Blog

What is an LMS? The Basics of Learning Management Systems

By March 25, 2019 No Comments

If you have ever taken courses online or attended an online training program, you’ve most likely worked with a Learning Management System or an LMS.

What is an LMS?

The Learning Management System’s role varies depending on what goals an organization is looking to achieve. However, the main objective of the LMS is typically to host and track online learning. Providing a virtual hub where learners can access training resources, an LMS aims to make training accessible for remote learners and provide a central location for training across an institution or organization. Additionally, they make learning more streamlined, organized, and cost-effective. An LMS allows you to manage content, record and measure learning, store learner data, and communicate with (and enable communication amongst) users.

Furthermore, Learning Management Systems are being used in all stages of life where learning takes place: from primary, secondary, and higher education to online training and professional education in the workplace. That said, an LMS can be used for a wide range of industries, learner levels, and for various uses. Here are some examples:

  • In Higher Education: for students to access assignments, take exams, collaborate with peers, communicate with professors and more. The LMS in higher education provides a central location for all course resources, enabling professors and faculty to get a comprehensive overview of learning in departments, courses, by individual learners, and more.
  • In Government: to provide professional education for city workers amongst divisions, departments, or units (such as Departments of Education) or to provide education to end users/constituents.
  • Corporate Entities: to provide onboarding, compliance, and continuous professional education to various department levels and sectors within an organization. (See how Vistaprint, the eCommerce company, uses an LMS to connect their global network of care specialists.) Additionally, an LMS allows you to provide external training to extended enterprises.

An LMS can be used in virtually any space to educate, manage, and connect your people. To explore specific use cases, check out these case studies.

LMS Integration with Other Systems

An LMS can connect to, or integrate with, other systems including email systems (SES/SMTP), Student Information Systems (SIS), Human Resources Information Systems (HRIS), Enterprise Resource Planning Systems (ERP), and many other platforms. Most of the information stored within an LMS relates to course content and learner performance. This data can be exported in and out of your LMS to and from other systems, allowing your most important systems to communicate and share information. The LMS itself exists to record, store, report, and deliver learning data by many individuals at once.

Open-Source vs. Closed-Source LMS

 LMS vendors competing to offer users the most engaging learning features and functionality fill today’s learning technology market. One important fact to note is that LMS platforms can be either closed source or open source.

The type of technology an LMS uses is crucial to know and understand. The underlying technology determines whether an LMS offers the functionality needed to reach your eLearning goals.

Closed-source options typically provide an out-of-the-box eLearning platform. They often present limitations on customization and functionality based on what’s proprietary to the specific product. Alternatively, open-source solutions allow you to create a best-of-breed eLearning experience by offering the ability to incorporate additional plugins and third-party solutions, as well as customize the design and course structure based on your learners’ needs.

Why We Recommend an Open LMS Solution

The Learning Management Systems Moodle and Totara Learn are open-source products that allow you to build whatever features and functionality you would like to see into your LMS from an open code base – what we call “Moodle core.”  With over 140 million learners across the globe, Moodle is the world’s most widely used learning platform. Built off of the “Moodle core” code base, Totara Learn adds specific functionality tailored to meeting corporate learning needs. As such, Totara is the leading open enterprise solution in the market.

Why do we think that Moodle and Totara/Totara LMS products are the best LMS options? Because they’re designed by you and thus uniquely tailored for you.

Moodle and Totara are modular in nature, making it incredibly easy to integrate with other solutions to create a custom solution for meeting specific educational and business objectives. Additionally, as open-source products, Moodle and Totara Learn are able to offer ultimate LMS customization through a collaborative open-source community. Developers from all over the world are free to write applications that enhance or integrate with both products.

Learn more about the technology an LMS uses is important…

Read Blog

As an internationally Certified Moodle Partner and a Platinum Totara Partner (and the 2018 Global Totara Partner of the Year), our team at eThink are experts in eLearning. We help our clients maximize open-source LMS products to effectively reach their educational and business goals with fully-managed LMS support. To learn more, contact us or request a demo!

Request a Demo
866-516-1103