Reviews of eLearning Platforms, Tools & Software For Academic Institutions
On the last page, we told you about our personal favorite products, after all our evaluation, for eLearning programs for teachers and coaches. In this next guide, we have summarized our favorite eLearning platforms for universities, academia, and teachers.
Here are our favorites:
|eLearning Platform||Our Ranking||Rating||Ease of Use||Ease of Content Creation||Student Engagement||Cost/Pricing||Read Review||Visit Website|
|HARD||4.5||5||FREE||Read Full Review||Test Moodle For Free|
|MEDIUM||4||4.5||CUSTOM/PRICEY||Read Full Review||Test BlackBoard For Free|
|MEDIUM||3.5||4||CUSTOM/PRICEY||Read Full Review||Test Kenexa For Free|
|MEDIUM||3||3.5||$399-$1095||Read Full Review||Test DigitalChalk For Free|
|HARD||2.5||3||MONTHLY $85-1200||Read Full Review||Test eFront LMS For Free|
Obviously, there are many ways in which to evaluate an eLearning program or platform. For us, when evaluating the eLearning platforms for universities and other forms of academia, there were a few additional criteria.
The most important criteria was complete functionality. It is assumed, when dealing with academia, that the instructors and others who will be using the product will constantly put effort and skill into learning how to use a program for eLearning, by themselves or with help of someone else. Ease of use was the primary deciding factor when we evaluated eLearning platforms for teachers and coaches. For academia, however, we believe that complete functionality in every aspect, even if it takes slightly longer to learn, is worth the extra effort on everyone’s part.
Of course, the products are still ranked for ease of use. No matter how complete the functionality of a product is, it must still be useable to be any good to anyone at all.
We tested for complete functionality specifically set for higher education institutions. We feel confident that most of these programs could, and probably should, be used in all kinds of academic institutions. Colleges, community colleges, trade schools, research institutions, and training facilities are all institutions of higher learning that could drastically profit from introducing a great eLearning software package.
We tested each product thoroughly. When testing each product, we looked primarily at the completeness and ease of use of each of these products. We went through each course, looking at video, audio, text, and web sources available. Not only did we try each one, but we specifically tried each one looking for maximum functionality in an academic context.
From our review chart, you can see we had some reviews in which we believed strongly, and others that were simply “fine.” We didn’t try any products that we felt were unusable or poorly put-together; the ones at the top are simply the cream of the crop. The ones closer to the bottom simply didn’t measure up to the others.
While we did list pricing as an option, we do strongly feel that a good eLearning platform is worth spending extra on, as long as you can be certain that you’re getting the best product for your money. If there’s one area in which you don’t want to skimp, it’s on the educational systems we use to train the minds of tomorrow.
Another thing we tested for is maximum student engagement in academic context.
The best eLearning platform in the world won’t do much good if the students don’t want to use it. The entire point of eLearning is to make certain everyone is engaged and ready to learn at any time, as well as making certain that the software is easy to use and that there are no errors in the reporting of the lessons.
Students are notoriously disengaged from class. Whether it is an issue of attention span, of life crises, or of simply getting too little sleep the night before, every college teacher knows this. They go to great lengths to attempt to engage the students, varying lesson plans and trying to engage each individual student. Sometimes, this works well. Other times, it can backfire.
When using an eLearning platform, it’s important to make certain that the learning isn’t too difficult, or too obtuse for a student to grasp. If you attempt to use even a great learning platform and all of your students are asleep, you’ll have a terrible experience with it, no matter how good the platform might be under different circumstances. According to numerous online publications and newspapers from the Royal Purple News to the Daily Warrior to the Miami Hurricane, the primary reason that students prefer and choose online learning options revolves around flexibility and the ability to work at their own pace.
That’s why in our table, we not only rate for ease of use and pricing, but also for student engagement. It’s extremely important to have good student engagement when teaching, whether with traditional materials or with newer, exciting eLearning tools.
By making sure students are engaged and know what they’re doing, the ease of eLearning tool use will keep going up. It also helps to prevent the heightened dropout rate of 50 – 70 % for most online classes.