Difference between Content Management System (CMS) and Learning Management System (LMS) - EmployeeConnect HRIS
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Difference between Content Management System (CMS) and Learning Management System (LMS)

With the growing popularity of eLearning as a training medium, a lot of training departments of organisations are trying to educate themselves to understand the fine differences between a Content Management System (CMS) and a Learning Management System (LMS). A lot of people often get confused when it comes to understanding the actual functions of a CMS and an LMS. The reason for this confusion stems from the fact that both these systems are quite similar. For instance, both these systems perform the functions of enrolling learners, communicating with learners, assessing their performances, and activating the learning materials. In fact, both of these systems are progressive and they provide ways to manage various aspects of eLearning content. To understand the differences between the two, first of all let’s understand each of these systems individually.

Content Management System Demystified

A content management system (CMS) is an application that provides a method for managing content from a centralized location. A CMS is designed to support educational courses and it allows the instructor to create a course website, where he or she can upload documents in various formats such as word, power point, and so on without having to convert them to a web format such as HTML. Users can be provided with appropriate permissions to edit, add, and view content. Users with restricted access can only view the content. CMS is quite helpful in managing versions of a document and centralizing all aspects of the course at one single place. Trainers understand and are familiar with situations when multiple users made changes to a document and it was discovered only after publishing the course that at least one round of changes didn’t make it through to the final version of the course, which is not at all great. A content management system is quite competent to prevent these kinds of version control issues, so that everything is transparent. It keeps a track of who made changes and when, and the documents are stored at one centralized location.


Learning Management System Demystified

A Learning Management System (LMS) is a software application which is much more robust than a CMS. An LMS plans, delivers, and manages all the learning needs of an organization. Using an LMS you can make courses available, manage enrolments, check learner eligibility, develop reminders of class schedules, record course completion, develop tests, communicate the completion of the course to the learner’s manager and generate follow-up correspondence to the learner. It also provides a platform to manage blended learning which includes conventional classroom learning and online learning. Unlike CMS which is more version control oriented, LMS is more of a training control system. An LMS can function as a repository of eLearning courses and track the learning progress and maintain a track of scores that the learners receive on completing the assessments. Additionally, an LMS facilitates administrators or trainers to prepare reports, design assignments, and send reminders to learners from one central location.


Distinction between CMS and LMS

While both these applications have their own place and importance in an organization, the differences between the two are significant in their core functionality. From a student’s or learner’s perspective a CMS is more of a passive application which they can use to simply view documents. On the other hand an LMS facilitates learners with the ability to view, listen, and interact with the courseware. It provides learners with options to try examples, complete assessments, and provide evaluation or feedback on courses.

Most LMS enable facilitate managers to upload online training material created by different authoring tools, as long as the content is compliant with SCORM, which is the industry standard file format. An LMS facilitates organizations to assign training to their employees, track their participation, and generate reports pertaining to employee training activity and results. In certain sectors where companies are legally obligated to provide compliance or safety training to its employees, an LMS is an essential tool as it helps to keep track of the company’s compliance.

Content management systems on the other hand create the framework in which the training content is stored and displayed on a website. A CMS manages various forms of content, as well as different file formats, images, audio files, and many more.CMS facilitates distributors to decide which content can be displayed privately or publicly. Some of the common content management systems which are used to create all kinds of websites include Drupal and WordPress.

At the end of the day, you need to understand that you have the ability to manage and deliver content on all both these management systems. While both these systems have a lot of similarities, they ultimately have different functions and it is up to you to take your pick based on your requirement.

Byron Conway

Content Coordinator at EmployeeConnect