Not a proper learning management system
April 18, 2021

Not a proper learning management system

H. P. Molloy | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 2 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
Review Source

Overall Satisfaction with Google Classroom

When the COVID-19 crisis began, one of the institutions I work with began using Google Classroom in lieu of a dedicated learning management system. It is being used in at least one of the colleges at a university, but I do not know if it has spread to every college. It is being used in every department. The business problem [it] was chosen to address was the problem of conducting educational activities remotely: neither students nor faculty have been able to go to campus(es) freely, and so all educational activities need to be conducted remotely. Many of the users, both students and professors, are neither technically sophisticated nor experienced with using computerized devices in ways beyond email, popular Web applications, and some Microsoft Office products.
The Google Classroom system is now in its second year of use, and the problems manifested in the first year continue in the second. However, it is not clear whether those problems are inherent in Google Classroom or are products of administrative decisions.
The lone problem it addresses is allowing all people involved in education here to communicate asynchronously with a relatively shallow learning curve, although it currently functions only as a stopgap and cannot function as a long-term solution.
  • The system is relatively easy to begin with.
  • It is integrated with Google Drive and Google Docs, which makes recycling relatively easy.
  • It is platform-independent.
  • It is relatively speedy.
  • Tests and quizzes (in my experience) are primitive and do not allow modern testing techniques involving IRT.
  • Recycling of materials is, at best, counterintuitive.
  • Formation of subgroups is difficult.
  • Familiarity of Google interfaces.
  • Off-site computing.
  • Off-site storage.
  • It takes less effort to maintain than a real learning management system.
  • Unless strict controls of numbers of submissions are imposed, homework management becomes difficult for groups of more than 4 or 5.
  • The integrated mailing system is primitive.
Google Classroom was chosen unilaterally for one of my places of work, although I had checked Google Classroom when it was first released and decided against it for my own company owing to its poor reporting and other controls.
Provided one has the servers to use it and an administrator to run it, Moodle is superior in nearly every respect, particularly security, testing, and analytics.

Do you think Google Classroom delivers good value for the price?

Yes

Are you happy with Google Classroom's feature set?

No

Did Google Classroom live up to sales and marketing promises?

No

Did implementation of Google Classroom go as expected?

I wasn't involved with the implementation phase

Would you buy Google Classroom again?

No

Google Classroom is well suited for organizations without extensive computer infrastructure, as most of the storage and organization is handled in the Google system.
In the system I am experienced with (as an instructor and an observing administrator), student users have too much control over their own accounts, so that it is sometimes not clear who particular students are or, indeed, if they are supposed to be in the class or not. For schools and internal training programs in which the identity of participants is known beforehand, almost any other learning management system would be a better choice.
For simple sharing of documents, primitive tests, and collecting information from and distributing information to people, Google Classroom is adequate.

Google Classroom Feature Ratings

Course authoring
2
Course catalog or library
3
Player/Portal
5
Learning content
3
Mobile friendly
7
Progress tracking & certifications
1
Assignments
3
Learning administration
2
Learning reporting & analytics
2
Social learning
4

Using Google Classroom

2000 - Administrators, instructors, and students use the system. I have experience in the administrator and instructor roles. As a rule, I turn students in the system away from Google Classroom after an initial class and steer them to Moodle, which is better suited for instruction and affords more privacy and security than does Google Classroom. However, I have used Google Classroom as an administrator only rarely. It is possible it could be set up more securely.
5 - Basic computer skills and the ability to inform users of basic usage are the only skills required to use Google Classroom.
  • Remote learning as a substitute for traditional in-person learning.
  • Instructor and staff training.
  • Document repository.
  • Administrators are able to control some information for instructors without the instructors' knowledge.
  • Students have made multiple accounts, inflating enrollment.
  • Users are able to set interfaces to different languages.
  • Locked student accounts.
  • Materials distribution.
  • Asynchronous meetings.
Testing is particularly important in online learning, and Google Classroom falls far short of other learning management systems in this regard. Security is also a concern: while account control is reasonable for the account used with Google Classroom, the person controlling a particular account is often able to, for example, forward or download proprietary materials.

Evaluating Google Classroom and Competitors

  • Price
  • Product Features
  • Product Usability
  • Product Reputation
These are the factors I used to evaluate Google Classroom. I found Google Classroom in only one case in which I was not acting professionally.
I would conduct a thorough review of administrative controls. Google Classroom is attractive because of its being in the cloud and having controls familiar to many people, but in my experience is not a substitute for a real learning management system. I would select most other learning management systems instead of Google Classroom.

Google Classroom Implementation

In my particular case, no input was sought from end users before implementation.
  • I was not privy to implementation phases.

Google Classroom Support

Google Classroom support resembles other Google support inasmuch as it is only skeletal.
ProsCons
None
Slow Resolution
Poor followup
Problems left unsolved
Not kept informed
Difficult to get immediate help
Need to explain problems multiple times
Slow Initial Response
I was not involved in the purchase decision.
Yes - It was not.
I am unable to describe any time, as I have never got any support from Google for Google Classroom.

Using Google Classroom

Many of the Google services Google Classroom depends on are familiar to many users.
ProsCons
Familiar
Do not like to use
Unnecessarily complex
Difficult to use
Not well integrated
Inconsistent
Slow to learn
Cumbersome
  • The invitation system would be easy to use in some circumstances.
  • Integration with other Google products is useful.
  • The multiplicity of interface languages is useful.
  • Reuse of Google Forms, the basis for tests, is cumbersome and counterintuitive.
  • Attendance management is difficult because of the control users can have over their names.
  • Testing, particularly with automated scoring beyond simple multiple choice, seems impossible.