A learning management system is a vital part of e-learning programs or training courses. Also referred to as LMS for short, it helps in the implementation of tools that will help administer, document, track, report and deliver the content of e-learning courses.
The scope of a learning management system is quite broad. It includes systems that will help manage the records and content involved in the e-learning process. It also involves the software that is used for the actual distribution of the classes online or through electronic media.
Most of the time, it is the colleges and universities that use this program to deliver courses online or integrate it with on-campus learning. But this is also used by corporations in their training programs, record keeping and even the registration of employees.
What makes learning management systems different from other computer education systems is the fact that it is the framework that takes care of the learning process. It is the infrastructure that covers all the delivery and management of the content used in instructing students. Not only that, it helps identify the learning goals and tracks the progress by which these goals are met. This allows the professionals implementing the LMS to know if the methods are working or not. This is also made possible through the data that is presented about the entire course in general.
Most of these LMSs are delivered online. These web-based applications make it a convenient learning content to access and administer. It can stand alone as a purely online course or it can be used as a support to the traditional classroom learning.
Regulated industries like financial services can also use it for compliance training. Other dimensions of this application include self paced learning by students, management of the training workflow, computer-based training, and the administration of CPEs or continuous professional education. As technology advances, it is expected that learning management systems will improve and broaden its coverage in various learning processes.
An important part of LMS that is not always provided is the performance management system. This allows the system to produce employee appraisals, skill-gap analysis, assessments, competency managements and other data that is needed to improve learning programs.
Since LMSs are usually web-based, it utilizes communication programs online. These include video conferencing, threaded discussions and forums.
It has to be noted that although LMS is an important part of e-learning, it is not the only part. There are other tools like content management systems (CMS) and groupware that is also needed to implement some e-learning courses. So if you wish to venture into e-learning, do not start with the learning management system. Before you reach the LMS, you need to know the system that you want to use and install for the learning program to be successful. Not only that, you need to know the designs and strategies that you will use to reach your learning goals
Ultimately, the LMS should not dictate what the e-learning program will convey to their students. There has to be a certain amount of planning and e-learning content in place before you let the LMS enter into the picture.
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