Published On: Wed, Apr 1st, 2015

The Difference Between Learning Management System and Learning Content Management System

E-learning has made things a lot easier for organizations, providing not only a less expensive option but giving a system that is a lot more flexible when compared to traditional classroom training arrangements. Although the traditional methods have their own importance and privileges with the face-to-face interactions and the irreplaceable human touch, latest technology is able to create e-learning systems that are highly engaging, fun, participatory and relevant.

With the increasing use of e-learning systems or a combination of both, e-learning and traditional ways used together, choosing the right system that complements an organization’s environment has become extremely crucial for system effectiveness and cost efficiency. Larger enterprises not only look for an e-learning system that delivers and tracks courses, but also make it possible to integrate the performance measurements and development proposals.

A smaller enterprise will not have the same learning system requirements a large enterprise might have. A proper criterion is set and the e-learning system is chosen accordingly. Let’s discuss the two main e-learning systems that are currently used worldwide, Learning Management System (LMS) and Learning Management Content System (LMCS). Confusing the two can be dangerous and lead to considerable inefficiencies across an enterprise.

A Learning Management System is a software application that is usually web based and is used to give training to learners or to carry out online courses along with keeping track of the users’ performance and progress across every type of training activity provided. An LMS is made to track, develop, administer and document the training content and learning programs.

Most of the LMSs require importing data built outside the system using appropriate e-learning development software application. You usually have to pay a monthly subscription fee or make payments according to the active training participant. Similarly, it is also possible an LMS requires only a one time licensing fee with annual fees for technical support and software update. An LMS is not used for making different course contents.

A Learning Management Content System on the other hand, is a software application that is content centric and can be used to create course content. LMS related software technology is used by authors, developers and experts to create, manage, reuse, store, and provide e-learning experience originating from a central object repository. It usually requires fewer resources and saves time when it comes to course development.

With LCMS, course management becomes considerably easier. Rather than re-creating another course from scratch, it allows you to modify and publish courses according to the users’ needs while maintaining previous versions. Hence the main difference between the two e-learning systems is that LMS does not allow its user to manipulate or create new courses. It is unable to use reuse the data of one course to make another one, while the opposite is true for LMCS.

LMSC is a complementary system to an LMS. It works together with learning management systems to deliver and develop course content. Despite this major difference, LMS is often used for both LMS and LMCS. For an organization to choose between the two systems, it needs to be clear about its various requirements. The organization should choose a system according to the amount of training content that needs to be developed and delivered. If extensive content is required then LMCS will be a better choice.
Similarly, it is also important to consider the training and development duration. If an organization wants a long term training and development commitment, LMS may seem a better fit today. However, it would be wiser to choose LMCS as the LMCS as it requires fewer resources.

It is important that an organization distinguishes LMS and LMCS as two separate e-learning systems. This will help them deploy software application that best suits its needs.

About the Author

- Kamy Anderson is an eLearning advocate who has a passion for writing on innovative and emerging technologies in the areas of corporate training and education. He has years of experience working with eLearning authoring tools and learning management systems; and is an expert when it comes to developing and implementing LMS Best Practices. With his background in learning pedagogy, higher education and virtual learning, Kamy is an ed-tech enthusiast who likes nothing better than to explore and write on technology and learning trends.