LMS vs. LCMS Solutions – A Feature Comparison

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Today most K-12, higher-ed and corporate training environments incorporate either a Learning Management System (LMS) or Learning Content Management System (LCMS) in order to enhance the student, employee, trainer or teacher’s eLearning experience. On the surface, how do you know the functional differences between a LMS and LCMS solution?

apples to oranges

The main objective of an LMS is organization, specifically with online courses or training; while the fundamentals skills of an LCMS creating, storing, reusing, managing and distributing large amounts of digital content in an organized fashion. Although there are vast differences between an LMS and LCMS, many LMS solutions can include some features found in today’s LCMS.

LMS vs. LCMS

As noted above, LMS typically organizes, retrieves and distributes online courses or training materials for students. One feature that many students and teachers utilize is the ability to track and maintain their progress and performance within numerous classroom activities.

LCMS’s can provide a virtual space for students to engage with one another (including live chat rooms, web-conferences), and also allows for teachers and students to author and reuse content (mutated learning objects, or MLOs). LCMS’s are able to be independently run stand-alone or run in conjunction with a current LMS.

Even though LMS and LCMS systems have different capabilities, they generally address these basic eLearning requirements:

LMS High Level Functionality

  • Basic Student Registration and Administration
  • Training Event Management (i.e., scheduling, and tracking)
  • Curriculum and Certification Management
  • Skills and Competencies Management
  • Student and Classroom Reporting
  • Training Record Management
  • Courseware Authoring

LCMS High Level Functionality

  • Template-driven, Collaborative Content Development
  • Facilitated Content Management (version control and distribution)
  • Publishing
  • Workflow Integration
  • Automated Interface with a LMS

Both LMS and LCMS solutions are available in a cloud hosted setting so you can focus on training and education and not worry about infrastructure or support. Research indicates that the next generation of LMS/LCMS solutions will focus on how to manage learning over an extended period of time – work and academic – to create adaptive learning models and store records from multiple sources as an individual moves on from college to career.

The market and competitive landscape for LMS and LCMS is huge. It is estimated that $1.9 billion will be spent globally on LMS in 2013 alone. (IBIS Capital, 2013)  Given the projected growth, it is only a matter of time before your company or educational institution will be implementing a new, or replacing an existing, LMS or LCMS solution to support your training and education goals.

Looking for Learning Management System software? Check out Capterra's list of the best Learning Management System software solutions.

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About the Author

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Chris Kiminas

Chris Kiminas, Sr. VP of Marketing and Sales for AMVONET, specializes in creating, directing, and implementing sales and marketing programs for a variety of companies including technology, consulting, and business service firms. During the past 30 years, Chris has held senior sales and marketing management positions with Xerox, Automatic Data Processing (ADP), Goal Systems, and Retail Planning Associates (RPA). He also has extensive experience with new venture-funded companies where he served in key entrepreneurial sales and marketing start-up roles. As a co-founder and partner of BizLogx, a sales and marketing consultancy, he focused on implementing sales, marketing, and technology programs to create high performing sales teams. Prior to joining AMVONET, Chris was vice president of sales and marketing worldwide at Astute Solutions, a B2C SaaS CRM solution located in Columbus, Ohio. He has a BBA with a focus on marketing from Cleveland State University.

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