If you are confused about the differences between an LMS which stands for learning management system and an LCMS i.e. learning content management system, relax - you are not alone. Not only do their names sound similar, but they are also often mistakenly used interchangeably, thereby making it tricky to differentiate them.
But what’s the reality? This article aims to clarify that in detail.
The truth is that both LMS and LCMS are complementary to each other, but they are very different systems that serve different classes of business and solve unique business challenges, which leads us to the next "big" question : what exactly differentiates LMS from LCMS?
And to answer that question and solve all of your probable doubts regarding LMS vs LCMS, let’s dig deep into the nitty gritties of both the systems and figure out the best digital learning platform among the two, that will meet the needs of your modern learners and will also take your existing learning program to the next level.
A learning management system (LMS) is basically an eLearning software that is designed to help you develop, deliver, & track educational courses and training programmes for your corporate and academic learners. An LMS also provides you with a set of robust tools for automated learning administration, learning content management, and even learning assessment management, thereby improving your business’s overall learning experience.
Source : Research.com
 LMS stores eLearning content in a centralized location rather than on multiple hard disks or devices, thereby reducing the risk of data loss significantly. Additionally, with a custom built cloud-based LMS, you can let each and every member of your eLearning team access the information whenever they want as it's all stored on a remote server, resulting in improved collaboration - no delay, no interruption & no chance of data inconsistencies.
 LMS enables 24X7 access from multiple devices like tablets, desktop and mobile phones, and hence provides learning flexibility and unlimited access to eLearning materials. Thus with an LMS, even those on-the-go can access the eLearning platform from whichever device they are using, allowing them to develop & enhance their skills without having to wait or worry of missing out on the next pre-scheduled learning session.
 LMS allows you to track each learner's progress and performance to ensure that they are meeting their performance goals within the estimated time, as well as provides them with additional resources to improve their performance or learning practices. Furthermore, LMS also offers each learner with a personalized learning path, which increases learner engagement and enables effective absorption of the lessons.
 LMS also allows you to eliminate instructor travel costs, online training site rentals, printed eLearning materials, and establishment costs alike, and save significantly on your overall L & D budget.
Also read : Why Technology is Important in Education?
A learning content management system (LCMS) on the other hand is a multi-user administrative, authoring, and delivery platform that allows you to host, schedule, manage learning content, as well as assess, evaluate, and track eLearning activities. Additionally, you can even use LCMS to create course materials and virtual classrooms where your learners can learn, communicate, and access learning materials.
Source : Statista
 LCMS provides you with customizable content design templates, making it easier for you learners to learn content creation rapidly.
 LCMS also offers you with discussion boards, chat, email, and push notifications to ensure that everyone is on the same page, resulting in more efficient collaboration.
 LCMS has significant advantages in foreign markets around the world, especially for multi-brand corporations, as it not only provides centralized updates and worldwide distribution, but it also opens up language translation opportunities and supports multiple languages, enabling global usage.
 LCMS has provision for intelligent template creation that auto-populates in real-time when users search for relevant keywords and resources. Not only that, it also enables users to convert existing materials to different formats such as pdfs or png, thereby improving user experience.
LMS and LCMS are two of the most popular types of software in the eLearning industry, impacting the education of thousands of learners and focusing on organizing & managing educational course design. However, in order to determine which software will best meet your business’s needs, it’s highly important to first understand both the similarities and differences between the two.
So, here's a closer look :
|Point Of Comparison||LMS||LCMS|
|Target users||Training managers, corporate & academic learners, instructors, administrators||Content developers, instructional designers|
|Provides Primary Management Of||Learner performance, learning requirements, learning & planning programs||Learning content|
|Result Monitoring & Tracking||Yes||Yes|
|Management Of Traditional Form Of Training||Yes
|Encourages Learner Collaboration||Yes||Yes|
|Event Planning & Scheduling||Yes||No|
|Provides Skill Gap Analysis||Yes||No|
|Provides Workflow Tools For Content Management||No||Yes|
|Allows Content Creation||No||Yes|
|Arranging Reusable Content||No||Yes|
|Supports Integration With Other Systems like ERP||Yes||No|
|Pre-Screening & Adaptive Learning
||Primary Focus||Secondary Focus|
The simple answer is that it is entirely dependent on your eLearning requirements and your budget. In some cases, you might require the best of both platforms to handle different elements across your eLearning development process.
For example, an LCMS will assist you in creating personalized eLearning experiences, whereas an LMS will assist you in deploying and tracking the effectiveness of those experiences. However, if you have to choose one, it all comes down to your intended use, as neither LMS nor LCMS can be a one-size-fits-all solution.
Thus in order to choose the “right” tool for you business, there are an array of factors that play crucial role - here goes the top 3 :
Needs are the most powerful driving force & I can’t stress enough on that. To pick the right eLearning platform for your business, the zeroth step is to identify your needs up-close and set a clear goal in mind. For setting a realistic & effective L&D goal, ask the following questions to yourself for starters :
Answering these questions will help you better understand your learner personas and provide an overview of the outcomes you should expect from your education program.
This step is basically reverse mapping the intended outcomes with what functionalities are best capable of resulting in those. So once you've determined your learning objectives and target audience, it's time to consider which features you think should be included in your eLearning system. And, to begin, make a list of the technical requirements that your eLearning platform should indeed meet. This will help you find the best solution.
And, if determining the features becomes difficult for you, you can sort them into three categories :
The must-have group should always include the highest priority features, and the rest will be arranged accordingly, making it easier to determine your technical requirements.
Finding it difficult to pick and choose the right feature set for your needs?
Now that you’ve defined the features of your platform, it’s time to conduct a thorough market research and see which eLearning platforms are ‘in’ & here to stay going by their offerings & performance review by contemporary businesses using them.
Here’s how you can get a clear picture of the eLearning market :
However, to discuss the comprehensive list of factors and their impact on your ideal software,
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Now that you have most of the information on LMS vs LCMS, it’s time to put your plan into action and develop an eLearning solution that will facilitate the knowledge of your team and improve your overall business.
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