The two terms - Training Management System (TMS) and Learning Management System (LMS) – sound very similar and if you haven’t had direct experience of either then you may not know what the differences are. For most people the differences may not be that important but if you’re planning to purchase and use either a TMS or an LMS it’s crucial that you know what you’re getting.
Both TMS and LMS are pieces of software that are intended to support knowledge growth. However, while a TMS is designed to manage back office training systems for sessions led by instructors, an LMS is focused on eLearning and content delivery.
The type of learning
A TMS is generally designed for instructor-led training. This requires a number of specific functions, including organising instructor schedules, assigning instructors and tracking and analysing the numbers, such as cost per session. An LMS is there to support eLearning, which is a totally different purpose. The LMS can enable courses to be monitored, organised and delivered to learners via the software, so it’s important that when choosing one you ask the right questions about what learning types it can manage. Make sure that other learning types aren’t simply an “add-on” feature if they are important to your business. A range of learning types should be facilitated.
The end user
While an LMS is designed with the learner in mind, a TMS is usually largely a back office function and there is little, if any, direct interaction with learners. This can place different demands on the two systems which are important to be aware of - an LMS, for example, will have a much broader and more diverse group of day-to-day users to cater to.
The infrastructure itself
A TMS is largely an infrastructure that is designed to provide a way to administer the training that is going to be delivered by instructors. It can be simpler and more straightforward than an LMS, which will need to be capable of managing and delivering eLearning content to learners.
The purpose of the investment
Investing in a TMS is often purely driven by a desire to create more operational efficiency or track a sales cycle. Organisations investing in an LMS are looking more at the benefits of making eLearning content available to individuals and being able to track and monitor progress.
The functions involved
A TMS will involve processes such as course scheduling, financial monitoring and reporting, as well as handling orders, invoicing and key paperwork that affects the administration of the training courses. An LMS is focused on three key areas:
- Planning online learning – designing courses for a learner base and creating them online
- Delivering courses and materials – uploading content, enrolling students, making courses and materials available
- Assessing and tracking progress – opening a channel of communication with learners and providing tools to evaluate and assess progress that has been made
Some organisations may require a combination of TMS and LMS but for most the choice will be one or the other. What’s key is to look at the core purpose of the system and to identify whether the need is more for training administration or content delivery.
A good LMS and TMS (like ours) will have many overlaps. And the unique modular architecture of our platforms means you can get the benefits of a feature rich LMS and feature rich TMS without purchasing 2 systems or sacrificing features or functions. Get in touch with Enterprise Study to discuss how our solutions could meet your requirements today.