LMS system

The what

A Learning Management System (or LMS or LMS system) is a cloud-based software package, usually on a large scale that enables companies to deliver learning content and resources to their employees. Most LMS systems are web-and cloud-based to facilitate “anytime, anywhere” access to learning content and education.

Technically, it is safe to say that most LMSs are web-based and built using a variety of development platforms, like Java/J2EE, Microsoft .NET or PHP. An LMS system usually employs the use of a database like MySQL, Microsoft SQL Server or Oracle as the back-end data store. Most of the systems are commercially developed and have commercial software licenses.

At a minimum, the LMS system often allows employees to attend and track e-learning courses and content, with a clear overview of the results. In the most comprehensive of LMSs, one may find tools such as:

  • competency management
  • skills-gap analysis
  • succession planning
  • certifications
  • virtual live classes
  • resource allocation

You can consider an LMS as the "engine" that empowers eLearning that consists of two separate parts:

  • 1. A server component that performs the core functionality
  • 2. A user interface that runs inside your browser

Conclusion: most systems allow for learner self-service, facilitating self-enrollment, and access to courses.

The why

The key to perceiving the difference between an LMS and other computer education terms is to understand the systemic nature of a LMS system. LMS is the package that handles all aspects of the learning process. An LMS is the infrastructure that delivers and manages instructional content, identifies and assesses individual and organizational learning or training goals, tracks the progress in order to achieve these goals, and collects and presents data for supervising the learning process of the company as a whole.

The future

With the recent technology and rapid web application advancements, a new generation of LMSs are expected to have some new features. These include: open, social, personal, flexible, learning analytics, and mobile.