Learning Management Systems (LMS) and eLearning platforms are much alike in terms of the basic concept of providing a learning environment to learners, but they differ in some key aspects. This article discusses the differences between these two and finds out which one is better suited for you.
This article has been published on eLearning Industry.
LMSs And eLearning Platforms: The Basics
An LMS is a software application that enables users to create, design, and deliver their own course content through a website or a mobile app. eLearning platforms, on the other hand, are web-based applications that allow users to design online courses, then deliver/share them with learners.
An eLearning platform is similar to an LMS because it also comes with an option of creating the content yourself. Both tools are essentially used to help educators and learners organize, view, and manage the learning process.
Examples Of LMSs And eLearning Platforms
Blackboard is one of the most widely used LMS tools for education. It has been around since 1997 and has a range of features that helps you create, deliver, and manage course content. Blackboard Learn allows you to grade assignments, upload files, and give instant feedback to students.
On the other hand, a good example of an eLearning platform is Adobe Captivate which allows you to create online courses from scratch without any programming knowledge. The tool covers all the five phases of learning management, including designing online courses, delivering them to learners, tracking performance metrics, facilitating collaboration among learners, and reporting for administrators/managers.
The Key Differences Between LMSs And eLearning Platforms
Despite being similar in basic functionality, there are key differences between LMSs and eLearning platforms. Here are some of the major points where both of these tools are different from each other:
1. Functionality And Flexibility
LMSs tend to be more comprehensive in their functionality and offer support for file sharing, collaboration, data storage, messaging, etc. On the other hand, eLearning platforms are more focused on hosting online courses. These tools come with basic support for adding content, storing content, etc.
While LMSs are either hosted or on-premises, eLearning platforms are generally hosted. This means that eLearning platforms come with more flexible access controls and a higher degree of scalability. eLearning platforms can be accessed from anywhere with an internet connection, while LMSs are commonly accessed within the organization’s network.
3. Time To Market
LMSs require a lot of time to get set up and integrated with other applications, while eLearning platforms can be integrated into an existing website or app with not much time. This is because LMSs have more complex setup procedures than eLearning platforms, making it necessary for clients to hire technical experts to integrate them with other systems.
LMSs come with an extensive feature-set and support for a variety of integrations. This makes them very powerful, but it comes at a high cost.
eLearning platforms are designed to be less heavy in terms of features, and they offer more flexibility and scalability than LMSs on the whole. This makes eLearning platforms relatively cheaper than LMSs despite the latter’s extensive feature-set.
Which One Should You Choose?
eLearning platforms are often chosen over LMSs because they are easy to use and have an attractive drag-and-drop interface. They also allow users to mix and match different content types, templates, graphics, audio, video, and quizzes.
On the other hand, LMSs come with a lot of built-in features that its competitor lacks. For instance, an LMS can help you track learners’ progress and assign certificates to them. They can also be used for evaluation and performance management.
Can An eLearning Platform Be Used Without An LMS?
An eLearning platform can be used without an LMS, but it is essential to know that it is limited in its functionality without a Learning Management System. For instance, you won’t track the learners’ progress if you don’t have an LMS with you.
This is one of the primary reasons why organizations tend to choose both platforms together. However, if you are looking for just a learning platform, then eLearning platforms are more than enough.
In conclusion, you can use an LMS for several things like managing learners’ progress and monitoring their performance. On the other hand, eLearning platforms are much easier to use and more attractive in terms of interface.
You can choose between the two based on your requirements and their features. If you are looking for a professional platform, then you should choose an LMS. If you are looking for a tool to create and manage your content, then eLearning can be your choice.
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