When it comes to choosing the best learning tool, especially between LMS and LCMS, decision-makers are facing difficulties making the right choice.
When facing such a choice, managers have to consider formost the organization needs, but also keep in mind the main purpose the system will be used for: content creation, content distribution & management, performance analytics, compatibility, compliance training, etc. In general, any organization can implement and use both systems at the same time because they complete each other. LMS and LCMS can easily run in parallel, with only some functions overlapping, such as hosting, delivering content, being SCORM-compatible. Although each platform serves a specific purpose, differentiating between the two becomes a question of knowing precisely the purpose each serves. LMS is usually learner-centered, whereas LCMS supports single-sourced content management, therefore they are author-centered.
It is therefore crucial to understand the meaning and purpose of LMS & LCMS. As their names suggest, LMS focuses mainly on learning workflow, while LCMS on content management.
The main purpose of the LMS is to track, report, and analyze users/group progress of the predefined training program. That’s why the reporting feature is a key asset of the system. The published and updated content is managed outside the LMS, as the system is primarily used for content delivery and performance administration. The system measures competencies and drafts progress curves, registers learning events, and ultimately suggests improvement strategies for formal training. LMS is not a content repository tool, but a learning event log system. This is probably the key feature differentiating LMS from LCMS.
The content management system supports the entire process from content creation to delivery lifecycle through authoring, styling, collaboration, publishing, performance parameters measuring, etc. As content plays the most important role in LCMS, the author and content manager are the most important actors. All LCMS have an engine dedicated to collaboration and content synchronization, allowing multiple input channels and many authors working on content at the same time.
Prefer a LMS over LCMS when:
- Tracking and reporting learners’ progress
- Analyzing groups’ performance
- Content is managed by another system
- Targeting formal learning
- The content is already created
Prefer a LCMS over LMS when:
- Content is centralized and single-sourced
- There are many authors working on the same content (supporting cloud-based authoring)
- The content has to be distributed in different forms to different audiences
- Content needs to be translated or/and localized
- The training output has to be interactive
To conclude, if you’re looking for features that are more about content management, like content delivery or performance administration, then you should choose LMS, as reporting is at its core. On the other hand, choose a LCMS if you’re looking for features articulated around content creation.
With that said, you can use both a LMS and a LCMS to get best results and ensure optimum content delivery and tracking.