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Explained: The Difference Between LMS And LCMS

By Contributing Author

The elearning industry has come far in recent years and it is expected to grow exponentially in the coming years as well. Forbes predicts that this growth will make the elearning industry worth more than $325 billion in the next five years.

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When a market grows this much, niche products that address specific pain points start populating the market.

A learning content management system is one such product. 

However, it is often confused as a fancier name for a learning management system.

As far as training software go, the two surely have a few similarities and there is also a small overlap in the features offered by the two software. For instance, both systems offer the capability to host and deliver digital content and both systems are SCORM compliant.

However, the core function of the two systems is not the same. In other words, both LMS and LCMS solve different problems.

Let’s understand more by looking at both types of software in a little more detail:

Learning Management Systems

A learning management system is designed to manage the administrative side of delivering training. This includes storing and distributing training content, assigning different (relevant) courses to different learners, and keeping track of the completion rates. 

Learning management systems also enable the delivery of different training assets, such as videos and instructor-led sessions to learners.

No learning management system is designed to create content. These platforms only act as a repository for training content that is created on a separate software like a learning content management system. Even when it comes to updating existing training content, it needs to be done with a learning content management system and then uploaded to the learning management system.

Applications Of A Learning Management System:

  • Storing training content in one accessible place, usually on the cloud
  • Distributing training content to learners
  • Managing learning paths and experiences of different learners (based on things like aptitude, existing knowledge, job roles, function, growth prospects, etc.)
  • Tracking learner progress through a course. Most LMS offer the ability to track the progress of multiple different learners in one place

Now that we have understood what learning management systems are and the functions they serve, let’s understand the same about a learning content management system.

Learning Content Management System

A learning content management system, as the name suggests, has content at its core. It allows course creators to create, store, distribute, manage, and track training content on a single online platform.

Learning content management systems allow multiple creators to collaborate on a synced platform. It enables them to update and publish elearning content assets without hassle. 

With a learning content management system, learning administrators can also repurpose and reuse content assets from one course in a different course. With features like tagging and metadata, course creators can deliver content tailored to a learner’s needs. Content can be filtered on the basis of job role, region, product, among many other similar metrics.

Most learning content management systems work in tandem with a learning management system. The content created in a learning content management system is distributed and managed on a learning management system.

Applications Of A Learning Content Management System:

  • Storage of content on the cloud
  • Single platform for content creators to collaborate in real-time
  • Publishing training content on a number of different devices, platforms and in a number of different formats like HTML5 and SCORM
  • Ability to personalize training content being delivered to learners through a learning management system


As you can see, these two systems may have similar-sounding names, but they serve different (but complementary purposes. LCMS and LMS should be used in conjunction to drive the best results.



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