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What Is a Learning Management System?

What Is a Learning Management System?

Before the internet, people would share ideas and obtain knowledge through verbal communication. Great Greek philosophers like Socrates and Aristotle were known for setting the foundation for higher thinking by establishing the first institutions dedicated to learning. As depicted in “The School of Athens” by Raphael, systems of learning originally relied on meetings and verbal communication among like-minded thinkers.

These days, we have access to amazing technologies that allow us to teach, learn and communicate with just a touch to our smartphone screen. The development of online learning tools has also helped to speed up the process of training in business settings.

What Is a Learning Management System?

A learning management system (or LMS) is a software application used to train new employees while automating administration tasks, providing learning tools and personalizing user content based on business needs. Larger companies will find learning management systems especially useful to establish a more dynamic and automated training process for new hires.

Learning management systems don’t solely serve businesses; they can also be implemented into educational establishments. However, educational LMS programs differ from their enterprise counterparts in several ways.

Educational vs Enterprise LMS

When it comes to educational LMS, the main focus is to inspire and engage students who are learning a new subject. Like any school course, an LMS can provide education in general subjects such as math, history, literature and so on.

Conversely, enterprise LMS tools are concerned with training employees and focusing e-learning on business needs. The system trains new employees in specific tasks and skills that they will have to perform in their position or department.

[Photo courtesy of Flickr.]

Advantages of LMS

One advantage of implementing an LMS into your business is that the software produces fast results. Large corporations want their new employees ready to perform their duties as soon as possible to save time and money. Learning management systems are readily becoming available on mobile devices for convenient learning on the go, so that your employees and new hires are kept up to date on everything there is to know about the business.

In addition, you can create your LMS to teach your employees new skills that make them more versatile to the company. This, in turn, benefits the organization as each of your employees will be trained to handle different types of situations, problems and tasks.

Key Features of LMS

    • Content Management

Learning management systems tend to get confused with Learning Content Management Systems (or LCMS), which are two different software platforms. The main difference between the two is that an LCMS lets you create your own e-learning content, while an LMS has the e-learning content built into the system already. An easy way to distinguish between the two abbreviations is to have the C stand for “create” in LCMS.

Now, content management is an important feature to have in an LMS platform because it provides a simple format in which to organize all of your courses, course files, registrations and enrollment information. The vendors who provide LMS software understand the need for organization in the education industry, which is why many of the platforms are built with a solid infrastructure. In addition, some LMS vendors offer content creation tools as a bonus feature to give institutions the ability to add new information on existing subjects as well as create new subjects.

    • Online Courses

Web-based teaching programs are a necessary feature for LMS, since these online courses are the backbone of e-learning. With this feature you can train your employees in any area of expertise related to your business.

    • Admin Tools

Having administration tools makes it convenient for your staff to create and manage data and information, from course catalogs to user accounts. Not to mention that technical support can be found within most administration tools and dashboards.

    • Certification Programs

Certification programs offer a great benefit to your employees, as they can help with academic credits toward undergraduate degrees, continuing education units or professional certification programs. Not only will certification courses create high-quality employees, but they will also sharpen the professional skills of your workforce.

    • Reporting and Analytics

Analytics are a must if you want to track the progress of the programs as well as the trainees. Reporting comes in handy when you want to measure the success of the courses and programs. Having both metrics will help give you insight into which skills your staff is knowledgeable in and can come in handy when making decisions for the company.

Trending Features of LMS

    • Mobile Learning

With the rise of smartphones and tablets, it’s no surprise that learning on the go is a rising feature, enabling employees to access their classes or learning sessions anywhere with an internet connection. This means they can take the classes at home, review lessons on their time off or even prepare for projects by reviewing material from previous sessions.

    • Social Learning Tools

There are many kinds of media that your company can use to teach your staff: videos, web seminars, live chats, etc. The possibilities are boundless, especially with social media channels like Twitter and Facebook being integrated with learning management software platforms. Some vendors use the most popular features of these social media sites by integrating “Liking” posts, hashtags and blog posting.


To Wrap Up

Learning management systems are useful for training new employees through the use of a centralized e-learning system. They come in handy for large corporations to speed-train new employees in order to save time and money. Enterprises find value in learning management system software because it produces highly-trained employees, fast results and can be accessed on mobile devices for e-learning on the go.

Check out our post reviewing the best LMS tools for more information on the top learning management software for your business.

[Photo courtesy of Flickr.]

Chad Yee

Content Marketing & Social Media Associate @, What Is a Learning Management System?