Recently, I wrote an article featured in CompetencyWorks! exalting the importance of Learning Relationship Management (LRM) in the implementation of competency-based education (CBE) among other strategies like professional development and the re-drafting of educators from a traditional role as classroom teacher to one of facilitator & supporter in an experiential and personalized context. The feedback I received from many was essentially, “Great article, but…what the heck is LRM?”
Well, okay—please allow me to get extremely nerdy for a minute.
A Learning Relationship Management (LRM) system is an adaptable platform that mitigates and alleviates the seemingly insurmountable obstacles encountered on the way to becoming competency-based and more student centered.
All right, so, what is LRM?
If you are teaching in a school, learning in a school, or the parent of children learning in schools, you are most likely aware of the recent move to more “student-centered learning.” As a best practice in education, we look for ways to incorporate student voice and empower students to be the captains of their learning. As a means of combating dropout rates and creating a more engaging learning environment, student-centered learning enables learners to chose their own path, discover their passions and spread their wings and fly. The challenge inherent in student-centered learning is the management of 30-120 individual learning paths, by one teacher, per semester. If we meet students where they are and create an environment that allows them to acquire the skills that they need to be successful in school and college and career ready, we need a tool that allows teachers and students to communicate and manage the individual progression towards the student’s learning goal.
Learning Relationship Management ensures that students are accountable for their learning and that educators are able to design educational experiences that are truly personalized to the student’s’ unique needs. LRM also provides a means of tracking student data effectively for educators to analyze and utilize the results to drive the next chapter of student learning. The end result is incorporation of more personalized and more meaningful learning based on individual student needs.
LRM’s integral component is relationship management. Relationships are the key to student success and growth. Many, myself included, would argue that relationships are of paramount importance in all aspects of life. Thanks to the years of mandated high-stakes testing in education, we are experiencing a greater need for this re-connectivity between teacher and learner and ultimately re-connecting the learner to learning. Thanks to advances in technology, this connection can be transparent and inclusive of all stakeholders (parents, guidance counselors, school administration, etc.) in the learning continuum.
Based on the success of Customer Relationship Management (CRM) in the business world, students assume the role of the customer, each with individual needs that educators can address through platform technology that allows different systems to be built upon and utilized to track student progress. This includes the incorporation of the SIS (student information system – you know you want those emergency update calls from your child’s principal) and are generally required in K-12 for state reporting and accountability. In addition to the SIS, functional schools also require a fully involved LMS (Learning Management System) that “portals” students, parents and teachers to a storehouse of data used to measure student success. But if you are not living in a portal, you are probably missing important updates and may not be aware of problems until they are too late.
Learning Relationship Management takes connectivity to the next level and is student-interest driven and managed. LRM also allows educators to do what they have always done, but with real-time feedback that allows educators to truly meet diverse student needs where they are and administer recovery or acceleration depending on individual needs. Student-interest driven social connections will encourage peer relationships through accessibility to extracurricular activities, clubs and events. LRM effectively makes learning student-centered through whole child, measurable data which enables early intervention, continuous support and fosters the ultimate goal of student success in school and beyond.