A Training or Learning Management System (or LMS) is a software product that enables the management and delivery of learning content and resources to students. Most systems are web-based to facilitate "anytime, anywhere" access to the software product and learning activities. Originally these systems were only available to academic institutions or the largest of companies; today there are systems for almost any size or type of organization that delivers training. One of the factors that makes buying a training management solution difficult is the lack of standardization in the industry. Ask the question "What is a LMS?" and you will get very different answers from each provider. For more information on selecting an appropriate solution for you
Key Characteristics of a Training or Learning Management System
Systems typically rely on the user doing tasks from registration to completion and testing through self-service. In the most comprehensive of systems, additional tools such as competency management, skills-gap analysis, succession planners, certification management, virtual classrooms, and resource management. Most systems allow for learner self-service, facilitating self-enrollment, and access to courses.
There a number of variations of systems on the market today. Many vendors distinguish between systems that simply provide access and admininstration tools only from systems that allow for development and management of content. Often called learning and content management systems (LCMS), these complex systems facilitate authoring and presentation of content to students.
Systems are based on a variety of development platforms, from Sun's Java to Microsoft's .NET. Regardless of the framework systems usually employ a robust database back-end. A limited number of free, open-source models do exist. Each LMS provider focuses on different educational, administrative, and deployment requirements.