Last updated: 28.01.19

What is the difference between an LMS and a CMS

What is e-learning?

Whether you’re an entry-level employee, a senior manager or a member of HR, it’s likely that you’ll be aware of the growing trend for e-learning. This of course means that training can be taken online, remotely, without the need to be physically present in a classroom with a tutor. It’s a hugely beneficial tool for building skills and knowledge. As part of this, you might have heard of the terms LMS and CMS. These are two important terms when it comes to online learning, and it’s easy to be confused between the two. In this article, we’re going to briefly cover what each of the terms means, and how they differ.

What is an LMS?

LMS stands for learning management system, and in many ways these pieces of software bring a revolution in the way that training can be delivered within an organisation. Designed as a one-stop shop for all elements of training, and the management of that training, they’re versatile and powerful online applications. Sometimes they’ll be browser based, sometimes computer software, and of course mobile applications are available too.

The most frequently encountered function of an LMS will be as the platform through which training is delivered. Rather than physically be in a classroom with a tutor, or use paperwork, learners can sit down at a computer, and take whatever training course they need, all through the LMS. The great thing about this system is that training modules can often be designed to work with multiple LMS systems, and it’s quick and easy to introduce a new course. An LMS also allows courses to be interactive, comprehensive and ultimately highly effective.

The benefits of an LMS don’t end there, however. In larger organisations in particular, it’s very important that managers and HR have a good oversight of the current training situation. Especially when it comes to issues of compliance, it’s imperative that everyone has the right training scheduled. An LMS allows managers to see the training needs and levels of employees, and can even track within individual courses to see progress. This ensures nothing gets missed and can help tutors identify where learners need help.

What is a CMS?

CMS stands for Content Management System. This is actually a term that you’ll find in many other areas of work, for example a CMS is often needed when building and running a website. A CMS is a system that allows users to create and operate different types of content, so when it comes to training, the CMS is generally the application that allows training providers to create a course. If, for example, a governing body created a new set of rules for a new type of training that certain employees must undergo, training providers would use this information to create a course in a CMS. This includes everything from information, to the interactive functionality, to tests and more. This course could then be used with an LMS.

To conclude, an LMS and CMS are two sides of the same coin. The learning management system is used by the end customer or end user, and the CMS is used by those who create and deliver the product, which in this case is a training course. It’s worth noting also that a CMS can sometimes be called an LCMS, which means Learning Content Management System, and that this can either be the same as a CMS, or an all-in-one platform that does both. To find out more about the online training software that we use here at Virtual College, click here to read about Enable.

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