter which contains either a lesson(s) or an assessment. You can have unlimited sessions per chapter. Many customers have one or two lessons that need to be consumed prior to the learner taking an assessment to prove their proficiency in the presented content.
Lesson - A lesson is where you present a file(s) to your learner in order to encourage mastery on a particular subject. The content of each lesson could be a video, a PDF of slides or a combination of the two. Lessons are completed upon arrival to the page, or upon completing a chosen percentage of media (which you determined), depending on the lesson type: media (video) or non-media (document).
Assessment - An assessment is an exam or quiz you set up for your learners to take in order to prove their content mastery. Assessments also often unlock more content in future chapters, which--if navigated successfully--ultimately can lead to the learner earning a certificate. Access to the assessment, as well as what constitutes a passing score are determined by you, the admin. Learners can earn CEUs through successful completion of a course OR you can tie CEUs to a certificate, which is generated after the learner successfully completes a course. That certificate is housed in their LMS account and is also emailed directly to them.
Packages - If building course materials in the Learning Center is thought of as the staging area, creating a package can be thought of as the publishing hub where the course is visible and ready for consumption on the learner-facing site, your LMS. Note: the course will not show on your learner-facing site without being published through Packages. In packages, you also select what the Groups are able to see. With Packages, you can make one course the package, or you can group several courses together to form a bundle. Packages can be found under the Store menu item.
Groups - This is how content accessibility is controlled. We recommend making a Group for each Package. Any learner that is not in a certain Group will not be able to access that material. Typically permission is based on if the learner is a member or not; if the learner has paid the price to access the course; or the learner has achieved the necessary rights established by the admin to gain access. Groups is the way you can control who is seeing what content.
People - This refers to the individuals within your LMS that are designated as admins or learners. There are two ways learners get into the LMS system:
- Single Sign On (SSO) - If you are an MC Professional, MC Trade, or Wild Apricot customer, learners are added to your LMS automatically via the single-sign-on process.
- Stand Alone - If you are an LMS customer that does not use the MC Professional or MC Trade AMS products, you are able to upload learners to the system either through a .csv file import or one at a time manually.
Additionally, the two roles utilized in Classroom are Admin and Learner. Those are defined below.
- Capable of all Learner functions
- May access the admin dashboard
- May edit Packages, Courses and Site settings
- May create and edit Learner and Admin accounts
- May consume learning content
- May earn certificates
- May pay for courses, if necessary (Single-sign-on only)
Content Delivery: Prep Your Materials
Now that you have been acquainted with the definitions of the most popular components within the LMS, let's discuss the best way to organize your content so that you have a super easy time loading it into your new LMS! Following these suggestions will ensure that your learner has a clear pathway created for them to absorb and retain information.
Determine what content you have currently
Do you already have videos and supporting documents (PDFs) ready to load? Awesome! Take inventory of those items and maybe even start gathering them into topic-specific or file-specific folders so they are ready to load into your LMS when you are ready. This is a great exercise in understanding what you have and what gaps you may have to fill in later.
Develop an outline of how you’d like your content to flow
This is an important step, as it allows you to know exactly how to build your courses once you get into Classroom and start working with real collateral. Doing this step will also give you a leg up in making sure you are creating the most delightful and comprehensive learning journey for your audience.
...so on, and so fourth...
Another benefit to this step is to help your organization understand where gaps exist. Can’t find that powerpoint to turn it into a PDF? That’s something to add to the to-do list and get done before you’ve spent any time inside the LMS tool.
Ensure you keep all of your content
This may seem obvious, but before you start uploading: it’s important that you have all of your content saved outside of the LMS. Keep in mind that the LMS is a content delivery tool, allowing you to take your materials and deliver then to your learner in an easy and organized fashion. But it should never be where everything lives. Our recommendation would be to ensure you have all videos, PDFs, certificates, and assessment question-and-answer keys (spreadsheet format is best) saved to your internal server or computer. That way, you know if you ever have to change anything, you have master copies stored somewhere other than your LMS. Don’t worry, nearly anything you put into the LMS can be downloaded back out, but it’s best to reserve that for emergencies only.
Build your first course!
While you are still learning this new system, the absolute best thing you can do is take everything one step at a time to ensure maximum success. You will learn a TON just by going through the steps necessary to publish your very first course. Ready?
LET’S GET STARTED! Click here to continue!