Learning management system
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LMSs range from systems for managing training and educational records to software for distributing online or blended/hybrid college courses over the Internet with features for online collaboration. Colleges and universities use LMSs to deliver online courses and augment on-campus courses. Corporate training departments use LMSs to deliver online training, as well as automate record-keeping and employee registration.
The history of the application of computers to education is filled with generic terms such as computer-based instruction (CBI), computer-assisted instruction (CAI), and computer-assisted learning (CAL), generally describing drill-and-practice programs, more sophisticated tutorials, and more individualized instruction, respectively. LMS has its history in another term, integrated learning system (ILS) which offers additional functionality beyond instructional content such as management and tracking, more personalized instruction, and integration across the system . The term ILS was originally coined by Jostens Learning, and LMS was originally used to describe the management system part of the PLATO K-12 learning system, content-free and separate from the courseware. The term LMS is currently used to describe a number of different educational computer applications.
The key to understanding the difference between LMS and other computer education terms is to understand the systemic nature of LMS. LMS is the framework 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 towards meeting those goals, and collects and presents data for supervising the learning process of organization as a whole. An LMS delivers content but also handles registering for courses, course administration, skills gap analysis, tracking, and reporting.
Most LMSs are Web-based to facilitate access to learning content and administration. They are also used by educational institutions to enhance and support classroom teaching and offering courses to a larger population of learners. LMSs are used by regulated industries (e.g. financial services and biopharma) for compliance training. Student self-service (e.g., self-registration on instructor-led training), training workflow (e.g., user notification, manager approval, wait-list management), the provision of on-line learning (e.g., computer-based training, read & understand), on-line assessment, management of continuous professional education (CPE), collaborative learning (e.g., application sharing, discussion threads), and training resource management (e.g., instructors, facilities, equipment), are all important dimensions of Learning Management Systems.
Some LMS providers include "performance management systems", which encompass employee appraisals, competency management, skills-gap analysis, succession planning, and multi-rater assessments (i.e., 360 degree reviews). Modern techniques now employ competency-based learning to discover learning gaps and guide training material selection.
For the commercial market, some Learning and Performance Management Systems include recruitment and reward functionality.
A robust LMS should be able to do the following:
- centralize and automate administration
- use self-service and self-guided services
- assemble and deliver learning content rapidly
- consolidate training initiatives on a scalable web-based platform
- support portability and standards
- personalize content and enable knowledge reuse
Educational and corporate use 
LMSs cater to educational, administrative, and deployment requirements. While an LMS for corporate learning may share many characteristics with an LMS used by educational institutions, they each meet unique needs. The learning environment of universities and colleges allow instructors to manage their courses and exchange information with students for a course that in most cases will last several weeks and will meet several times during those weeks. In the corporate setting a course may be much shorter in length, completed in a single instructor-led event or online session.
LMS and CMS compared 
The inappropriate use of LMS in the literature is perhaps most commonly associated with computer applications which we would identify as Course Management Systems (CMS). These systems are used primarily for online or blended learning, supporting the placement of course materials online, associating students with courses, tracking student performance, storing student submissions, and mediating communication between the students as well as their instructor. Some of this same functionality can be seen within LMSs as well, so it is understandable why confusion might exist about the differences between the two types of systems. However, the systemic nature of an LMS does not limit its functionality to that of a CMS.
A CMS “provides an instructor with a set of tools and a framework that allows the relatively easy creation of online course content and the subsequent teaching and management of that course including various interactions with students taking the course” (EDUCAUSE Evolving Technologies Committee, 2003, p. 1). Examples of a CMS include Blackboard, Angel, Sakai, Oncourse, and Moodle. However, Blackboard is a good example of the confusion that exists regarding these terms as it is commonly referred to as an LMS in the literature.
LMS and LCMS compared 
The focus of an LMS is to deliver online courses or training to learners, while managing students and keeping track of their progress and performance across all types of training activities. An LMS is not used to create course content.
By contrast, a learning content management system (LCMS) is a related software technology that provides a multi-user environment where developers, authors, instructional designers, and subject matter experts may create, store, reuse, manage, and deliver digital e-learning content from a central object repository. LCMS focuses on the development, management and publishing of the content that will typically be delivered via an LMS. Users can both create and re-use e-learning content and reduce duplicated development efforts.
Rather than developing entire courses and adapting them to multiple audiences, an LCMS provides the ability for single course instances to be modified and republished for various audiences maintaining versions and history. The objects stored in the centralized repository can be made available to course developers and content experts throughout an organization for potential reuse and repurpose. This eliminates duplicate development efforts and allows for the rapid assembly of customized content. Some systems have tools to deliver and manage instructor-led synchronous and asynchronous online training based on learning object methodology.
LCMSs provide tools for authoring and reusing or re-purposing content (mutated learning objects, or MLOs) as well as virtual spaces for student interaction (such as discussion forums, live chat rooms and live web-conferences). LCMS technology can either be used in tandem with an LMS, or as a standalone application for learning initiatives that require rapid development and distribution of learning content.
While LMS and LCMS products have different strengths and weaknesses, they generally address the following areas of functionality:
- Student Registration and Administration
- Training Event Management (i.e., scheduling, tracking, and WBT delivery)
- Curriculum and Certification Management
- Skills and Competencies Management
- Training Record Management
- Courseware Authoring
- Template-driven, Collaborative Content Development
- Facilitated Content Management (i.e., indexing and reuse)
- Workflow Integration
- Automated Interface with an LM
LMS as the ubiquitous term 
Despite this distinction, the term LMS is often used to refer to both an LMS and an LCMS, although the LCMS is actually a complementary solution to an LMS. Either as separate platforms or as a merged product, LMCSs work together with LMSs to develop and deliver course content to students. Due to lack of industry standardization as well as being a young industry, products that combine LCMS and LMS attributes may be referred to as Course Management Systems (CMS), Learning Management Systems (LMS) and LMS/LCMS. Blackboard Inc. currently refers to their Blackboard Learn platform as an LMS (Blackboard Inc., 2013). At this time, LMS represents the ubiquitous term for a product containing attributes of both a LMS and a LCMS, whether for CMS or LMS use.
Technical aspects 
Most LMSs are Web-based, built using a variety of development platforms, like Java/J2EE, Microsoft .NET or PHP. They usually employ the use of a database like MySQL, Microsoft SQL Server or Oracle as back-end. Although most of the systems are commercially developed and have commercial software licenses there are several systems that have an open-source license.
Learning management industry 
In the relatively new LMS market, commercial vendors for corporate and education applications range from new entrants to those that entered the market in the nineties. In addition to commercial packages, many open source solutions are available.
In the higher education market as of fall 2011, Blackboard is the leading provider with 51% market share, with Moodle (19%) and Desire2Learn (11%) being the next two largest providers. Many online colleges and universities are eCollege customers. In the corporate market, the six largest LMS providers constitute approximately 50% of the market, with SuccessFactors Learning and Sumtotal Systems being the two largest providers.
In addition to the remaining smaller LMS product vendors, training outsourcing firms, enterprise resource planning vendors, and consulting firms all compete for part of the learning management market. Approximately 40 percent of US training organizations reported that they have an LMS installed, a figure that has not changed significantly over the past two years.
Most buyers of LMSs utilize an authoring tool to create their e-learning content, which is then hosted on an LMS. In many cases LMSs include a primitive authoring tool for basic content manipulation. For advanced content creation buyers must choose an authoring software that integrates with their LMS in order for their content to be hosted. There are authoring tools on the market, which meet AICC and SCORM standards and therefore content created in tools such as these can be hosted on an AICC or SCORM certified LMS. By May 2010, ADL had validated 301 SCORM-certified products while 329 products were compliant.
Evaluation of LMSs is a complex task and significant research supports different forms of evaluation, including iterative processess where students’ experiences and approaches to learning are evaluated. Considerations in selecting an LMS/LCMS have been reviewed.
See also 
- Authoring system
- Competency-based management
- Competency management system
- Digital content creation
- Intelligent tutoring system
- Learning Objects
- List of learning management systems
- Student information system
- Virtual learning environment
Further information 
Blackboard Academic Suite brochure. (2006). Retrieved November 14, 2006, from http://library.blackboard.com/docs/as/bb_academic_suite_brochure_single.pdf Blackboard Company. (2006). Retrieved November 21, 2006, from http://www.blackboard.com/company/
Connolly, P. J. (2001). A standard for success. InfoWorld, 23(42), 57-58. EDUCAUSE Evolving Technologies Committee (2003). Course Management Systems (CMS). Retrieved April 25, 2005, from http://www.educause.edu/ir/library/pdf/DEC0302.pdf
A field guide to learning management systems. (2005). Retrieved November 12, 2006, from http://www.learningcircuits.org/NR/rdonlyres/BFEC9F41-66C2-42EFBE9D-E4FA0D3CE1CE/7304/LMS_fieldguide1.pdf
Gibbons, A. S., Nelson, J. M., & Richards, R. (2002). The nature and origin of instructional objects. In D. A. Wiley (Ed.), The instructional use of learning objects: Online version. Retrieved April 5, 2005, from http://reusability.org/read/chapters/gibbons.doc
Gilhooly, K. (2001). Making e-learning effective. Computerworld, 35(29), 52-53.
Greenberg, L. (2002). LMS and LCMS: What's the Difference?. Learning Circuits from http://www.learningcircuits.org/2002/dec2002/greenberg.htm.
Hodgins, H. W. (2002). The future of learning objects. In D. A. Wiley (Ed.), The instructional use of learning objects: Online version. Retrieved March 13, 2005, from http://reusability.org/read/chapters/hodgins.doc Introduction: why we need AMG, first version, and redesign. (2006). Retrieved November 20, 2006, 2006, from http://ariadne.cs.kuleuven.be/amg/Intro.jsp
Wiley, D. (2002). Connecting learning objects to instructional design theory: A definition, a metaphor, and a taxonomy. In D. A. Wiley (Ed.), The instructional use of learning objects: Online version. Retrieved March 13, 2005, from http://reusability.org/read/chapters/wiley.doc
- Ellis, Ryann K. (2009), Field Guide to Learning Management Systems, ASTD Learning Circuits
- Parr, J.M.; Fung, I (September 28, 2004). exid=6920&indexparentid=1024 "A Review of the Literature on Computer-Assisted Learning, particularly Integrated Learning Systems, and Outcomes with Respect to Literacy and Numeracy.". New Zealand Ministry of Education. Retrieved April 2, 2005.
- Watson, William R. (2007). "An Argument for Clarity: What are Learning Management Systems, What are They Not, and What Should They Become?". TechTrends 51 (2): 28–34. Retrieved 13 February 2013.
- Szabo, Micheal; Flesher, K. (2002). "CMI Theory and Practice: Historical Roots of Learning Management Systems". Proceedings of World Conference on E-Learning in Corporate, Government, Healthcare, and Higher Education 2002 (White PaperISSN 1-880094-46-0.) (Montreal, Canada: In M. Driscoll & T. Reeves (Eds.)): pp. 929–936.
- Gilhooly, Kym (16). "Making e-learning effective". Computerworld 35 (29): 52–53.
- Kerschenbaum, Steven (04). "LMS Selection Best Practices" (White paper). Adayana Chief Technology Officer. pp. 1–15. Retrieved 13 February 2013.
- A Profile of the LMS Market (page 18), CampusComputing, 2011.
- Certified products, ADL.
- SCORM adopters, ADL.
- Ellis, R.; Calvo, R.A. (2007), "Minimum indicators to quality assure blended learning supported by learning management systems" (PDF), Journal of Educational Technology and Society
- Expertus; TrainingOutsourcing (August 30, 2006), Survey 1: Channel Partner Training, Training Challenges Survey Series, conducted by Expertus and TrainingOutsourcing.com
- Levensaler, Leighanne; Laurano, Madeline (2009), Talent Management Systems 2010, Bersin & Associates