There is certainly no shortage of elearning platforms on the market these days. But before you even start exploring the specific solutions to your elearning needs in 2020, make sure you are fully clued into the different types of platforms and what they can (and cannot) do for you. After all, you want to save time by comparing apples to apples, not apples to oranges.
Types of elearning platforms
Elearning platforms are divided into four types: Learning Management Systems (LMS’s), Learning Content Management Systems (LCMS’s), Authoring Tools and Elearning Portals. Companies often use a mix of elearning platforms to meet their needs, although there are tools, such as Elucidat, that offer benefits found across categories.
Learning Management System
A Learning Management System, or LMS to its friends, allows you to host and deliver learning using a wide range of learning experiences. If you are looking for an option that could help you produce elearning as well as traditional forms of training such as face-to-face workshops, an LMS might be a good option.
There has been some controversy over the years around whether the LMS is dead. Is this form of learning delivery and production outdated and superfluous in the ever-evolving learning landscape? We believe there is still a place for the LMS, but managers need to fully understand their capabilities and make an informed decision.
Learning Content Management System
A Learning Content Management System, or LCMS, is very similar to an LMS. It allows you to host and deliver learning, but with three notable differences:
- The emphasis here is on digital learning,
- You can create and deliver your content in the same place, and
- You can more efficiently track your elearning for even better results
For those of you keen on exploring the differences further, you can find an in-depth analysis in our LMS vs. LCMS blog.
Because the focus of an LCMS is on elearning specifically, the analytics capabilities are usually much more detailed than in an LMS. For example, a good LCMS will allow you to find out how long a learner spent in a module, which device they were using, which pages they visited most and how they answered specific questions. All of these can be used to inform your learning strategy and promote better business impact.
As the name suggests, authoring tools allow you to create elearning, or digital learning, content. You will still need to host this content somewhere, and the more traditional authoring tools will be limited in terms of the analytics capability you have.
In theory, authoring tools should be able to allow you to create content easily since there is no need to have programming expertise. In practice, some authoring tools are easier to use than others, and the functionality varies widely. While some cater more toward the non-specialists who require rapid elearning development, others are geared toward instructional designers who are looking to develop more complex interactions such as custom gamification.
If you feel an authoring tool is your best option, you can check out our 9 Elearning Authoring Tools: Comparison and Review blog.
An elearning portal allows you to host and deliver your elearning to your audience. To put it very simply, this is a website that will let you store your content and share it with your learners. It’s a way of bringing your content to your learners. In order to produce the content or analyze its effectiveness, you will need to equip your learning portal with an authoring tool or an LCMS.
Now, you might be thinking that an elearning portal sounds a lot like an LMS. That is true, but where elearning portals differ is on learner management. While an LMS requires you to share your logins with all users for them to be able to access the course material, elearning portals allow you to simply share a URL.
It is very likely that your contractors, suppliers and temporary or seasonal staff won’t be given a business email address. This means that they won’t be able to access your learning if you host it on an LMS. A learning portal solves this issue, ensuring that no one is left behind in learning in your business.
To find out a bit more about the topic, check out our latest blog: Elearning portals: Wider learning reach, quicker business impact.
At Elucidat, we launched our own version of an elearning portal: Learning Launchpad. It’s our way of empowering our customers to have wider learning reach and quicker business impact beyond a traditional LMS. And, paired with our award-winning Elucidat authoring tool, Learning Launchpad has all it needs to host, deliver and produce exceptional learning at scale.
Elearning platforms – differences at a glance
Here’s a quick overview of the main differences and intended purposes to help you make up your mind.
|LMS||Authoring tool||LCMS||Learning Portal|
|Manages a range of learning experiences, including traditional learning||Focused on digital learning||Specializes in digital learning, not ideal for blended learning||Digital learning only|
|Allows you to host and deliver, but not produce content||You may create and deliver content, but you cannot host it||Lets you deliver and produce content, but not host||Enables you to host and deliver your content, but on its own doesn’t allow you to produce|
|SCORM compatible, but only basic SCORM tracking available||SCORM compatible, but often basic analytics||SCORM compatible, and with detailed analytics|
In today’s learning market, it is quite common to use a mix of tools rather than settle with one. Many of our clients have gone this route, combining Elucidat (including Launchpad) with an LMS. Whatever you decide, make sure you kick off 2020 informed on what types of learning platforms you should be considering. And, hopefully, this blog has given you a good starting point!
Want to learn more?
If you’re interested in how Elucidat’s authoring platform and Learning Launchpad can help you reduce time to learn, decentralize learning production and widen your impact – then book a personalized online demo with one of our team![su_table
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