Learning Management System (or LMS) is a software solution that enables the management and delivery of online content to learners. LMSs are web-based to make possible “anytime, any where, any pace” access to learning content and management.
Usually an LMS allows for learner registration, delivery of learning activities, and learner assessment online .Some LMSs include tools such as competency management, skills-gap analysis, succession planning, certifications, and resource distribution (venues, rooms, textbooks, instructors, etc.). Other than the most straightforward, basic functionality, all LMSs focus on different educational, administrative, and deployment requirements.
LMS Commercial & Open Source
Recognizing the incapability of many companies to create and organize e-learning courses with appropriate content, a niche market was created that offered outsourced e-learning solutions.
These companies take an organizations learning content, and create, host, and supervise Web-based courses. They provide services to make the course content web based on their software rather than license the software to the user.
While most systems are commercially developed and frequently have non-free licenses or restrict access to their source code, free and open-source models do exist. Open source and Web-based LMS solutions are growing rapidly in the education and business world.
LMSs can combine mixed-media training initiatives, automation and administration of courses, collect and deliver content, measure learning effectiveness and merge with other enterprise applications.
Because of its ability to integrate, organize and standardize learning across broad organizational needs, the LMS model has been compared favorably to enterprise resource planning (ERP) solutions, which change a companys back-office into a flawlessly functioning whole.
A good LMS has the following characteristics —
*Ability to combine training initiatives on a scalable, economical Web-base
* Assembles and delivers content swiftly in several languages.
* Measures the efficiency of training initiatives.
* Merges classroom and online learning.
* Incorporates other LMS.
* Consolidates and automates administration.
* User friendly and easy to learn
* Maintains portability and standards: AICC, IMS and SCORM.
Learning management systems allow companies to plan and track the learning requirements and accomplishments of employees, customers, and partners.
Within a company, an LMS can link organizational goals to employee jobs and competencies. It provides a catalogue of available and relevant courses, books, and training events.
LMSs deliver content in classroom-based or e-learning formats. The system also has the capability to register learners for courses etc.
LMS has mixed-media training initiatives, automation and administration of courses.
An LMS drives/dictates the nature of interaction (instructors-learner, learner-learner, learner-content.
The interface – generally is confusing for many learners. The key criteria in interface design should be what the end needs to do, but Current LMS interface designs rely on what the designers/administrators want to do.
In limited ways LMS vendors have started extending tools that offer anything beyond simple content sequencing and discussion forums.
As thinking skills move to advanced levels, artificial construction of content and interaction imposed by an LMS are limiting to constructivist learning.
LMS is still the best e-learning solution. These limitations are not the end of LMS, with a few changes it can be made to suit the user end. As time changes the LMS will also evolve to be better and more user friendly.