Institution: La Salle Green Hills
Location: Manila, Philippines
Platform/Products: Open LMS
Number of learners: 4,000
La Salle Green Hills (LSGH) is a private Catholic school in Manila, Philippines, serving 4,000 students. The institution was the first among private schools in the area to return to teaching during lockdown in 2020 by moving all classes fully online via its chosen eLearning platform provider, Open LMS.
The institution had paved the way towards digital transformation during the early 2000s, when it committed to embracing a learner-centric philosophy through the use of technology. By 2009, LSGH took the lead in the country’s basic education community with the use of tablet devices to access digital copies of textbooks. The school was also among the first in the country to start using a learning management system, back in 2014. Its intent was to use a platform to introduce students and parents to the digital world as the new medium of communication and, at the same time, to keep them abreast of the latest advances in technology.
In its efforts to use technology to support the educational needs of stakeholders, LSGH adopted Open LMS in 2018. At that point, teachers used the LMS to manage online resources and tools, such as content and skills-related activities, quizzes, and discussions, as well as generating reports to track learners’ progress.
The Challenge: Delivering Uninterrupted Learning During Lockdown
Most basic educational institutions in the Philippines end the academic year in March. With 10 days left before the end of the academic year, the community’s quarantine lockdown was announced in mid-March 2020 and schools shut down. Under normal circumstances, June would mark the beginning of a new academic year, but schools remained closed and were identified as non-essential.
LSGH needed to quickly pivot all classes online to offer uninterrupted learning to K-12 students through the pandemic. Its main challenges involved the abrupt change to distance learning, changing its teaching and learning approach to accommodate for online, and crafting new policies that accommodated the change to online.
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The Solution: Pivot to Online Learning In a Matter of Weeks
With an LMS in place and some experience with eLearning, LSGH worked actively during April and May 2020 to move all classes fully online and to train staff. With all staff working from home, something that was new for the entire school, the institution held online capacity-building sessions and led its staff to adjust and fine-tune their teaching abilities online.
Re-opening classes during the last week of July 2020, LSGH became the first private school in the area to welcome a new academic year fully remotely. Doing so, the school knew it would be under the scrutiny of stakeholders and would perhaps become the yardstick for other private schools to follow suit.
During this time, LSGH’s need for tech support increased substantially. Beenet and Microsmith (its eLearning partners) committed themselves to support LSGH through the changes.
“Our eLearning partners’ personalized and professional approach has always been a benefit we’ve appreciated. They are also proactive in reaching out to us for any support that we may need”. – Jemelle C. Astronomo, Educational Technology Coordinator, La Salle Green Hills.
The Result: Swift and Successful eLearning Adoption So That Training Can Resume in Record Time
By fully adopting Open LMS, teachers have been able to share course content, administer assignments, post grades, and collaborate with the class in a social environment. Students are able to access course materials, read important announcements, turn in their work, and view their grades. Administrative staff have also been able to track students’ progress and ensure the quality of course materials.
During 2020, LSGH uncovered three major opportunities through eLearning and the pandemic:
- The ability to share quality education at a distance. Currently, the school has a number of students residing outside of the city and even overseas.
- For schools and teachers to gain more respect, appreciation, and support for their important role in society.
- That everyone’s empathy and compassion for one another is needed, especially for the students.
As to its journey towards digital transformation, LSGH has found there’s no exact path for institutions to follow, but it encourages other institutions to learn from each others’ experiences. They also believe it’s important to constantly synergize, value each other’s work, and thrive to work together to achieve collective goals.
“The primary focus this school year was to ensure that all students continued to receive a high-quality learning experience, even from home. Some practices we may continue post-COVID-19 are the use of eLearning platforms such as Open LMS, the utilization of more authentic assessments, and an ongoing pursuit to empower students, teachers, and parents to manage new challenges. Blended learning, being tried and tested, may be used in the coming years”. – Jemelle C. Astronomo, Educational Technology Coordinator, La Salle Green Hills.