Using an LMS to Create Your Own Distance Learning Courses

Using an LMS to Create Your Own Distance Learning Courses

Read Theory, Moby Max, Edmentum, Khan Academy… there are so many published distance learning (DL) platforms that are approved for student proxy hours, but there are also a growing number of DL courses that have been developed locally. These courses are written by Minnesota’s talented ABE teachers and are tailored to the specific needs and interests of their learners and programs. It took a while, but Minnesota Adult Education teachers can again apply for proxy hour approval for these quality, homegrown distance learning courses.

The teacher-created DL course approval process began in May of 2020 but was paused last fall because applications were coming in faster than the small DL Support Services team could review them. As of March 1, we have officially re-opened the application process, and along with it, rolled out a new DL course of our own. This course covers the basics of using a Learning Management System (LMS) to create high-quality DL courses that meet the criteria for proxy hour approval. The course, Using an LMS to Build Teacher-Created Distance Learning Courses, addresses:

  • the basic features of learning management systems;
  • qualities of a good distance learning course;
  • the state’s approval process and how to submit an application that will be approved;
  • how to respect copyright laws; and
  • how to share your LMS-based course with your learners and other ABE teachers.

The course was written in the Moodle LMS and is available on the Literacy Minnesota online training website at (note the new URL!). At the Un-Regional training on March 5, we made the course live in pilot form (teachers will still earn CEUs for the course; it’s just not completely finished yet). During the pilot phase over the next few weeks, we will finish the final unit (Unit 6: Sharing Your Course), collect feedback from participants, and add the finishing touches – at least for now, until the course needs updating again (in the field of education and technology, the only constant is change).

The new online course has all the information, but here are a couple of things to take away if you’re not quite ready to sign up for the course, or just want a little more information about what this is all about.

Teacher-created courses that get approved for proxy hours are:

  • Complete courses (at least 12 lessons and at least 20 hours of student work time, generally) that include instruction, activities and instructor feedback;
  • Aligned to MN ABE content standards;
  • Appropriate for adult learners/cover ABE-eligible content;
  • Made up of materials teachers have created themselves, materials from published resources teachers have curated or a mixture of both.

There are two application forms: one is for teacher-created DL courses that award proxy hours based on unit completion, and the other is for courses that are built on an LMS that has a time-on-task tracking feature.

Here are the relevant instructions and forms:

For all of this information and more, visit the new and improved Distance Learning website: or contact a member of the MN ABE Distance Learning Support Team at [email protected].

And finally, here again is the link for the new online course: Using an LMS to Build Teacher-Created Distance Learning Courses.

We look forward to seeing you there!

Cathy Grady, Assistant Supervisor Hubbs Center - St. Paul ABE