Assignments are an essential part of the evaluation process. They are also one of the most time-consuming tasks for teachers. Creating different types of assignments takes time and patience. You have to think about each class and tailor the content, instructions, and requirements based on their level. Afterward, you have to invest at least twice as much time checking and grading your students’ work.
Isn’t there an easier way to do all these, speed up the evaluation process and save time grading papers? The answer is yes and the solution comes in the form of a learning management system (LMS). Learn what different types of assignments these e-learning tools support and how they can ease your work and help you save time.
Why use the different types of assignments you can find in an LMS?
LMSs offer plenty of choices when it comes to student evaluation. In fact, one of the main reasons why you would use an LMS in the first place is that it makes evaluation easy through automation and helps you save time, whether you’re teaching remotely, face-to-face or using a hybrid model. There’s a wide range of LMS features that help you:
- Assign different projects, tasks, and challenges;
- Automatically evaluate students via different types of assignments;
- Get results in real-time with zero grading effort;
- Generate result reports to track student progress;
- Make sure students are on track to achieve their learning goals.
Let’s focus on the types of assignments LMSs offer and how they can benefit you and your students.
How to use LMS assignments?
Teachers from all backgrounds can learn how to use LMS assignments fast and with minimum technical skills. Most platforms offer guides and tutorials on this topic, which comes down to a few clicks.
Adding a new assignment in an LMS usually involves the following simple steps:
- Go to the assignments section in the LMS;
- Open the list of assignment options;
- Select the type that interests you;
- Enter a name for the assignment;
- Add the instructions students should follow to complete it;
- Configure your assignment (e.g. choose the number of attempts for a quiz, add a rubric, add competencies);
- Save your changes to create the assignment.
Once the assignment is created, you can start using it to test your students’ knowledge. You can use the same assignment over and over again. You can also import or copy-paste content to save time creating written assignments.
As students start completing their assignments, you will simply have to check their progress on the platform. Assignments such as quizzes are automatically graded based on your data input (the answers you marked as correct when creating the assignment).
What types of assignments can you create with an LMS?
The types of assignments in school teachers usually create are perfectly mirrored in most modern LMSs. For example, maybe you rely heavily on essays. These types of writing assignments are available in a more user-friendly format if you use an LMS and students can submit them as soon as they are done. There’s no need to use an email or print and hand them in.
Some platforms offer more than a dozen different types of assignments. To make the most of these features, you should go through all the available options in your LMS. Afterward, you’ll know which assignments suit your teaching methodology and your students’ needs and you can only focus on those.
Here is a list of the most common types of LMS assignments you can come across:
Quizzes are the quickest way to assess student knowledge. They can be graded automatically as long as you also add the correct answers when creating a quiz. Of course, you can also add freeform questions where students need to provide more input and you have to check each answer individually.
Quizzes take little time to set up. You can manually add questions and answers or import existing questions from your LMS database, if available. There are different types of questions an LMS typically offers:
- True or false – students can choose between answers A or B;
- Multiple choice – questions with one or several correct answers;
- Fill in the blank – students have to type in one or more words;
- Freeform – students have to write lengthier answers and can add attachments such as a Word file, an image or a video/audio file;
- Matching – teachers create matching patterns between items; students have to find the corresponding items;
- Arithmetic – these include mathematical operations; students have to provide the results.
Here’s a student view of a quiz:
Quizzes are a quick and convenient way to evaluate student knowledge.
They also enable students to self-evaluate their skills. Once they're done with a lesson, they can take the quiz at the end. If the score is below expectations, they can resume parts of that lesson they didn't fully understand. Quizzes are some of the most important types of assignments used in teaching because they are short, they usually take a few minutes, easy to complete with little instructions and easy to check and grade, especially in an LMS.
Essays are larger freeform assignments. Students can use the HTML editor and start writing their essays. Teachers will automatically see the most recently submitted assignments and can check and grade them. The whole experience is more practical as you don't need to carry around and take home dozens of papers or check your email constantly.
Digital essays are among the assignments students find most engaging. These types of writing assignments also boost their tech skills. Working on digital essays is similar to writing and posting in WordPress, for example. Moreover, students can also add attachments to essay assignments such as PowerPoint presentations or Word documents.
Students can use the HTML editor to write an essay or upload a document.
3. Offline assignments
These are the traditional ways to evaluate students. For example, you can ask students to read an essay or book, which is a task they complete offline at their own pace. Then, once the students finish the task, they can mark it as complete. You can evaluate them in the classroom through a Socratic seminar, oral or paper-based test. Afterward, come back to the LMS to enter the results to have a centralized view of your students' grades and progress.
Offline assignments are a convenient way to track everything you do in the classroom in a centralized location.
You can easily configure surveys in an LMS once you know what information you want to get from your students. Using surveys to ask for student feedback is a great way to constantly improve your teaching methods and get closer to your students
In an LMS, you can use surveys with multiple answers where students will simply have to check the answers that suit them. You can also create freeform surveys where students have to provide written feedback.
Surveys are great for evaluation and student feedback.
Read more: 8 Ways surveys help school leaders make better decisions
These are fun assignments your students will probably love. Discussions mimic the online experience they enjoy while engaging in group conversations on online forums, public chats and social media.
LMSs allow you to create discussion threads on different topics. Once the thread is open, all the students that make part of a group you authorize for that discussion can post comments. You can supervise and actively moderate the discussion and assign points or even grade students based on their participation.
Discussions are great for student engagement and social learning.
6. Team assignments
Team assignments are exactly what their name suggests – tasks you assign to a group of students instead of each individual. These are among the assignment types you should be aware of if you teach college students. College life is the bridge between school and work. It must prepare students for their careers and equip them with future-ready skills.
With these types of assignments, you can encourage student collaboration in the classroom and not only. Students can collaborate on these tasks outside the formal teaching environment, at their own pace, with the help of the LMS.
When creating a team assignment, you also set up a group on the platform. Each team will have a dedicated group where only that team's members can participate in discussions and share resources. Teachers have access to all the groups. Each group will represent the team's virtual workspace. Here, they can chat on a public thread, share resources, attachments, ideas and keep each other updated on the projects' development.
After the project is completed, students can submit it online via the platform. They can upload one or more files for their submission and use different file formats, including PDFs, videos, images and Word documents.
Team assignments allow you to grade each team's collective effort.
Debates are great for social learning. They are engaging and promote group cohesion and teamwork in the classroom. Moreover, debates boost students’ critical thinking skills at an individual level.
When setting up a debate assignment in an LMS, you provide a proposition. Based on your proposition and any other indications you might want to add, students have to offer for and against arguments.
Students will add their arguments in writing. This is a convenient solution for remote university programs. You could bring together different groups of students that normally have different schedules and don’t attend the same classes.
Debate assignments allow students to add for and against arguments.
Read more: 7 Outside of the box ideas for teaching students who don’t like writing
8. Google assignments
If you use this LMS feature, you also need to use several other tools and accounts that integrate with Google. These assignments require you and your students to have a Google email account.
There are several elements you can use while configuring a Google assignment:
- Maximum score;
- Grading scale;
- Maximum number of attempts;
- Start date and due date.
You will also need to provide specific instructions for each type of assignment. When students complete these assignments, they do it via the Google Assignments site. This is also where teachers are directed to check and grade student work. However, the grades are instantly added to the LMS as well. Also, the Google assignments site can be accessed directly from the LMS, so there is no back and forth, the whole process is streamlined.
Google assignments are an excellent way to assess students in a fast, quiz-style way. If you already use other Google tools in your school, that will make it easy to create and submit these assignments.
9. H5P assignments
H5P learning resources and assignments are also available via LMSs. The H5P feature allows you to create engaging content and embed additional resources such as videos. Configuring H5P assignments is similar to working on other LMS assignments such as quizzes. You can personalize them with different scores, grading scales, choose the number of attempts for each assignment, etc. To launch these assignments, students only have to click on a “play” button and follow your instructions.
Bonus: Other handy tools for assessing students via an LMS
Besides the most common types of LMS assignments, these systems also feature other useful assessment tools, such as:
- Attendance assignments
These are correlated to points students can get based on their participation in classroom activities. The LMS allows you to register different attendance-related insights such as:
- The time of arrival in the classroom;
- If they left earlier;
- The times when they were excused;
- How many classes they didn’t attend.
All these details matter and you can quantify and transform them into extra points to award for participation.
- SCORM assignments
SCORM stands for Sharable Content Object Reference Model. If an assignment meets the SCORM standard in the LMS industry, it means users can share it on any platform. Any type of assignment on your LMS can be a SCORM assignment. You can fetch data from quizzes, for example.
SCORM assignments work like third-party content you create with different other tools, for example, Adobe Captivate or PowerPoint. Then, you can import the assignment on the LMS as a Zip file. SCORM allows you to create more interactive, animated content and upload it on the platform.
This is a helpful tool you can use for writing assignments. It allows you to check essays for plagiarism. The tool also verifies if the citations students included in their work are correct. This cloud-based service allows you to compare their texts against a rich internet database.
It also helps you grade their work and ask for peer review. Turnitin offers originality reports to see how much effort students have put into creating authentic, well-documented essays.
Unicheck is another plagiarism tool you can rely on to compare your students’ work against a live web index. Unicheck only needs a few seconds to check a text for plagiarism. It also works with several documents simultaneously.
More precisely, you can run five essays at a time through this plagiarism detection tool. The results are easily displayed, and you can use almost any type of text format with this tool.
Read more: Building a culture of academic integrity in a remote learning environment
LTI stands for Learning Tools Interoperability. This feature allows you to integrate other learning tools with the LMS when you teach and assess students. For example, you can create engaging video-based assignments with the LTI feature. You can also use LTI to create customized assignments for your students.
LMSs offer teachers a quick and easy way to assess and grade students. These systems eliminate time-consuming and tedious paper grading tasks. Once an assignment is created, you can use it repeatedly. You can choose from various assignments that grab students' attention and are fun to complete, such as quizzes, debates, surveys, or team assignments.
Some automated assignments make results available immediately after students submit their work. This allows them to quickly understand their competency level and put in more effort to improve, if necessary. Teachers also get a quick centralized overview of their students' results and can easily export them as reports or apply grade changes.
All in all, LMSs offer different types of assignments that make evaluation quick, engaging and easy both for students and teachers.