What Is the Difference Between Learning Management Systems & Course Management Systems?
With eLearning becoming increasingly common in academic and professional settings, it’s no surprise that today’s organizations are seeking out the best software options. Though both are similar and useful, there are some important differences between learning management systems (LMS) and course management systems (CMS). Here’s a quick overview so you can make an informed decision.
Course Management System
A course management system is a version of a learning management system that only has the essentials. A CMS is simply a platform and set of tools that allows an educator to create and post eLearning content. Lacking the added elements that define learning management systems, a CMS usually only offers two basic features: content management application (CMA) and content delivery application (CDA).
Learning Management System
A paid or free learning management system does everything that a course management system does, but has many added features to encourage user engagement. A good LMS administrates, documents, and tracks it’s users as well as facilitates the use of multimedia, including the ability to incorporate videos, text, and other files. Learning management systems have learning standards such as SCORM that allow for accurate tracking and reporting. Many learning management systems also include gamification, certification, and other customization features.
The Approach Right for Your Organization
Unless your organization has a very specific and narrow vision for your eLearning project, a learning management system is the best choice. A learning management system can also act as a course management system, but it allows plenty of room for customization and expansion. Unlike a CMS, an LMS is versatile, flexible, and most importantly, scalable.
There are several important differences that divide content management systems and learning management systems. Below is a list of what each system offers:
- Allows the instructor to create content that can be uploaded in common formats such as Word or PowerPoint, without having to rely on complex languages such as HTML.
- Makes it possible for the instructor to teach the learner using quizzes, tests, and gradebooks.
- A CMS allows correspondence between courses via discussion boards and announcements.
- Learners can store assignments, presentations, and notes on the CMS.
In addition to the aforementioned features offered by a CMS, an LMS also provides the following capabilities that are missing in CMS formulation.
- Multimedia incorporation
- Participation tracking
- In-depth discussions and communication
- Course scheduling
- Certification and accreditation
- Cloud-based storage and access
- Social media integration
Do Your Research
According to Forbes, 33% of America’s 21 million enrolled students are taking some or all of their instruction online. eLearning is currently an indispensable tool and now is the time to incorporate it into your training strategies.
Of course, not all course management systems or learning management systems are the same. Spend some time researching your options so you can choose a platform that works best for your organization.
Try Before You Buy
Some learning management system software companies offer free online demos or trials; a great way to to test which system is best for you. If you’re considering implementing eLearning, a learning management system is going to provide the most performance, not a CMS. Make sure your eLearning project launches successfully by using the latest LMS technology.
Rohit Bhargava, an SEO expert at Coalition Technologies, has been actively involved in SEO and Online Marketing industry for over 5 years from website audit, link building, social media and search engine optimization. He is passionate for his work and finds innovative ways of providing excellent results for his clients. When he is not busy with work, he is a freelance writer who has had his work published across many digital news outlets. Connect with Rohit on Google+ and Facebook.