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LCMS vs. LMS: What is the Difference?

LCMS vs. LMS – although acronyms are almost identical, one letter makes a big difference. I don’t think these terms should confuse you, but some extra new knowledge never hurts. 

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Imagine you’re an employee in a big company and want to take a course in any subject of your interest. What can make your learning process less complicated and more exciting? What can help you store all the training courses, manage your progress, get reports of your results, and communicate easily with instructors?

And another scenario. Trainee takes a test to check their knowledge of automotive basics. Soon, the results of the testing come up. What platform can offer the trainee appropriate training corresponding to the level of complexity? Considering many notions, rules, and resources related to the automotive area, what can help the trainee understand what they need to improve?

Now, what term to choose for each of these scenarios? After reading this article, I bet you’ll know and won’t be in doubt anymore.

Google shows many search requests on LMS and LCMS, their features, differences, and benefits. Each article differs, covering different subquestions. Today, we’ll provide detailed responses to help you clearly understand what you need for your business. We’ll focus on each term, explain the requirements for their usage, and make a connection.

What is an LCMS?

LCMS, a learning content management system, offers a collaborative environment for those involved in content creation. They’re educators, content authors, administrators, managers, and designers. LCMS refers to the web-based space, allowing managing the development of educational material. The value of this platform is its functions enabling the managers to regulate content effectively by using built-in resources, templates, and other tools. The LCMS report contains creation, editing, quality assessment, and development standards. With this system, you get detailed analytics, including the time learners spent in the module, used devices, the visited pages, and how they answered specific questions. Well, if shortly, LCMS is a beneficial tool for helping with authoring and delivering the content to analyze the effectiveness and relevance of the content. 

Requirements of Learning Content Management System

Requirements of Learning Content Management System

We’ve defined the term, and now the question is, what is a well-developed LCMS?

So, here is a list of must-have requirements for an efficient LCMS:

№1 Smart and friendly interface

You may think this requirement is obvious, but it may be neglected. The market is full of different platforms covering many needs, and developers who work with each strive to make them different. It doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be original and think over implementing new things others lack. You should. But it’s best to ensure those new integrations are well-matched with your users’ preferences. A sound system is easy to navigate and manage. If the users understand how it works from the start, from making changes to adding features, then consider you’ve attracted the user.

№2 Data tracking

The feature is not less required. In a good LCMS, it’s necessary to have the chance to pull data easily and analyze learners’ and employees’ activity. Data tracking is beneficial in many ways. You can run different reports and track progress, gaps, and completion rates to improve the content and thus orient to learners’ needs. With data tracking, you can identify what areas the learners are best in and determine their needs for additional training. 

№3 Centralized content management

Centralization prevents content duplication and maintenance problems. Content in one location brings benefits for authors and those responsible for this. It allows them to create, store and monitor material faster and more efficiently. The search option isn’t new to us. But the authors can search diverse content from specific modules to a table in a paragraph. LCMS vs LMS provides detailed data, like where content is used, content lifecycle, author of a particular part of content, modified date, integrated changes, and more.

№4 Reusability and publishing

Learning content management systems use XML language, making content dynamic and exciting. With the system’s flexibility, the content creators publish and share content from one source to another without the need to recreate content for different outputs. Content outputs like PDF, SCORM eLearning, PowerPoint, HTML5, and Microsoft Word are consistent and accurate. 

№5 Separation of content and presentation

The themes of the system allow separating the content from its presentation. Using the templates, the content creators find it helpful to make a consistent structure and properly formatted content.

№6 Translation

The translation is a good approach for scalability. XLIFF allows localizing content to help authors quickly send the content for translation and import it back. With LCMS, we can also separate text from images to share it with translation vendors to manage and interact. Such automation saves much time and costs.

What is an LMS?

LMS is a software-based or SaaS platform allowing to create, administer, and deliver of e-learning courses, training or development programs, and other educational content. You can access most LMSs today via a smartphone. Isn’t it an excellent opportunity to have everything at hand? 

LMS is a powerful learning technology solution, simple for scalability, functionality, and flexibility, oriented to different users’ needs. It’s used not only in education or business but in any industry where there’s a need for deploying working learning strategies in other formats. LMS has no limits; it covers many goals, including formal, experiential, and social learning management, and not only. If compared with LCMS, the audience isn’t limited. LMS is used by learners, administrators, educators, business owners, officials, and anyone who wants to evolve training needs inside a specific institution.

In our blog, we’ve recently explored a custom LMS, 5 reasons to develop it, and many use cases.

Alex Pletnov Florentsiia Lyzanets Content specialist

Well, what about the functionality of LMS? LMS benefits the users by easy course registration and management of every learner, tracking and measuring user data. The system enables instructors to make personalized assignments based on the skill gap analysis. As a result, the students are engaged in learning, skipping the course topics they already know and focusing on new information. LMS breaks the barriers between instructors and learners by allowing them to communicate when needed.

Requirements of Learning Management System

Requirements of Learning Management System

What are the requirements before selecting or developing a custom learning management system? Here is the list of critical ones:

№1 LMS integrations

Integration is always beneficial. An LMS, easily integrated with other systems, lets L&D update material with essential data about learners and general processes. 

№2 Documentation

LMS is suitable not only for remote learning but traditional learning as well. It’s usually difficult to store all data securely; furthermore, it requires lots of paper waste. Also, time is unpredictable, and if the instructors need to move online, it won’t be challenging.

№3 Notifications

Notifications remind learners about their course assignments and important events. LMS provides the necessary feedback to whoever and whenever needed.

№4 Data tracking

This requirement should be present in every LMS since the stored data is necessary for instructors to understand the learners’ progress better and improve the process if required. If there are some apparent struggles in understanding courses, such improvements as a redesign of the program, new strategies, and content categorization by goals can help a lot. 

№5 Personalization

Each of the learners has a different subject background. So to encourage learners and not demotivate them by learning irrelevant material, instructors need to focus on the history of the learners stored in the software.

№6 Reports and analytics

Reports and analytics should be flexible, corresponding to the course objectives. Only flexibility brings effectiveness, quality, and improvements for every party. 

№7 Certificates

Some may consider certificates irrelevant, but I view them as an additional plus to learners’ motivation. Also, certificates are essential if LMS is used primarily for courses. Firstly, certification of completion of a specific course gives learners pride and accomplishment. Secondly, they confirm the learners’ specialization in some fields. 

№8 Security

A safe and reliable LMS is a must. The system should incorporate two-step verification requirements and strong password qualification. As for data, the requirements like automated data backups, restricted access to customer data, user roles, audit reports, company details, and other sensitive information should have a quality security component. 

LMS vs. LCMS: Main Differences

LMS vs. LCMS: Main Differences

Based on the definitions and the requirements for LMS and LCMS, there is no sense in doubting these platforms are different. But in which way exactly – let’s make a detailed comparison between LMS / LCMS.

A bit different goal

LMS focuses on delivering training courses and managing them. The system is used for administering, documenting, tracking, and reporting on the delivery of courses.

LCMS is more focused on content creation and management. The system helps to create, manage, store, organize and publish the content in various formats. Some LMSs allow tracking the performance but with some limitations. 

Functionality

LMS assists in creating a personalized learning path based on the learners’ skills and progress. It also offers needed courses for learners by managing competency and certification.

LCMS allows collaborative authoring for content creation. It provides a shared media library, templates, API, and workflow management tools. With LCMS, the users can reuse the content and get usage reports. 

The users

LMS users are instructors, managers, learners, and anyone involved in learning. 

LCMS user is a  content creator.

Kitchen cabinet example

Let me provide an analogy for the connection between LCMS and LMS. 

LCMS is like a kitchen cabinet containing lots of containers with grains and cereals we need for cooking. LMS is like a chef putting all ingredients together to make a delicious meal.

This way, while LCMS stores and categorizes vast data, LMS uses it to create an interactive learner’s experience and determine the content learners need. 

Although the systems are different, they have similarities as well:

  • time- and cost-efficiency on learning;
  • increased communication and collaboration between employees and the company;
  • accelerated efficiency of the learning process;
  • authoring and delivering the material;
  • built-in libraries, templates, and resources;
  • analytics and reports;
  • advanced search option;
  • SCORM and xAPI learning standards are followed;
  • mobile compatibility;
  • e-learning management;
  • reusability of content;
  • results and progress tracking.

In Conclusion

Which is better – LCMS or LMS? Well, it’s not the best question since LMS and LCMS aren’t interchangeable solutions but complementary ones. Both allow users to train no matter the distance, update content quickly, and promote a culture of continuous learning. The choice between them depends on business needs – what type of content you want to create to track and report it whenever needed. When comparing the platforms, sometimes there is a sliding scale. This is because some LCMS platforms have the features of LMS and vice versa. This way, the best solution is to address a specialist to get a consultation related to your project idea. 

Do you want to explore the differences between LMS and LCMS to implement one of these systems or develop a new one based on LMS and LCMS?

Address KeenEthics, and we’ll provide you with qualified expert help.

Alex Pletnov Alex Pletnov CTO

FAQs

What does LCMS stand for?

LCMS versus LMS stands for learning content management system. It’s more focused on content creation and management. The system helps create, manage, store, organize and publish the content in various formats. Some LMSs allow tracking the performance but with some limitations. 

What is LMS?

LMS vs LCMS stands for learning management system. LMS is more focused on delivering training courses and managing them. The system is used for administering, documenting, tracking, and reporting on the delivery of courses.

Why do I need an LMS?

LMS benefits the users by easy course registration and management of every learner, tracking and measuring user data. The system enables instructors to make personalized assignments based on the skill gap analysis. As a result, the students are engaged in learning, skipping the course topics they already know and focusing on new information. LMS breaks the barriers between instructors and learners by allowing them to communicate when needed.

Why do I need an LCMS?

The value of this platform is its functions enabling the managers to regulate content effectively by using built-in resources, templates, and other tools. The LCMS report contains creation, editing, quality assessment, and development standards. With this system, you get detailed analytics, including the time learners spent in the module, used devices, the visited pages, and how they answered specific questions. Well, if shortly, LCMS is a beneficial tool for helping with authoring and delivering the content to analyze the effectiveness and relevance of the content. 

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