In part one of this guide, we discussed the value of an experiential and clinical learning management system within an institution. Now, let’s explore the distinction between a traditional learning management system (LMS) and an experiential and clinical learning management system. Additionally, discover the top eight crucial factors you should carefully consider when evaluating a system for your program or institution.
What’s the difference between an experiential and clinical learning management system and a learning management system?
An experiential and clinical learning management system and an enterprise learning management system (LMS) are both software solutions that support learning and educational activities. However, they differ in their focus and functionality. Here are the key differences between the two:
Integrations & extensions:
- Experiential and clinical learning management system: These solutions may integrate with other educational systems, such as a university's learning management system (LMS), student information systems, or career services platforms. Integration with these systems keeps fidelity for data exchange, efficient workflows, and comprehensive student records.
- Learning management system: LMS solutions often offer extensive integration capabilities with third-party tools and content providers to enrich the learning experience. They may integrate with video conferencing platforms, content authoring tools, learning analytics systems, and more.
Some learning management systems may include features to support experiential learning. However, dedicated experiential and clinical management systems like CORE and others cater to the unique needs and requirements of managing experiential learning activities.
Eight factors to consider when evaluating experiential and clinical learning management systems:
When choosing an experiential and clinical learning management system, education institutions should consider several factors to ensure the system aligns with their unique needs and goals. Every institution will have different factors for its program(s). Generally speaking, however, there are features to consider and weigh when you choose the best system for your program or university.
- Alignment with institutional goals: The system should align with the university's mission, vision, and strategic goals for experiential learning. The system must support the specific types of experiential learning activities offered and help to achieve desired learning outcomes, or else it won’t be widely adopted and you will find yourself looking for an alternative or supplementary solution in no time.
- Scalability and flexibility: Look for a system designed to scale to accommodate the size and growth of the university's experiential learning programs. As programs mature and increase enrollment, they will need a system to grow with them. The key here is finding a system that allows customization and adaptation to meet your unique needs of different disciplines and programs - and the inevitable changes over time.
- User-friendly interface: An intuitive and user-friendly interface is essential for effective adoption and usage by students, faculty, and administrators. The system also must promote engagement and efficient management of experiential learning activities. Failure to do either of these will result in non-adoption.
- Robust tracking and assessment: The system should provide detailed tracking capabilities to monitor student progress, hours, and activities during experiential learning engagements. You’ll also benefit from tools to streamline assessment and evaluation processes. This allows for an easy collection of meaningful feedback on student performance.
- Integration and interoperability: Ask if the system can integrate with existing university systems, such as the learning management system (LMS), student information systems, and authentication systems. Seamless data exchange and interoperability can streamline workflows and enhance the user experience.
- Data security and privacy: Ensure that the vendor adheres to robust data security and privacy standards. There are benefits to partnering with software providers specializing in higher education; for example, the vendor will be familiar with compliance regulations and have a system to protect sensitive student information. SOC2 is another vital standard to ensure your ELMS solution conforms to. It’s an increasingly important requirement that gives strict guidelines around the collection and processing integrity of sensitive data, such as student information, and plays an important role in vendor management. Check if your ELMS provider has or is in the process of getting SOC2 certification; otherwise, you may find they don’t meet your internal privacy and security requirements.
- Training and Support: Evaluate the level of training and ongoing support provided by the vendor. Adequate training resources, user documentation, and responsive customer support can facilitate the successful implementation and usage of the system. We know first-hand that institutions require more than onboarding support. Responsive and hands-on support teams can make your programs operate with ease and reduce downtime during instances of change and department growth.
- Cost-Effectiveness: Consider the overall cost of implementing and maintaining the system, including licensing fees, implementation costs, support fees, and any potential customization or integration expenses. Are there add-on features to consider down the road, or is the system all-inclusive? Evaluate the value provided by the system in relation to the institution's budget and resource allocation.
Still need more information on experiential and clinical learning management systems?
At this point, you should be ready to start talking to vendors about their unique systems. CORE Higher Education Group provides exceptional customer support, a simple and intuitive learning experience, and ample scalability to meet your university’s unique needs.
It’s no wonder why nearly 200 colleges and universities trust CORE with their programs. Want to see more about CORE’s solution offerings? See our Solutions and how they address many of the key programs for Nursing, Occupational Therapy, and the like.
CORE Higher Ed Team