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How Can Learning Management Systems be Used Effectively to Improve Student Engagement?

This paper summarizes findings from a consensus panel on using data from learning management systems and software to help educators understand and improve student engagement during remote instruction.

CRPE convened a group of researchers, practitioners, and technology and curriculum providers to explore how learning management systems and courseware, as well as student information systems, could help provide teachers and school systems with data to better measure student engagement and learning—both in the short term and in the future—with the goal of better supporting students.

The panel concluded:

  • Learning software and platforms that many districts use already provide a host of data on students’ access to technology, participation in learning, and even aspects of the learning environment. But stand-alone data points are hard to make sense of; most districts lack the data systems and technical capacity to integrate data across multiple sources and software platforms to place specific data points in context. Data on students’ assignment completion rate is more meaningful and actionable when combined with information on students’ prior performance, technology and internet access, and household conditions.
  • To make data accessible and actionable, districts need more consistent routines around data retrieval, analysis, and reporting. Platforms can help districts by surfacing the right data at the right time and presenting it in simple, teacher-friendly dashboards.
  • Technology and education leaders alike have creative ideas about new features and data that would further advance our understanding of students’ engagement in learning. Technology firms are eager to build more functional tools for users but they need both guidance and coordination from the field to build solutions that work for more than a single use in a single school system. Tech providers should codesign such solutions with the ultimate end users: educators and school system leaders.

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