LMS or LCMS, choose the best system for your organisation
Choosing Between Learning Management System (LMS) and Learning Content Management System (LCMS)
When it comes to choosing the best learning tool or the best content management solution, decision-makers are facing difficulties making the right choice.
When facing such a choice, managers have to consider foremost the organisation needs, but also keep in mind the main purpose the system will be used for: content creation, content distribution and management, performance analytics, compatibility, compliance training, etc.
In general, any organisation can implement and use both systems at the same time because they complete each other. LMS and LCMS can easily run in parallel, with only some functions overlapping, such as hosting, delivering content, being SCORM-compatible.
Although each platform serves a specific purpose, differentiating between the two becomes a question of knowing precisely the purpose each serves. LMS is usually learner-centred, whereas LCMS supports single-sourced content management, therefore they are author-centred.
It is therefore crucial to understand the meaning and purpose of LMS and LCMS. As their names suggest, LMS focuses mainly on learning workflow, while LCMS on content management.
The main purpose of the LMS is to track, report, and analyse users/group progress of the predefined training programme. That’s why the reporting feature is a key asset of the system. The published and updated content is managed outside the LMS, as the system is primarily used for content delivery and performance administration.
The system measures competencies and drafts progress curves, registers learning events, and ultimately suggests improvement strategies for formal training. LMS is not a content repository tool, but a learning event log system. This is probably the key feature differentiating LMS from LCMS.
The content management system supports the entire process from content creation to delivery lifecycle through authoring, styling, collaboration, publishing, performance parameters measuring, etc.
As content plays the most important role in LCMS, the author and content manager are the most important actors. All LCMS have an engine dedicated to collaboration and content synchronisation, allowing multiple input channels and many authors working on content at the same time.
Prefer an LMS over a LCMS when:
Tracking and reporting learners’ progress
Analysing groups’ performance
Content is managed by another system
Targeting formal learning
The content is already created
Prefer a LCMS over an LMS when:
Content is centralised and single-sourced
There are many authors working on the same content (supporting cloud-based authoring)
The content has to be distributed in different forms to different audiences
Content needs to be translated or/and localised
The training output has to be interactive
To conclude, if you’re looking for features that are more about content management, like content delivery or performance administration, then you should choose LMS because reporting is at its core. On the other hand, choose an LCMS if you’re looking for features articulated around content creation.
With that said, you can use both systems to get best results and ensure optimum content delivery and tracking.