In the spring of 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic took the world by storm. Businesses were shuttered, offices sent employees to work from home, and schools rapidly moved their focus towards online learning.
Before the pandemic, many industries were already undergoing a digital transformation and leveraging technology to keep people connected from home, but the realities of COVID-19 have sped up this transition—and the effect has been more dramatic in certain industries.
Particularly in education, where the ability to give in-person instruction for K-12 schools became practically impossible in the span of just a few short weeks in March 2020, the push to move classes online wasn’t just an option, it became a requirement. As a result of this rapid shift, many educational institutions have turned to Learning Management Systems (LMSs) to enable remote, online learning.
Blackboard, one of the most widely-used LMSs by educational institutions in the US (and a user of TinyMCE!) has been front and center in witnessing this digital transformation. In an infographic released last year, they noted that between August and September of 2020, students and educators logged record-breaking use of their EdTech solutions, with a 9,000% increase in the use of virtual classrooms year-over-year.
Data like this highlights the trend of the rapidly increasing use of LMSs. While it’s easy to get caught up in the narrative of how COVID has driven this rapid transition, it’s also important to look closely at how students and teachers are using this technology, and focus on ways to improve the user experience.
Online content creation is a core function of e-learning for both students and educators
An online-first learning experience changes the way teachers give assignments to students, as well as how students submit their completed work. Gone are the days of paper handouts and quizzes filled in with pen or pencil—essays and reports are more likely to be written online and exams proctored via the web. The focus on digital education means the platform they’re using to actually do the work needs to meet a long list of requirements for both the student and teacher.
For teachers, it’s important to have the ability to clearly communicate the requirements of an assignment online—with all the usual text, images, formatting, and styling they would use to create a paper handout in an in-person setting. The rich text editor that’s built into your LMS should include features that enable this, but there should also be a focus on accessibility, to account for students with disabilities.
For students, the LMS should be easy to use and enable creativity within their work. Even if they’re using a more traditional word processing software to write a report or essay, it’s important to make it easy for students and educators to seamlessly transfer content into the online rich-text editor within their LMS to turn in their work.
Features like TinyMCE’s PowerPaste helps to ensure any assignments created in Microsoft Word can make their way into the LMS without losing formatting and creating extra work for the student.
In today’s modern world, where students and teachers alike live, work, and play online, they may want to embed videos or media about certain topics into their work. TinyMCE’s Enhanced Media Embed feature enables them to easily embed YouTube videos, Slideshare slides, Spotify audio and more with live previews to bring reports to life without having to deal with messy embed code.
What about group assignments? In today’s environment, it’s difficult for students to meet up in-person to work. TinyMCE’s collaboration tools make working together easier than ever. TinyMCE’s Comments and Mentions features allow content to be reviewed and enable nested conversations, and Real-time Collaboration (currently in beta) enables students to edit content together in real-time.
The power of WYSIWYG editors in LMS
A WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) rich text editor is a core component of most LMS systems, and it’s the most practical authoring tool for online learning. But, not all rich text editors are created equal.
An excellent WYSIWYG editor can enable a much better learning experience for students that use an LMS, but creating an editor from scratch that includes advanced features can be a monumental task. Both new and established LMS companies will have to make a decision about developing this tool in-house or using a third-party solution—and the considerations for that decision should go well beyond the initial design or upgrade phase.
There are pros and cons of going either way, but if you choose to build your WYSIWYG editor in-house, you’ll have to put IT and developer resources towards maintaining and upgrading the tool over time. Even after the initial deployment, if faculty request new features or upgrades, it will just put additional strain on your existing resources to make those improvements a reality.
Alternatively, by using a popular WYSIWYG text editor like TinyMCE, you’re simply injecting code into your existing LMS to open up a world of possibilities. The deployment of advanced features becomes less a question of “do we have the developer resources to do this?” to a more exciting “what are we waiting for!?”
How TinyMCE can help your LMS
There’s no denying COVID-19 has dramatically accelerated the adoption and use of LMSs, and it’s important to ensure you’re staying competitive in a quickly-evolving industry. Even once the pandemic has run its course, online learning is likely here to stay.
There are many rich text editing solutions out there, and while some LMS companies might prioritize price over features, it’s important to keep your end-users in mind when making a decision.
Even if price is an issue, the open-source version of TinyMCE is always free to use, and you can decide to add premium plugins and features down the road to ensure you’re giving students and teachers the best possible online content creation experience.
TinyMCE offers a range of standard and premium plugins that can help elevate the rich text editor in your LMS. Feel free to give our full-featured WYSIWYG editor demo a try to see it for yourself, and check out our related post on How a great WYSIWYG editor can take your LMS to the next level, which highlights the most popular features for LMS.
As an LMS business, you have the power to set teachers and students on the path to success in online learning environments, and we wish you all the best in creating an ideal experience that users can get excited about.
Contact us today to learn more about TinyMCE and how it helps LMS users create next-level content online.