LMS vs LCMS: The Differences You Should Know Before Choosing

Updated on Dec 18th, 2023


If you are just entering the eLearning space, you might have heard about LMS already. But most people are unaware of LCMS, which is complementary to a great learning management system. While it may sound confusing, an LCMS can be called a fully functional subset of LMS, but it can operate on its own for a majority of the requirements of many businesses.  

The differences originate based on LMS being a complete system that could include 100s of different capabilities, features, and possibilities. While an LCMS is more confined to businesses looking for course management and is focused on learning content. The difference might seem insignificant from afar, but an informed decision could help you save 1000s of dollars.  

Let’s get started with what each of the systems is and then understand differences between LMS vs LCMS.

  • The eLearning industry has been growing at a rapid pace with more and more software being developed surrounding it.  
  • LCMS is like a subset of a well-built LMS and works to complement it.  
  • The majority of differences between LMS vs LCMS rely on the choice of how you want to offer courses or training.  
  • LMS is mostly chosen for personalization while choosing an LCMS will help you save money.  

What is a Learning Management System? 

A Learning Management system is a complete learning solution encompassing an institution’s needs, including both schools and businesses. The primary purpose of an LMS is to impart knowledge and assess learning and skills learned through the courses. Depending on the requirements, there can be a combination of courses and personalized learning experiences delivered with technologies like AI and IoT.  

An LMS provides a global system of recognition, where certificates and diplomas generated can be verified worldwide. These solutions are usually built-in accordance with the government norms of the countries they are supposed to work in. The entire solution is made to offer a complete learning experience for both students and employees alike. The basic features include course planning, personalization, scheduling, communication channels, etc.  


What is a Learning Content Management System?  

A learning content management system serves the purpose of content management in a learning setting. The system could deliver what’s required but mostly relies on manual intervention unless high-level AI development is involved. It enables access to students and employees 24/7, mostly in conjunction with other offline ongoing learning activities. The system can be used as a complement to pre-existing solutions without putting in an enormous investment.  

There is a lot less personalization in the case of an LCMS, as the main focus remains on providing content rather than customizing it. The possibilities include a futuristic approach without burning a hole in the pocket. An LCMS is much cheaper to develop than even a basic level LMS, as the latter usually already have an integrated LCMS. If someone is planning a solution for a school or business where the basic goal is imparting learning, LCMS tends to be the perfect solution for them.  

LMS vs LCMS: Differences

Learning Management Systems and Learning Content Management Systems are only a word different between them, but in practicality, both tend to be very different. The basic similarities between them include being software solutions and being focused on the eLearning industry. Apart from this, let us go through the seven most well-known differences between them and their operations. 


1. User-Focused Learning Vs. Content Management

While an LMS is focused on creating a learning experience specific to users, the LCMS provides all someone has on offer in a neat and tidy manner. The user gets access to all the information there is with an LCMS system. On the other hand, with an LMS, users can focus on targeted learning based on their specifications and requirements. Content management remains the major focus of an LCMS, while user-focused learning tops the main focus of an LMS software development 

2. Target Userbase 

While both systems can be used by everyone looking for an eLearning solution, their user bases remain very different. On the one hand, the LMS caters to those who are opting for more than learning, while an LCMS is a fit for those where learning a course is the focus. The LMS might include various other features like assessment and profiling, while the LCMS only offers pre-recorded materials which might include quizzes and tests, but there aren’t automated mechanisms to make assessments. 

3. Tracking and Assessment

A LMS tops the charts at this point, as there is literally a plethora of ways where one can track and access a well-developed system. Every piece of information imparted to a particular student can be tracked with ease, especially in cases where an eLearning development company has used AI to create an LMS. In the case of an LCMS, you can certainly track how many times which student has accessed which content; that’s only much you can do. Unlike LMS, there are no fancy tracking and assessment possibilities with an LCMS. With an LMS, you can track:  

a. Completion Rates 

Completion rates provide a well-versed overview of the entire system while providing individual data on demand. You can easily track each employee or student and track the courses they have completed and are yet to complete. The same can be done for tests, quizzes, and more.  

b. Progress and Performance 

Tracking progress and learning performance are essentials of an LMS, it helps determine the course of action and personalized learning experience for every student or employee in the system. When combined with other features, you can easily determine what’s best for a learner and shift focus areas for them.  

c. Satisfaction Rating 

Feedback is always great when it comes to learning and training. This is the single most important way to improve the courses, and while feedback is possible with an LCMS, a state-of-the-are satisfaction monitor can be implemented with an LMS. 

4. Content Upload/Management

While an LCMS has a straight-in approach where you can simply upload courses in built categories or define new ones, it isn’t so simple for an LMS. For an LMS, the administrator needs to upload the courses and can select different categories to fit them in. The reason for it originates from the fact that the basic purpose of an LMS is integrated learning and a personalized experience; for it, one can just not upload courses and leave them be. While more effort goes into maintaining an LMS, the experience it offers resonates with the requirements of many. 

5. Administration

Administering an LCMS is much simpler compared to an LMS system. An LMS offers way more features and use cases, making it a bit more difficult to manage for users. A full-time administrator would be required in case you go ahead with LMS development, while for an LCMS, the learning curve is easier, and teachers and trainers can upload courses themselves. While it isn’t actually bad to have an LMS in this case, the simple fact that a complex system requires administration remains. 

6. Availability

Both the solutions can be deployed on different platforms, including mobiles and tablets. But, for an LMS to unleash its full capabilities, you will probably need to access it through the software or web solution on a desktop. In the case of an LCMS, all of its capabilities would usually be accessible through mobiles, making it an accessible solution of the two. But when it comes down to basic features available on the mobile apps, an LMS would still win the race. 

7. Interactive

There are only a few ways to interact with an LCMS. But with only a properly developed LMS system, you can include gamification and more than just one way to interact. With NLP, IoT, and AR/VR making it into the industry, you can customize an LMS the way you want. The same can be said for an LCMS, but the usual practice involves a basic system made to cut down costs, and it would let down the whole purpose of an LCMS compared to an LMS.  


LMS vs LCMS, Which One Would Suit You Best? 

Depending on your business, school, or institution, the best choice would be determined based on your specific requirements. Both systems are a step towards revolutionizing learning, and both play a great role in improving it for the students and employees. So, LMS vs LCMS depends more on your requirements than their individual differences. If you are planning to step into eLearning, we are offering a free consultation for a limited time. All you need to do is contact us, and we will help you clear every doubt as your eLearning software development company.

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