What is an LMS? [Acronym Aunt]

What is an LMS? [Acronym Aunt]

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If you are new to the e-learning industry, you probably feel like people use esoteric acronyms and weird names for software and processes like one would throw around confetti with gleeful abandon at a spring wedding. An acronym used most often is probably “LMS”. And it can get really confusing, as it’s interchangeable with certain named or branded LMSes. Here at TTRO, we often use “LMS” and “Moodle” (Moodle is an open-source LMS) to mean the same thing.

So, while it’s probably one of the most important acronyms in the e-learning sphere, for someone new to the industry, it can get very confusing. Most e-learning solutions require an LMS to function correctly (e-learning ‘plugs’ into LMSes), so you see, it’s rather important.

What does LMS stand for?

The acronym “LMS” stands for Learning Management System or Learner Management System. If you’ve heard of a “CMS” before, you’ll then have a rough idea of how an LMS works. If not, here’s a quick overview: a “CMS” is a Content Management System which allows users to upload and publish content onto a website.

An LMS does largely the same thing as a CMS, but instead of being able to publish things, you – the learner – have to complete certain tasks, read through content, watch videos, listen to audio and even take assessments (your marks can be sent off to relevant parties, like a faculty lecturer or manager if necessary).

If you’re a technical developer who has read all the way to this third paragraph, you might be twitching a bit right now. So let me allay your fears of simplification. An LMS is a beast unto itself, and on a technical level, different from a CMS, but from a user-experience point of view, it’s very similar. The CMS dashboard of a blog for instance, offers a good experiential equivalent to an LMS.

TTRO’s very own technological wizard and ruler of all-things-code, Johnathan Brandt, has succinctly described an LMS as a learning platform that is able to categorise learners into relevant groups (grouping them according to job roles, grades, subjects, faculties etc.), match them to content and assess them, if required.

So it’s a pretty integral part to deploying e-learning. Would you be able to explain to a stranger what an LMS is? If you need more clarity, go ahead and leave us a comment below, we’ll be more than happy to clear up any confusion.

Next time Acronym Aunt asks, “What is UAT?”


Author: Simon Pienaar

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