Types of Online Teaching Platforms

With the proliferation of online education nowadays, there are more types of online learning platforms than you could count on your fingers and toes combined. No seriously, there are over 200 different tools that can help you create an e-learning platform for your employees or course content. I am here to help you sort through the mess of it all though by breaking down the different types of online educational platforms.With the proliferation of online education nowadays, there are more types of online learning platforms than you could count on your fingers and toes combined. No seriously, there are over 200 different tools that can help you create an e-learning platform for your employees or course content.

I am here to help you sort through the mess of it all though by breaking down the different types of online educational platforms.

Learning Destination Sites

A learning destination site is a shared website that offers courses from many different providers. Think of this as a storefront, much like how Amazon is the front end for many retailers. 

Typically, learning destination sites allow you to author your courses using an authoring tool or a learning management system, and then either upload or link the courses to the site. The sites usually handle learner registration and eCommerce for you.

Common sites include Udacity, Udemy, Coursera, and edX. Many industries have their own niche sites as well.

Traditional Learning Management System

A traditional commercial Learning Management System is a type of platform that provides the basic functionality necessary for developing and hosting an online course.

It gives course designers the means to author courses, store them, manage learning profiles, report grades and progress, and provides other simple functionalities necessary for online courses.

There are over 700 Learning Management System providers in the market, and most target corporate Learning & Development — their products are developed for internal training. However, some do have “extended enterprise” features, which make it easier to repurpose content for external audiences.

Open Source Learning Management System

An open source Learning Management System is a type of platform that provides the basic functionality necessary for developing and hosting an online course — much like the commercial LMS solution.

The difference is they are typically free of charge and can be customized.

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For each platform, there are usually communities of vendors who can configure, host, and customize open source learning management systems for a fee. Common open source learning platforms are Moodle, Sakai, and Open edX.

Modern Learning Management Solutions

With the well-documented frustration that users often have with traditional learning management solutions, a new wave of modern solutions has emerged. These companies focus on learner experience and sometimes on specific pedagogies that aren’t well supported in traditional LMS solutions.

Vendors in this category include companies like Docebo, Totara, Litmos, Motivis, and NovoEd. It is unfair to list just these; there are many more, and the landscape continually changes.

Learning Management Ecosystems

Another type of online learning platform is the learning management ecosystemWith this model, organizations look to use best-of-breed “point” solutions and knit them together into one platform.

Course authoring software, assessment tools, adaptive learning engines, eCommerce sites, and learning content management solutions (to name a few features) are integrated and presented to the learner as one solution.

They are often built with a custom front end, creating the illusion of a single system.

An example of a learning management ecosystem is the University of Notre Dame’s NeXus platform, which has Open edX (an open source LMS) at its core. The platform integrates more than a dozen other software tools, and has a custom front end.

Custom Built Learning Platform

Last of the online learning platforms is the full custom built learning platform. With this solution, you build all, or most, of the technology you need from scratch by focusing on serving the business, learner, and pedagogy.

This solution takes the most time and in many cases is the most expensive, but you get exactly what you need and have complete control over the experience and direction.

A good example of a full custom learning platform is HBX, a custom platform built for Harvard Business School to deliver very high end business certificate courses.

How to choose an online learning platform

Every situation calls for a different solution. Platform decisions are complicated, especially where you have constraints in time, resources and money.

ONLINE TEACHING TOOLS

 FlipGrid

FlipGrid is a conversation-starter enabling students and teachers to share videos about a relevant subject. Starting guides and webinars are available to teach you and your students how to use this unique platform. Best of all, it’s free! 

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 Zoom

Zoom became the #1 choice for meetings and webinars for its ease and functionality. Why not use this video conferencing tool for online classes, too?

Zoom requires the use of a passcode to take part in real-time video lectures. Not only does this provide a secure learning environment for kids, but it also allows for safe interactions between students and teachers.

 Slack

Slack is an instant messaging tool that helps you and your students communicate instantly. 

Teachers can set up channels geared toward separate topics, and Slack ensures data is secure so only teachers and students access lessons. Once you create a start hub, students can easily access everything they need for their studies.

 Bloomz

Bloomz is a wonderful app that opens communication between parents and teachers. Easily line up parent-teacher conversations, receive class updates and track behavior with this user-friendly platform. Translation is available in over 100 languages to make learning accessible for everyone.

ClassDojo

Parents can join their kids in class through any device with this platform. ClassDojo gives students a way to receive praise for their skills, and parents have the option to share happy moments captured in classrooms.

Microsoft Teams

Classrooms are a true team environment when teachers and students can swap thoughts and ideas. Microsoft Teams makes it easy for you and your students to work together as you exchange videos, homework assignments and engage in chat conversations.

 Kahoot!

Nothing gets kids more excited than a good classroom quiz (and a little healthy competition). Kahoot! was created to work with live video conferencing tools such as Zoom, Skype and Google Meet and blends educational games with fun questions to promote learning.

Kahoot! also encourages kids to create their own games and share with other students.

Gimkit         

Gimkit Live unleashes clever educational content where students answer questions at their own pace. Each time they answer a question correctly, they receive in-game cash they can re-invest to buy upgrades and power-ups. 

Quizlet       

Quizlet uses flashcards and games to make learning more enjoyable. Study modes and sets are suited to each student’s learning style, which makes small accomplishments feel like victories.

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Quizlet helps kids to learn a variety of subjects, including:

  • Art
  • Math
  • Science
  • Humanities
  • Languages

Google Classroom   

Google Classroom requires the use of a Gmail account to access Classrooms. This platform is fantastic for easy communication, teamwork and sharing homework files. Plus, you can even use Classroom to make a class website and store important resources or information for students. 

Buncee    

Buncee is a fun and simple tool that helps students and teachers create course materials, presentations and stories. The platform has over 2,000 templates that allow users to build charts and visual art creations.

Buncee is a multi-purpose, web-based tool for educational, business and personal applications.

EdModo

As a global learning management system (LMS), EdModo is a collaborative platform that connects teachers, students and parents.

Teachers like you can:

  • Support students 
  • Distribute quizzes
  • Share assignments
  • Create posts and messages

Students have a greater chance of reaching their full potential thanks to EdModo’s organized class folders and built-in planner. 

Parents may wish to create their own account so they can supervise their child’s progress.

Edulastic

As a valuable online education tool, Edulastic’s high standards help you administer assessments, help students and track their progress. Google Classroom synchronization is available free to use in combination with Edulastic. Students receive the best of both worlds: effective academic resources that are easy to use!  

 Eduplanet21     

Eduplanet21 recently began allowing teachers and groups to receive a free subscription to use their platform. Developers also released a software module called “Lesson Planner,” which helps you to produce and alter lesson plans for remote learning.

The website has great resources for “10 Minute Tuesdays,” quick conversations with educators from around the world. Their webinars also offer valuable tips to help educators and students.

ClassMax

ClassMax’s online education tool shows teachers exactly how to set up the system, so no guessing required. You can create seating charts, monitor behavior and track student progress. It also eliminates the need to use paper, which is an environmental bonus!

Conclusion

The world is advancing in technology, and learning is also becoming more technological. More and more people are beginning to spend their time online because it’s convenient, fast, and often times better than the face-to-face alternative.

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