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Learning Management System Content Guide: LCMS vs. LMS

Learning Management System Content Guide

When you’re searching for solutions in the learning and development world, it can start to feel like you’re finding a new acronym to learn every time you fire up your research. 

It can be especially confusing when you start running into terms that seem like they mean the same thing. Take LMS and LCMS, for example. They both seem to be the same thing – a learning management system – but the ‘C’ in LCMS is what makes the difference. 

Learning content management systems can be largely differentiated by who they serve. Learning content management system software focuses on serving the needs of administrators of online courses managing and creating content rather than on the learners accessing the course. But there’s a lot more to this important tool than that.

Find out what learning management content systems are, how they work, the features they offer, if you really need a standalone product to manage content at all, or if an LMS can solve both needs at the same time. 

What is Learning Content Management System?

The primary purpose of learning content management systems is to create, store, and organize eLearning content. 

Learning content management system (LCMS) software is used by course administrators to

  1. Create and manage content 
  2. Manage learning resources, including courses, visuals, references, and assessments
  3. Maintain author record information such as their history and progress

Learning management system content platforms allow you to customize single courses for each individual learner, and create engaging and compelling content in an efficient manner. Dynamic authoring can update reusable elements on a mass scale. This means that when you need to make a small change in logic steps, or how a module functions, you can do so across the board. 

Learning management content systems also often allow for multiple collaborators to work together to create content that can then be published in many formats. This includes translation to other languages. Often, learning content management systems help manage translation workflows and task reminders. This is helpful for organizations with a multinational or international presence. 

What is a Learning Management System?

Alternatively, learning management systems support the delivery and tracking of training materials and content. 

The main functions of a learning management system versus a learning content management system are as follows:

  • Maintain classroom training records
  • Manage learner profiles
  • Data sharing with enterprise resource planning
  • Assign learning activities to learner profiles
  • Plan events and tasks for learners

Learning management systems permit managers to upload online training content that has been created with a variety of authoring tools, or to build a course within the software. A learning management system allows companies to assign training to their employees, track their participation, and produce documentation of employee training activity. LMSs are an essential tool to keep track of the company's compliance in industries where specific kinds of training, such as health and safety, are required by law.

The image below shows the relationship between learning management systems and the greater learning environment and ecosystem, where learning content management systems and other software like eLearning authoring tools exist. 

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Learning Management Content System (LCMS) vs. LMS

Learning Management Content System (LCMS) vs. LMS

Much of the difference between the two systems can be boiled down to the target user. The target user for an LMS is the learner, while users of the LCMS are primarily the learning content creator.

You can also consider LCMSs to have several improvements in function from LMSs. Learning content management system LCMS allows you to offer granular analytics at the object and question levels and rapid, mass updates to course content. 

Don’t consider that a strike against using an integrated LMS like Tovuti, though. Learning content management systems focus on digital learning content, whereas learning management systems are platforms that allow you to manage a broader range of learning experiences. As well as eLearning, an LMS also manages more traditional forms of learning and training, such as scheduling workshops face-to-face, facilitating learner conversations through social forums, and sharing resources.

The table below outlines more of the key differences and uses between LMSs and learning content management systems.

Learning Content Management System Uses

LMS Uses

  • To create and manage eLearning content (such as courses)
  • Management of learning resources (courses, visuals, references, and assessments)
  • Tracking authoring information, such as history and progress
  • Assist inefficient workflows, such as editing and translation
  • To deliver eLearning content to learners
  • Management of learning activities, including classroom instruction and hands-on training
  • To keep track of information about learners, such as their history and progress.
  • Offer a social learning space for users to participate in forums and other online communication 
  • To create course content and learning checklists and pathways 

LCMS Learning Content Management System Features

LCMS Learning Content Management System Features

The LCMS is one system that has a lot of features wrapped into one, and that can be overwhelming when you’re researching options for your eLearning program. 

That’s why we gathered up the most important features for you to consider when searching for a learning content management software.

Feature #1: Analytics

Data helps us make informed decisions as business owners. It helps us shape the ‘why’ behind our choices, and that’s especially important in online learning for your employees. 

Online learning programs are designed to train employees and develop their skills and knowledge with the hope of improving their performance. But in order for the training to be effective, you need to make sure they are logging in, being active in the courses, and completing assignments on time. 

By monitoring performance in the learning management content system as employees go, you have the ability to ensure each learner is on track for success and can take the time to give employees falling behind the attention they need to complete courses and tasks. 

Another facet of monitoring analytics offered inside the learning management system content software allows you to track attendance and participation so you can make sure everyone is part of the learning you are providing. 

Traditionally, only an LCMS can provide you with this kind of in-depth reporting, but when you use a modern LMS like Tovuti, you can tap into a wide range of analytics, all without leaving your LMS platform. You can even generate comprehensive report templates that you can run as often as you need to check in with your learners. 

More accessible than a traditional learning content management system (LCMS), Tovuti allows you to track:

  • Assessment scores
  • Milestone completion (badges or certificates)
  • Log-in data
  • Completion and progress data
  • Virtual attendance
  • Class participation (events, in-class)

When you can keep tabs on all these data points more easily, you can use the information to improve your online learning experience for employees and ensure the success of your program now and in the future. 

Feature #2: Translation

As a globalized society, it's common for businesses to have employees who work in different regions and in other parts of the world from where they themselves are based. This can lead to communication troubles in many ways -- from the board room to email and especially in online corporate learning.

The obvious solution is to ensure all learning materials are available in multiple languages. But unless you have a professional translator on your team who speaks many languages, you can run into some serious problems. 

That's where a content management system for e learning can come in handy. These tools allow you to create efficient translation workflows to ensure your courses are available in the languages your employees speak. 

Learning content management systems typically allow you to create XLIFF files. This is a standard format used by translation vendors. This way, authors can easily export content, send it for translation, and import it back in when it's ready. Likewise, learning content management systems usually provide side-by-side translation, so native speakers familiar with certain industries can review and refine translations to make sure they are correct.

The thing is, if you already have an LMS like Tovuti in place, you don't necessarily need the addition to your tech stack to get your translating done. Many features, such as the event management suite of tools, allow you to make information available in your learners' native language. You can also filter ready-to-use courses in our library of resources by language, so you don't have to waste time translating an already existing course and can just pick a suitable option that's pre-made and ready to launch.

Feature #3: Content Optimization

Did you know almost 60 percent of employees want learning that is on-the-go, flexible, and just-in-time? That means your learners want to be able to access learning wherever and whenever they are and on both mobile and desktop devices. 

That's one tall order for your IT department! So you need to balance effectively creating responsive training for all devices without the technology headaches and hold-ups. 

An LCMS should be fully responsive and adapt your content to all devices so that you always deliver the best possible user experience to your learner, no matter the device they are using. It can help make your training work seamlessly between devices, too. 

The thing is, you can get all that built into a modern LMS like Tovuti that allows you to create training that is responsive and works across all devices. 

Learners can access Tovuti from their mobile devices, and they don’t even need an app to do so. Tovuti is available via a mobile browser and can be accessed from any mobile device. Your learners will be able to access all of the course features that are available on a desktop or laptop from their mobile devices, enabling them to start a course on their laptop from home, view the modules between meetings using their phones, and complete the course when they are back at their desktop. That allows for a smooth, continuous learning experience that allows your employees to learn at times and in ways best for their needs and individual roles.  

LMS Learning Management System Features

LMS Learning Management System Features

It’s clear that a content learning management system can have its own distinct advantages and role in your organization’s learning ecosystem. The thing is, you don’t always have to spend the extra time, money, and effort to implement a second system when you have a robust LMS like Tovuti on your side.

It has a myriad of useful features, and you can use them to help save time and energy when you create course content for your learners. 

The table below shows some core features Tovuti offers you and your learners, eliminating the need to have both an LMS and a learning content management system.

LMS Feature

How it Works

Course Library

Make changes to content, upload course material, and create quizzes and assignments.

Gamification

With the help of badges, certificates, leaderboards, and checklists, your learners can access an engaging, gamified learning experience.

Virtual Classroom

Host recurring meetings and classrooms, and breakout sessions and presentations. Analyze and record attendance after classes are complete.

In-Person Events

Organize events, manage attendance, and collect fees and pre-entry requirements.

Micro-Learning

Create and share bite-size learning modules such as videos, PDFs, slide decks, and more in a library that is searchable and filterable. Students can rate courses to share feedback and take learning on the go. 

Analytics and Reporting

Check on learners' progress and view and create reports for transactions, events, and course participation by groups or individuals.

These features make online learning a breeze and ensure you only need one piece of software to get the job done for your learners. 

3 Best Learning Content Management Systems

With the information about learning content management system software behind us, we have a few of the best learning content management systems out there for getting the job done if you’re interested in having an LCMS as part of your online learning ecosystem. 

Bigtincan

bigtincan

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If you are looking for a tool that helps you redefine sales and marketing training so that teams can work together smarter and faster for optimal results, then this LCMS is for you. By delivering better training to employees with advanced, AI-driven features, Bigtincan Content Hub enables teams to improve business results. It's a great option for enterprises with large sales teams. 

The thing is, this platform goes way beyond content creation. It is also aimed at sales enablement, among other sales-related tasks. That's fine if you need these types of tools in your arsenal, but it's pretty heavy software to learn (and to pay for) if you're looking for a simple elearning content management system. 

Lessonly

lessonly screenshot

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A powerful yet simple training, coaching, and enablement solution, Lessonly helps teams learn faster, provide better feedback, and continuously improve. Four million learners use this tool, including 1,200+ leading companies like Scholastic. You can easily create courses that share knowledge, develop skills, and strengthen best practices. 

Reviewers noted that the course builder lacked formatting options. There is no WYSIWYG interface for changing text size or color, and users have experienced trouble resizing photos, too. Overall, it seems like mobile responsiveness and design are the features that lack the most functionality in this tool.

dominKnow

dominknow screenshot

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With dominKnow, eLearning course authors can create traditional eLearning courses, responsive learning content, and software lessons all in one place. In addition to publishing content as SCORM, AICC, or xAPI packages, authors can also publish content as website packages, so they can create courses to train learners on a new task and then put the same content in a searchable knowledge database to help them find information as needed. This tool has the advantage of also being able to publish content for print and presentations, extending its value for instructor-led sessions.

Reviewers note the overall stability of the platform as a drawback. There are a number of issues with this LCMS, including a total reliance on the internet, unreliable servers, loading issues due to bugs, and a slow process for importing PowerPoint decks.

5 Best Learning Management Systems 

Tovuti

tovuti lms

With Tovuti, you get an all-in-one cloud-based learning management system that offers you all the tools you need to deliver, track, and create your eLearning programs effectively.

Its well-rounded, best value for money rating comes as a result of the fact that it is one of the most flexible learning management systems on the market.

One of the best features of Tovuti is that you can customize it to your needs. From professional services that leave the work to us to gamified features that keep users engaged to online and offline event integration, Tovuti makes a comprehensive LMS and LCMS all in one. 

Make your switch seamless thanks to an integration specialist at your side to fast-track onboarding, create an enterprise-level learning experience and integrate with other systems in your tech stack – all inside one powerful tool.

Docebo

docebo screenshot

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By positioning its products as parts of a learning hub rather than a straight-up LMS, Docebo simplifies the often overwhelming introduction into the eLearning world. They offer features including drag and drop functionality, eCommerce, gamification, notifications, and over 400 possible software integrations. It's a comprehensive, in-depth tool that can do the job of both LCMSs and LMSs in one.

Their customers include large corporations like Thomson Reuters and OpenTable, so this tool might be too costly and too immense for small or medium enterprises.

Absorb LMS

Absorb LMS

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Absorb LMS is a flexible learning platform that makes it easy to create and manage learning programs for internal and external stakeholders. A number of specialized employee training programs are available through this learning management system that bridges the gap between on-the-job training and online courses. Offering you 24/7 support, you can be sure to have the support you need to get eLearning off the ground for your team. Absorb LMS is a great alternative to having both an LCMS and an LMS as it offers all the tools you need in one system.

One drawback to note is that reporting can be a challenge to create. Absorb LMS lacks the ability to report against multiple courses in the same report and the ability to send more than one daily report. This may not be a huge drawback, but solid reporting is often essential to tracking the success of an online learning program.

SAP Litmos

SAP Litmos

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SAP Litmos, which describes itself as the world's most easy-to-use LMS, focuses primarily on providing training systems to enterprises. In addition to security and easy integration with existing systems, this LCMS and LMS all-in-one offer scalability and ease of use for eLearning. Users can also upload video assessments, where they can deliver information in the form of elevator pitches and reports, all inside SAP Litmos.

Reviewers indicate their frustration with this tool is largely around the support system. They note the help is hard to navigate, responses are difficult to understand and the help portal is hard to work through what you want.

Looop LMS

Looop LMS

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Looop's intuitive design makes it easy to use for administrators, and it has some distinct functionality that sets it apart from other learning management systems. Campaigns allow you to target specific employees across multiple channels with communication, learning, and surveys. By automating this process, you can reach more people with less effort. Additionally, working with Looop gives you access to a community of Looop users and learning management system content development professionals. 

Something to know about this tool is that it's still a fairly new platform. This means that there are more bugs that need fixing than is typical of a more established provider. That's not to say you need to rule it out as an option, but definitely consider how smooth of an experience you're looking for and how much IT support you have in-house.

Conclusion

choose an LMS like Tovuti

When you’re trying to define a learning style online for your corporate team, it can feel overwhelming. You know you need to make sure you have a strong, connected ecosystem of tools that help you create, manage, and monitor learning, all while engaging your learners. 

The easiest way to make sure you are delivering effective learning management system content is to choose an LMS like Tovuti that offers you an all-in-one solution. That way, you don’t need to manage, integrate, and pay for a separate learning content management system alongside your LMS. 

Tovuti is the #1 ranked LMS on the market today and has a vast range of easy-to-use tools and professional support to help you along the way. Watch a demo to find out what Tovuti can do for you and start creating interesting learning management system content for your team.

Author:
Tyson Chaplin

Tyson Chaplin earned his Master of Educational Technology degree from Boise State University in 2014. He also earned a graduate certificate in Technology Integration and holds teaching certificates in online teaching, special education, and history.

Tyson is an Idaho native who is passionate about technology and how it can help all people learn and better themselves. He has worked in both public and private sectors. Tyson enjoys cooking and traveling with his wife, Malia, and restores vintage video game systems in his free time.

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