Almost every organization offers courses to students, staff or lifelong learners via their chosen Learning Management System. This article shows how you can improve engagement and results by embedding immersive multimedia experiences directly in your LMS.
What is ThingLink?
ThingLink is an award-winning education and media technology solution that makes it easy to augment images, videos, virtual tours and 3D objects with additional information and links. Over 8 million educators, students and digital content professionals use ThingLink for creating engaging & accessible learning experiences in the cloud. ThingLink is an innovator in the field of interactive media, being the first company to launch a technical solution for embeddable rich media images (2011) and an easy-to-use virtual tour creator for schools and businesses (2016).
How does ThingLink work with an LMS?
Embedding ThingLink images, videos or virtual tours to an LMS is as easy as embedding a YouTube video to an LMS. An interactive image, video or a virtual tour (a “thinglink”) can be shared publicly or privately. They can be embedded just by copy pasting an embed code to a website or an LMS.
Sharing content securely
ThingLink provides an essential function for Single Sign On (SSO) with your LMS using Learning Technology Interoperability (LTI). This means content can be shared seamlessly and securely within your organization. For example, if your thinglink is shared privately using Folders, only people in your team or organization can access it. The access rights will carry on to your LMS: only learners that are signed into your LMS and who have been given access rights in ThingLink can view the content shared with them. This feature of ThingLink is exclusively for academic or elearning organization types of accounts.
Four ideas for making learning more engaging and fun in your LMS
1. Start strong: Create an interactive guide for course introductions and learning pathways
Understanding course concepts, goals and learning pathways is essential for motivation and engagement. This example from the ThingLink Team shows an introduction or ‘learning pathway’ as an interactive guide at the beginning of the course to help learners visualise the steps and progress they will make through the course. See the video below that brings a flowchart to life with ThingLink. This example is embedded in Claned.
Why is this experience better than plain text or video? It gives a visual summary of a broader context, a clearer picture of expectations, an increased social presence in the form of video helps learners to connect with the course and the tutors.
2. Create opportunities for skills development with collaborative learning designs
Courses delivered remotely on an LMS can still present opportunities for group work irrespective of distance. With the right tools they provide a very real scenario for future work conditions. Learners can collaborate in real-time on interactive multimedia presentations adding their own culturally and contextually relevant videos and audio descriptions.
Educator Daren White’s thinglink presented here in Moodle shows an activity where learners in small groups can conduct self- paced research and add links, video and audio to a water cycle diagram. The base image is a GIF with motion graphics. Each learner has their own part of the cycle to research, add to the shared thinglink, and then present to each other during a live call.
3. Test knowledge in the real environment using quizzes and online tests in a virtual tour
Interactive tests and quizzes can be a way to test knowledge at the end of the course, and with a little creativity help create memorable experiences. Or, they can provide a way to try out theories in a context, again assisting the learning process. Embedding quizzes and questions into an immersive experience such as a virtual tour, and bringing it all to an LMS helps to structure the workflow, completing one activity before progressing to another.
Educator Daren White’s thinglink presented here is embedded in Canvas to help learners understand interactions in a retail setting with simple questions. This example uses ThingLink’s new conditional transitions feature where the correct answer must be selected to move to the next scene in the thinglink with an explanation. The virtual tour is shared publicly and embedded in Canvas, which makes it accessible to students without signing in.
4 Create context-based scenarios for fun exploration and personalized learning
Another key facet of successful elearning design is using content which is up to date, both in terms of relevance, diversity and the conditions of today’s society. Learning in authentic local environments resonates with the learners and creates moments of insight and connection.
In this example for the medical profession, Dr Abhilasha Jones leading the course has created an up- to-date scenario of a patient visit in a 360 Image, case study here. Students from a range of medical disciplines can explore the patient’s room to formulate a hypothesis of the situation.
How is this better than sharing photos of the patient’s room?
A 360 image gives medical students an opportunity to visit the patient’s room virtually and explore finer details. This is an invaluable activity as it is important to see the room as a whole to be able to peice together the clues and understand patient’s situation. It is also possible for students from different disciplines to make observations and discuss them together on an LMS platform. This makes the overall learning experience in an LMS more engaging and impactful. The thinglink here is embedded in Thinkific as an example.
Ways for connecting your LMS with ThingLink
Using LTI to enable Single Sign-On
ThingLink’s LTI app allows teachers & students to sign into ThingLink directly from their LMS with a single click by clicking on the ThingLink app button in the LMS. If the user does not have a ThingLink account yet, the app will create a new one using the credentials from the LMS and connect them to the school account, see example below:
Please see the link here to learn more about setting up the LTI integration for your LMS, as well as information about how to setup LTI with specific learning management systems such as Canvas and Moodle.
Instructions for embedding ThingLinks into commonly used LMS platforms: Moodle, Canvas, Microsoft Teams and Google Classroom
- Instructions ThingLink and Moodle
- Instructions ThingLink and Canvas
- Instructions ThingLink and Microsoft Teams
- Instructions ThingLink and Google Classroom
Do you want to learn more about how to connect ThingLink with your LMS?
Contact our education team or support! Email email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org