In today’s fast-paced and rapidly changing world, the demand for flexible and accessible education has never been higher. With the rise of technology, online learning has become a popular alternative to traditional classroom-based instruction, offering learners the flexibility to study at their own pace and on their own time.
With so many online learning options available, it can be challenging to know where to start. Two popular channels are online eLearning platforms and learning management systems (LMSs). While they both work towards the same goal i.e. – To provide an environment for learning, the way they do this differs.
In this article, we’ll delve into the differences between the two, so you’ll be better equipped to make a choice.
Here’s what we’ll cover –
Online eLearning Platforms: Purpose and Key Features
As the name suggests, an eLearning platform is a web-based application that allows content creators to make, design and deliver learning material. Essentially, it is a space on the internet where educators can share their material with learners from anywhere in the world.
The key features of an eLearning platform include:
- Wide Range of Educational Content: eLearning platforms offer a diverse range of educational content, including courses, tutorials, and other resources.
- Multimedia Content: Many eLearning platforms include multimedia content, such as videos, animations, and interactive elements, to enhance the learning experience.
- Discussion Forums: Discussion forums provide learners with the opportunity to engage with other learners and instructors, fostering a sense of community and facilitating collaboration.
LMS: Purpose and Key Features
A Learning Management System or LMS on the other hand, is a software application designed to manage and track a learner’s progress, performance, and overall learning experience. Most LMSs serve a specific group of people.
Below are listed a few key features of LMSs:
- Progress Tracking: LMSs track a learner’s progress through a course or training program, providing them with an understanding of where they stand in terms of completion.
- Assessment and Testing: LMSs often include assessment and testing tools, such as quizzes and exams, to evaluate a learner’s understanding of the material.
- Reporting: LMSs generate reports on a learner’s performance, allowing instructors to track their progress and identify areas for improvement.
Key Differences between Online eLearning Platforms and LMSs
LMSs are a type of eLearning platform. Having said that, here are a few ways to make the distinction.
- Functionality: The main purpose of an online eLearning platform is to host educational content. Meanwhile LMSs are designed to track a learner’s progress. Therefore, LMSs have more comprehensive features.
- Accessibility: eLearning platforms are generally accessible to anyone with an internet connection. LMSs however, could be organization-specific or limited to only authorized users.
- Implementation: eLearning platforms can be integrated with one’s own website quite quickly. On the other hand, LMSs are a little more complicated to integrate with existing systems.
- Assessment: eLearning platforms may or may not include assessment tools, such as quizzes and exams. LMSs on the other hand, typically have robust reporting and analytics capabilities to track learner progress and performance.
- Customization: Very few eLearning platforms offer customizations. In comparison, LMSs give users complete control of both their content and branding.
How to Make the Choice
Now that we have a basic understanding of our options, let’s explore how to make the choice.
As with most decisions, it starts with your requirements. If you just need to deliver educational content in a visually appealing manner, then an eLearning platform would be the way to go. However, if you truly want to study the impact of your content and your learners’ progress, a LMS might be the right choice for you.
Similarly, if you wish to maintain complete control over your content and the way your brand is presented a LMS would work. Yet, if that’s not the core objective, it might make more sense to go for an eLearning platform.
In terms of cost, most often eLearning platforms are comparatively cheaper than LMSs. While in terms of backend support, you’ll probably get more out of a LMS.
Clearly, it’s a tough choice to make, but we might have another solution for you.
Why Make a Choice?
In a competitive market, it is only natural for businesses to use certain terms interchangeably. For example, a luxury item might also be described as a premium item. Similarly, in the eLearning industry businesses might refer to themselves as a platform, a LMS, an app or by any other nomenclature.
This is a good thing for customers, as they get to choose the platform they wish to use, purely on the basis of their requirements. Additionally, it also implies that there are platforms that offer the features and functionalities of both LMSs and online eLearning platforms.
Take for example KITABOO, a digital content creation, publishing and distribution platform. KITABOO, not only allows you to create and share educational content, like an eLearning platform, it also allows you to track your learner’s engagement levels like with a LMS.
KITABOO can also integrate with an existing LMS or eStore, which traditional eLearning platforms and LMSs might not be able to do.
In conclusion, eLearning platforms and LMSs are both valuable tools for online learning, but they serve different purposes and offer different features. Their features also sometimes overlap, creating a whole new entity altogether.
Those looking to share their educational content, must be extremely clear on their goals and requirements in order to make the right investment.
To gain clarity on how exactly KITABOO can help you with your digital publishing needs, write to us at KITABOO@hurix.com.
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