What s The Difference Between an LMS and an LCMS?

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1 What s The Difference Between an LMS and an LCMS? The Important Software Components of Both and The Specific Differences Between the Two By Vantage Path

2 Table Of Contents The Best Learning Management System Defined...2 Learning Management System (LMS)... 8 Components of an LMS Advantages of an LMS Learning Content Management System (LCMS)...13 Differences Central Learning Object Repository Learning Object (LO) The Authoring Tool LMS - Administering Groups and Users The Future of LMS... 28

3 What s an LMS? It s a Learning Management System that administers, tracks, reports, and delivers online training programs. What s an LCMS? It s a Learning Content Management System where multiple users can create, manage, and deliver digital learning content from under one platform. Is one better than the other? Let s take a look at both options and the best way to perhaps combine both for the greatest advantage to your business. How To Choose The Right Course Management Software 1

4 The Best Learning Management System Defined The best Learning Management System (LMS) solution is often defined by the tools and components around it that when taken together form a Learning Content Management System (LCMS). But what s the difference other than one word you may ask? Both terms are so similar that in many cases they are used to talk about the same thing but they are utilized in different ways. Content How To Choose The Right Course Management Software 2

5 Where an LMS manages, organizes, and delivers online training content to learners (managing people) the LCMS expands that system by creating new assets, content, and courses to continually educate learners (managing content). A 2010 study of all LMS/LCMS software from North Carolina Community Colleges found that utilizing both operational components (LMS) and development components (LCMS) resulted in much greater student success. Aspects of these components within the framework of student success were assessed by the following criteria: Interoperability and Flexibility Cost Effectiveness Support and Training Ease of Use Scalability Sustainability How To Choose The Right Course Management Software 3

6 Interoperability: How the LMS integrates with related peripheral applications and services is a critical component for planning future learning technology solutions. Flexibility: The ability to easily move learning content in and out of the LMS and the ability to customize applications to meet specific needs of the system. Cost effectiveness: The total value of return on investment of the LMS to deliver core functionality and usability with consideration of the total financial burden of evaluation; procurement; pilot testing; roll-out; staff and administrator training and support; and coordination of primary (courseware focusing on subject matter), secondary (tool-sets like journal entries, simulation choices, How To Choose The Right Course Management Software 4

7 ancillary material, etc), and tertiary (follow-up methods like webinars, forums, peer discussions, post-assessments, etc.) learning technologies that impact specific learning needs. Secondary Cost Effectiveness Primary Tertiary Support and Training: Support and training enables organizations and businesses to be responsive to emerging technologies which enhance LMS utilization. Continual improvement through training and access to 24/7 support for administrators and students are two contributing factors for ensuring student success. How To Choose The Right Course Management Software 5

8 Ease of Use: Includes development of intuitive platforms 1. requiring a minimum of orientation and training, 2. providing uniform access protocol to multiple applications, and 3. minimizing support and maintenance requirements. Ease of use is a major factor in student success in online education. LMS user support for students, faculty, and administrators must be accessible and intuitive. Scalability: The ability of the LMS to efficiently serve both large and small institutions with agile hardware/software solutions at the macro and micro levels. How To Choose The Right Course Management Software 6

9 Sustainability: The ability to maintain a consistent level of learning infrastructure and support required to: 1. meet the growing enrollment demands of students, 2. meet growing infrastructure needs, and 3. address limitations of funding, faculty training, and support staff now and into the future. How To Choose The Right Course Management Software 7

10 Learning Management System (LMS) A Learning Management System is a strategic software solution for delivering, tracking, recording, and managing all learning events within an organization, including online, virtual classroom, and instructor-led courses. The focus of an LMS is to manage learners, keeping track of their progress and performance across all types of training activities. It performs heavy-duty administrative tasks, such as reporting to Instructors, Managers, Human Resources and other Enterprise Resource Planning systems but isn t generally used to create course content. Delivering Tracking Recording Managing How To Choose The Right Course Management Software 8

11 In our current software-enhanced corporate climate, an LMS is a powerful system for managing online learning by combining online user databases with a framework for managing curriculum, training materials, and evaluation tools. An integrated LMS suite allows any organization to develop online training and learning that is accessible anytime and anywhere, delivered with unprecedented reach and flexibility over desktops, laptops, tablets, and other mobile devices. LMS The LMS has become a powerful tool for consulting companies that specialize in staffing and training, continuing education and training certificate programs, and any corporation looking to get a better grasp on the continuing education of its workforce. Its impact has been felt mostly outside of traditional education institutions, though the same technological and market forces are dramatically changing today s classroom as well. How To Choose The Right Course Management Software 9

12 Components of an LMS There is no standard industry definition or published standard defining the components of an LMS, but several features are common: Creation of class rosters, control over registration processes, and the ability to create waiting lists. curricular content. Upload and management of documents containing Delivery of course content over web-based interfaces, most often allowing remote participation by the instructor or pupil. Creation and publication of course calendars. How To Choose The Right Course Management Software 10

13 LMS systems used in corporate training environments often have additional features that satisfy goals relating to knowledge management and performance evaluation, such as: Automatic enrollment and reminders for mandatory courses. Options for manager access, such as to approve materials or participation. Integration with human resource systems for tracking employment eligibility, performance goals, and similar corporate priorities. Control over access and class groupings according to a number of metrics, such as geography, involvement in a particular project, or levels of security clearance. How To Choose The Right Course Management Software 11

14 Advantages of an LMS Like many information technology innovations from the past few decades, LMS software is able to add a level of efficiency to companies learning systems, with a number of other benefits emerging as well, such as: Easily adapting and reusing materials over time. More choices for creators of curriculum, such as method of delivery, design of materials, and techniques for evaluation. Creating economies of scale that make it less costly for organizations to develop and maintain content for which they used to rely on third parties. Improvements in professional development and evaluation, allowing companies to get more value from human resources while empowering individuals with additional tools for self-improvement. How To Choose The Right Course Management Software 12

15 Learning Content Management System (LCMS) A Learning Content Management System is a multi-user environment where learning developers may create, store, manage, and deliver digital learning content from a central object repository. The components of an LCMS are: A course authoring editor Administration tools A learning object repository A dynamic delivery interface How To Choose The Right Course Management Software 13

16 Differences An LCMS is different than a Learning Management System (LMS). An LMS focuses more on the student. An LCMS focuses more on the learning content. An LMS schedules and registers students for full online and offline courses, launches e-learning courses and tracks a student s progress through a course. An LCMS manages the creation of learning content, manages the personalized delivery of learning content to students and provides more extensive tracking of the student s interaction with learning content. An LCMS manages the creation of learning content... How To Choose The Right Course Management Software 14

17 Primary Users LMS Trainers, instructors, administrators LCMS Courseware developers, project managers Provides primary management of... Learners Learning content Management of classroom, instructor-led training Yes (but not always) No Performance reporting of training results Primary focus Secondary focus Learner collaboration Yes (but not always) Yes Keeping learner profile data Yes No Sharing learner data with an ERP system Yes (but not always) No Event scheduling Yes No Competency mapping - skill gap analysis Yes (but not always) Yes (in some cases) Content creation capabilities No Yes Organizing reusable content No Yes Creation of test questions and test administration Yes (but not always) Yes Dynamic pre-testing and adaptive learning No Yes Workflow tools to manage the content development process Delivery of content by providing navigational controls and learner interface Management of certification status, completion and conditions Customizable in appearance to match corporate communication needs Customizable in functionality to match learning/training requirements Requires purchase of additional hardware, software and/or installation of plug-ins No No No No No Often Yes Yes Rarely Rarely Most start basic, then require purchase of additional capabilities Sometimes How To Choose The Right Course Management Software 15

18 Central Learning Object Repository When we previously discussed the definition of an LCMS we referred to a central object repository. We said that a Learning Content Management System is a multi-user environment where learning developers may create, store, manage, and deliver digital learning content from a central object repository. Learning Objects can be any kind of content for the course from a video, audio, PowerPoint, PDF, screen, module, file, etc. PPT PDF How To Choose The Right Course Management Software 16

19 The Central Learning Object Repository is a database which stores and manages Learning Objects (LOs) that have been created by multiple authors. Learning objects from this repository can be delivered individually to learners or assembled into larger learning objects, modules, or full courses. Rather than developing entire courses and adapting them to multiple audiences, course authors can create reusable content chunks or Learning Objects. These objects can be duplicated following a template design and made available for any of your courses. Template design with a shared library of resources, files, and media eliminates duplicate development efforts and allows for the rapid assembly of customized content. How To Choose The Right Course Management Software 17

20 Learning Object (LO) A learning object has been defined as: Any entity, digital or non-digital, that may be used for learning, education or training Any digital resource that can be reused to support learning Web-based interactive chunks of e-learning designed to explain a stand-alone learning objective A digitized entity which can be used, reused or referenced during technology supported learning The smallest independent instructional experience that contains an objective, a learning activity and an assessment How To Choose The Right Course Management Software 18

21 The objective is the instructional objective, or performance goal that the learning hopes to achieve. The assessment part tests the mastery over the subject matter. In essence a learning object is a self-standing, reusable chunk of information, created to address a specific instructional / learning objective(s). For the purposes of the best LMS/LCMS think of a Learning Object as a package with four components. 1. Keyword and Description Component The name of the Learning Object which can include meta-data (notes). 2. Knowledge Component The container that holds the chunks of information on each page. Each component is authored content that instructs the four types of learner. 3. Testing Component Test questions are scored assessments, used to verify that the learner has acquired the knowledge and/or skills from the knowledge contained in the Learning Object. Test questions are not required but are great at How To Choose The Right Course Management Software 19

22 determining if the user receives a course completion certificate (achieving a minimum course grade). 4. Review Component Review questions are self-assessments or any type of reinforcement of the learning. Review questions are not scored or tracked and simply let the learner practice the newly acquired knowledge and skills. 1 Description 2 Knowledge 3 Testing 4 Review How To Choose The Right Course Management Software 20

23 The Authoring Tool The Authoring Tool makes it possible to create rapid e-learning course content without having a graphic or programming background. Course designers can produce advanced content pages with many of the features of HTML without having to write a single line of code. Novice and experienced learning developers and subject matter experts can create highly interactive and engaging learning content using the best LMS/LCMS s web-distributed Authoring Tool that combines powerful design capabilities with a simple How To Choose The Right Course Management Software 21

24 drag-and-drop interface. The Authoring Tool provides the environment and the tools to easily and quickly create learning content in the form of authored pages. You then add these pages to the LCMS course by inserting them as Knowledge Files to Course Objects, Learning Objects and Reviews. The Authoring Tool can also be a stand-alone software application; in that case you would have to import the courses into the LMS, test them, and enable them to be accessible by users. If the Authoring Tool is launched within the LCMS and it is associated with courses in the LCMS, then it will automatically be available to users. Having the Authoring Tool integrated into the LMS as a component, often marks the best LMS/LCMS for most organizations and users. How To Choose The Right Course Management Software 22

25 LMS - Administering Groups and Users The best LMS/LCMS includes various functions for administering groups and users often organizing them into various tiers of categorization within the LMS/LCMS that can then be tailored to suit your organization s needs. Options include creating user groups, adding students and administrator into those groups and either adding courses to groups and setting their enrollment options, or just directly enrolling students into them. How To Choose The Right Course Management Software 23

26 The structure of any organization is reflected in the way people are divided into groups. Groups and group leaders are referred to in a variety of ways. Before adding new students, it is very useful to change some labels to match those in your organization. This will make it easier to understand the process of managing these groups. The default terms found in the best LMS/LCMS are Container, Sub Container and Group. as School, Department and Class. If you are in a company, you might identify them as Branch, Division and Department. Similarly, the person leading these groups might be If you are in a school, you might want to refer to these referred to as Principal, Department Head and Teacher. Or he or she might be called Branch Manager, Division Head and Instructor. How To Choose The Right Course Management Software 24

27 Container 1 Container 2 Student 5 Course 3 Course 3 Student 14 Subcontainer 1 Subcontainer 1 Group 1 Course 3 Student 1 Student 2 Student 7 Group 2 Course 1 Student 3 Student 4 Course 5 Course 4 Group 1 Course 9 Student 9 Student 1 Student 10 Subcontainer 1 Subcontainer 1 Course 3 Course 1 Group 1 Course 3 Student 7 Student 4 Student 8 Group 1 Course 3 Student 9 Student 12 Group 2 Course 3 Student 11 Student 4 Student 13 The organizational tools provided with the best LMS/LCMS are extremely flexible to permit an abundance of variations. How To Choose The Right Course Management Software 25

28 Containers are the highest level of grouping in the LMS/LCMS and have the following attributes: They contain have smaller sub containers (smaller groups). only one container. They contain courses and students. Every student or administrator must be put in one and Sub Containers are the middle level of grouping in the LCMS and contain groups that often have courses associated within to the entire group, which anyone can access. Groups are the lowest level of grouping in the LCMS and contain trainees and courses. How To Choose The Right Course Management Software 26

29 There are many examples of how you might apply the concepts of Containers, Sub Containers and Groups to an organization or a university. No doubt, every organization will require a solution that is tailored to suit its needs. Consequently, the best LMS/LCMS categories have been designed for the utmost flexibility while still maintaining a low cost. Organization European Operations North American Operations Asian Operations Finance Operations Marketing Administation Web Management Product Management Business Dev. Management Art Department Jack Hanlon Jeff Bridges Maxwell Guy Amanda Majors Jessie Dunn Andre Hall Sean Tyson Mark Cook Julie McKay Catherine Lee How To Choose The Right Course Management Software 27

30 The Future of LMS In the future climate of mobile learning, LMS use is continually evolving into online avenues, especially by incorporating all the regular LMS features with the most useful parts of an LCMS. The result? The best LMS/LCMS that continues to evolve and adapt to new learning challenges and technological capabilities. If you think you only need an LMS because you have content already, or need an LCMS to develop content in a structured form, you may be missing out on the combination of the two. In a global online marketplace for your organization you need both pillars to excel: an authoring tool to create courses and a management tool for classroom management. The best products combine both and without them combined effectively the results can often be disastrous. How To Choose The Right Course Management Software 28

31 We hope you ve enjoyed this e-book as much as we ve enjoyed creating it for you. If these tips for growing your business were helpful you might enjoy viewing some samples from some of the Learning Professionals that have adopted this strategy. Better yet, let us show you how we can help you get the results you want. Visit our vantagepath.com and request a demo today! Or call us at How To Choose The Right Course Management Software 29

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