One of the most common questions we hear is, “Are you an LMS (Learning Management System)?”

“LMS” and “LCMS” (Learning Content Management System) are often mistakenly used interchangably, and differentiating between them can be tricky. It doesn’t help that some overlap exists between the two platforms, such as the fact that an LMS and LCMS are both capable of hosting and delivering digital content, and both are SCORM compatible.
 
At its core, an LMS is designed to measure and report course completions. It does not take into account the needs of content authors or the struggles organizations face daily in producing, maintaining and optimizing content. This is where an LCMS comes in. An LCMS goes beyond the capabilities of an LMS, incorporating a centralized content and asset repository, single source publishing and data that extends beyond course completion.
 
Although each system serves a specific purpose, it’s important to understand the differences as well as the unique features and functionality.

LMS (Learning Management System)

Main Features:

  • Role-based access for learners
  • Assignment of formal learning activities and courses to predefined groups
  • Compatible with SCORM, AICC, & xAPI
  • Management of event catalogue and registration
  • Reporting for regulatory and compliance training
  • Tracking of course completions

An LMS is a platform that manages learners and events. It is primarily used for the assigned delivery and tracking of formal course completion and the administration of programs and competencies, including online, virtual classroom and instructor-led. It is not typically used to create content. Published content simply lives inside an LMS, and any content updates or changes are managed outside of the system. Any content that resides in the system is locked in a published format, as it is not a content or asset repository.

LCMS (Learning Content Management System)

Main Features:

  • Centralized content repository
  • Collaborative and simultaneous cloud-based authoring
  • Flexible single-source content publishing (ILT, eLearning, HTML5, AICC, SCORM, mobile)
  • Tagged content enablement with metadata to support personalization based on role, product, level, region, etc.
  • Management of translation and localization support
  • Reuseable assets, assessment creation and interactivities

An LCMS is a platform that supports the entire content creation and delivery lifecycle through authoring, publishing, delivering and measuring content. It provides authors a centralized location to collaborate on projects so content can be synced and reused in a variety of outputs. Content becomes a single source of truth and assets can be assembled into courses, lessons, or more targeted microlearning or job aids, and reused in different ways to personalize content for different audiences and needs. Separating content from presentation unlocks content from a single format, so it can be synced and reused in a variety of outputs, eliminating duplication and rework. Tagging and metadata allow authors to tailor content to specific audiences with the ability to filter by role, region, product, etc. Content can then be distributed in or out of an LMS.

Not a Matter of One Versus the Other

Both systems have their strengths, so it shouldn’t be a question of “either or.” While an LMS has a viable place in the learning industry, its purpose is to track and report the completion of educational courses and training programs. An LCMS is designed to allow the author to manage content through its entire lifecycle, from authoring to delivery and analysis. While each serves a different purpose, both platforms can work together to provide a complete end-to-end solution.

Unlike external authoring tools, all types of content can be housed in an LCMS. Authoring can be done within an LCMS, or content can be integrated from proprietary tools, such as Storyline and Captivate. An LCMS can feed content to different platforms for different delivery methods, while still allowing for the management of content to be synced from in the LCMS itself. Content can be fed into one or more LMSs without having to download, upload or reload to keep files in sync. Content can also be embedded within other applications such as Salesforce or fed to a Learning Experience Platform, such as Degreed or EdCast.

Why Do You Need an LCMS?

If your organization struggles to do any of the following, you should consider an LCMS

Quality content is key and can be time consuming and costly to build. An LCMS puts all of your source files in a single location to solve some of the most common content challenges that an LMS just cannot address.

  • Create, store and manage content in a centralized location
  • Embed interactivites from other popular authoring tools
  • Tag content to serve up to different audiences
  • Reuse content and track where it is used
  • Eliminate time wasted fussing with layouts
  • Sync ILT assets (instructor guide, student guide, PowerPoint)
  • Facilitate web-based review sessions
  • Support ILT, eLearning, microlearning, and performance support
  • Track all content engagement data, not just course completions
  • Access detailed analytics on content performance
  • Provide content at the point of need
  • Support translation and localization

Three of the Most Robust LCMS Features

Centralizes content authoring, storage, management, and maintainance. Because an LCMS uses single-source-authoring, edits and updates are made once, and can be pushed to all existing derivatives and outputs. Appropriate branding, page layout, and styling are automatically added based on the specific output type.

Simplifies personalization at scale. An LCMS allows content authors to tailor the context around content to meet the unique needs of each audience, without creating a maintenance nightmare. Users can map out and reuse the content that is common among all audiences and customize contextual content that needs to be personalized.

Provides robust delivery and analytics options. An LCMS includes a delivery and analysis platform to track exactly how users interact with learning content. Dashboards provide an accurate and objective picture of content engagement and performance.

Today's Organizations Need Modern Technology

Xyleme’s industry-leading Learning Content Management System (LCMS) helps major multinational organizations overcome even the most complex content management challenges. Thanks to Xyleme’s revolutionary LCMS, our users successfully reduce content development and maintenance time, easily reuse content and publish to multiple output types (print, web, PowerPoint, etc.), simplify translation processes, effectively measure and track learner engagement, personalize content at scale, and objectively assess content and learner performance with robust, built-in analytics dashboards. 

Learn more about how Xyleme’s Learning Content Management System (LCMS) empowers content professionals to revolutionize the way content is both created and delivered.