What is a Learning Management System (LMS)?

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What is a Learning Management System (LMS)?

Learning Management System (LMS)

In an increasingly digital world, almost every facet of everyday life has been digitized, including education. Now that learning is increasingly becoming technologically dependent, having a learning management system (LMS) will prove to be beneficial for educators and learners alike. Though it immediately brings to mind learning institutions like schools, LMS can also be integrated into the corporate setting.

Scholarly articles define a learning management system as a “software used for delivering, tracking and managing training/information.” It is also described as a “high solution package that allows for the delivery and administration of content and resources to all students and employees.” As a platform for eLearning, it enables the “management, monitoring student, delivery, tracking of learning, testing, communication, registration process and scheduling.”

Though LMS comes in different forms, its core methods involve the management of users, role and course information; online communication; grading; and web-based delivery of content. An effective LMS must centralize and automate administration, use self-service and self-guided services, assemble and deliver learning content rapidly, consolidate training initiatives on a scalable web-based platform, support portability and standards, personalize content and enable knowledge reuse.

How is it different from LCMS or TMS?

More often than not, LMS is often confused with learning content management systems (LCMS) and talent management systems (TMS). The confusion among these three terms are understandably warranted, given the continuous growth of the industry.

An LCMS is a software that merely builds and manages eLearning content. Unlike an LMS, it lacks the features to deliver these content and track the progress of learners. However, as systems grow more sophisticated, almost all LMS are becoming LCMS as well. Modern LMS have integrated the features of traditional LCMS in terms of content creation and management.

TMS, on the other hand, focuses on the so-called “four pillars” of talent management: recruitment, performance management, learning and compensation management. In this vein, an LMS is actually a part of the TMS, along with other applications that deal with employee recruitment, development and retention.

What are the key features of a Learning Management System (LMS)?

Learning management systems basically provide a vast repository for storing and tracking information, but its role will ultimately depend on the needs and desired outcomes of an organization. Though there are multitudes of learning management systems in the market today, they all have these fundamental features:

  • Systems with Multichannel Access allow learners to access their account and course materials through desktop, tablet and smartphones.
  • With the Course Management, Creation or Importing feature, administrators can either build courses through a built-in course builder or import materials from other formats.
  • The Document Management feature lets the administrator upload and manage curricular content.
  • These systems also come with Course Calendars, which creates and publishes course schedules, deadlines and tests.
  • Social features such as notifications, messaging and discussion forums give learners a platform for knowledge sharing and engagement.
  • It also comes with a detailed Tracking and Reporting feature to allow both administrators and learners to view their test scores.
  • A thorough Assessment will gauge a learner’s knowledge level to assign the suitable content, which will also be supported by a digital or physical Certification.

Using an LMS is very much like how lessons in a typical classroom would go. First, the administrator will curate the learning content, including slides, bite-sized documentation, quizzes and certifications. Learners will then have access to these materials by logging into their own accounts. Once they have absorbed the content, they will then take the quizzes or tests that will enable them to achieve a particular certification.

Learning management systems in the corporate setting have additional features specifically designed for their staff:

  • Most corporate LMS are cloud-based, which makes them easier and faster to scale;
  • Specific learner groups can also have access to personalized learning paths or documentation based on their roles and experience;
  • Typical corporate LMS can also be integrated with other eLearning software, communication platforms and customer relationship management; and
  • Performance goals, course completions and employment eligibility can be tracked.

How can a Learning Management System (LMS) share data?

Before an LMS can exchange data with other eLearning software, it must first comply with industry standards. One such standard is the Sharable Content Object Reference Model (SCORM), which provides interoperability and portability to an eLearning course. Interoperability is defined as the ability to communicate with other SCORM-related course, while portability is described as the capability to be ported to various LMSs.

Tin Cap API, on the other hand, tracks and records all learning experiences that occur through any device. This standard is considered to be a successor to SCORM, as the latter merely tracks learning on laptops or desktops. Apart from its ability to track most learning activities, Tin Can API can also track responsive learning efficiently.

Aviation Industry Computer-Based Training Committee (AICC) is another standard that, though similar to SCORM, allows a particular course to communicate information in the HTTP format. While this standard can produce valuable technical data related to tracking a learner’s progress, the AICC format hasn’t been able to keep up with the latest technologies.

Finally, Learning Tools Interoperability (LTI), a standard introduced by the IMS Global Learning Consortium, prescribes a way to integrate rich learning applications, particularly remotely-hosted apps, with learning management systems. This is to enable a seamless and secure connection to web-based applications.

What are the benefits of a Learning Management System (LMS)?

As mentioned earlier, learning management systems can be used in both academic and corporate settings. These systems provide a centralized source for training, performance and development content, which users can access at any given time.

By having a single repository for all learning activities, organizations can effectively manage the learning experience while reducing costs. Educators are also empowered to prepare and present quality educational materials for course participants. Since learning management systems can track courses and scores, any management can identify areas that need improvement among their learners.

Learners, on the other hand, can have access to an eLearning environment at any time, and can go through the course at their own pace. The most effective learning management systems are easy to use, thereby simplifying the learning process for the users. More importantly, these systems provide different learning paths for individual learners based on their learning goals and duties. This allows them to have a more personalized learning experience, which then improves learner satisfaction, memory retention and engagement.

By having a learning management system in place, organizations can provide a platform for better learning opportunities, whether in an academic or corporate setting. It must be said, though, that achieving the desired outcomes will ultimately depend on the learning management system an organization integrates. Leaders and educators, then, have the responsibility to adopt one that will meet their needs.

ADEC Innovations offers a feature-rich learning management system for modern learners. Learn more about our LMS today!