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Running head: LMS vs CMS vs LCMS 1


Yolande Samuels


EDID 6510 Assignment 1

University of the West Indies Open Campus

Dr. Laura Gray

LMS vs. CMS vs. LCMS 2


This paper critically analyses LSM, CMS and LCMS as it relates to instructional design. Each

acronym will be defined as the function and importance of each system outlined along with their

historical development. A comparison of the systems has also been carried out with diagrams to

highlight the different areas of each system.

Keywords: LMS, LCMS, CMS, content, administration.

LMS vs. CMS vs. LCMS 3

A Greek philosopher, Heraclitus is credited with the quote, “change is the only constant

in life.” This saying has been verbalized in every industry known to man. The field of education

is one such industry which has seen its own fair share of change from the era of using a slate to

capture notes to students having 1:1 access to tablets in a classroom. This statement holds true as

education has continuously evolved from its inception. There has always been a need for data

collection, storage and organization. In the pass filling cabinets could be seen lining the walls of

any business office or institution office that you visited. With the invention of the Personal

computer and storage devices organizations transitioned to storing information on devices and now

some store via Cloud storage. We are currently in a digital age where basically everything can be

done via the internet from shopping for groceries, ordering a meal, and even attending classes half

way across the world.

Education has changed in leaps and bounds over the centuries with the increased use of

technology in the delivery and manipulation of educational content. There is some disparity among

educators as the use of the acronyms LMS, LCMS and CMS as these acronyms have been used

interchangeably among teachers and technology specialist for numerous years. There is however,

some distinction to be found among them. LMS stands for Learning Management Systems which

is a software (system) that allows you to deliver learning or training courses , organize these

courses (management) which includes creating them, changing them, assigning them to students

among other things. Similar to an application program like Microsoft Excel which allows you to

carry out spreadsheet calculations an LMS allows you to deliver and manage eLearning courses.

CMS which is short for Content Management Software allows a user without technical

training to control and manage content within their website. While LCMS stands for Learning
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Content Management System, allows for the creation, management and organization of E-

Learning Content. It is ultimately the best of both worlds LMS and CMS.

A Learning Management Systems historically will feature several components that cater to

pedagogy needs, institutional needs, technological landscape of the learners, track student’s

progress, provide necessary training materials that will be used by students and their interaction

with the material observed and recorded for future feedback. Learning Management systems have

been around in some shape or form from the early 1990s as indicated on the attached timeline. The

earliest recorded LMS is the Teaching Machine by Sidney Pressey in 1924 which paved the way

to various developments in this area.

In our current educational infrastructure there is a need for Learning Management Systems

as many institutions look towards transforming how they manage learner interaction with material

while having the ability to provide analysis of their performance. A LMS is a software that

basically acts as an ‘engine’ for eLearning which may not only take place within educational

institutions but also in businesses who seek to offer online training for its employees. The two

major parts of an LMS are the server component and the User Interface. The management, creation,

notification and course delivery are a few of the tasks performed by the server. Administration,

students and instructors' interaction with the software is handled by the User Interface.

LMS has gained popularity as anyone who participates in eLearning has come in contact

with it a type of LMS as they are used to help in the administration of learning activities both in

schools and other organizations. The uses of LMS’ have evolved with the developments that have

taken place in this field. A few of the functions carried out by LMS are learner management,

progressing tracking, recording of activities and instructional platform. Learning management

systems cater both to online and offline courses as indicated by Figure 1. The diagram also shows
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the interaction allowed by a LMS via different devices and the users of the system including the

teachers, students, parents, groups for collaboration and the materials that they have access to

within the system. LMSs also support personalized learning.

Figure 1.0

Retrieved from


Content Management Systems allow digital content to be created and modified and

usually supports collaboration among users. They allow for version controls, indexing, search ,

retrieval and history editing. In these systems, content is alienated from presentation. This system

helps to organize content and provides a platform for simple to more complex systems.

WordPress and Drupal are examples of Content Management Systems that have been around for

quite some time.

Figure 3.0 outlines various features associated with CMSs

LMS vs. CMS vs. LCMS 6

Retrieved from


Danzl (2015) theorizes that although many persons think of Learning Content Management

Systems as a fancy way of saying Learning Management systems there is one aspect of LCMS that

allows it to stand apart from LMS which is the management and creation of content within the

system. This is the ability of LCMS to author and manage content as this is unattainable of a LMS.

By virtue of its functionality LMSs then to be more popular as they allow institutions to organize,

administer and monitor courses. They also track learner statistics and analytics. LCMS is virtually
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a one stop shop somewhat like Walmart. Customers can manage both

their content and means by which it is delivered while keeping track of learners' progress. LMS

and CMS are more like specialized stores such as Foot Locker (which caters to sporting goods) or

BestBuy ( which caters to electronic goods) which cater to specific needs .

Organizations on a global scale are looking for areas to improve their training potential by

ensuring that any device being used can access the relevant content. Learning Content

Management Systems play a pivotal role in managing content while providing a link to already

existing Learning Management systems. The LCMSs of today can be found managing both the

formal and informal aspects of learning as content is broken down into small nuggets, Danzl

(2015). These nuggets can be reused as desired by the course manager to create new content as it

is required and is attuned to different environments whether it be instructor lead, mobile or self

paced. Content can be delivered via LCMS but tracking learner progress or the performance of

administrative duties would be handled by a Learning Management System. Content can be

exported in multiple formats across various devices.

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Figure 2.0 shows several features of Learning Content Management Systems including that

they are Web based so users would not have to worry about installation and information would be

easily accessible. Delivery of content including multimedia content such as animations and videos.

LCMSs are cost effective as the same information can be reused in a number of different ways and

they provide a means for flexible assessments.

Figure 2.0

Retrieved from

Learning Management Systems have numerous advantages when compared to Content

Management and Learning Content Management systems. Some of these benefits include

administrative duties, learning facilitation as students are able to use this system as an interface

as they learn, housed information can be access at any time, reporting and tracking students’

progress without the instructor being physically present.

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Table 1- Summarizes the capabilities and differences between the two systems: based

primarily on research conducted by Brandon Hall. The table outlines he many functions of an

LMS that would not be available in a LCMS or a CMS. These are some considerations that the

organization that is looking for a software solution would have to bear in mind when making a

choice between a Learning Management System and a Learning Content Management System.

Table 1
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Retrieved from LMS and LCMS: What's the Difference? (2013, May 10). Retrieved from

Current Work Environment

The Catholic Board of Education is the second largest education system in The Bahamas

and is responsible for six primary schools, four high school and one special education institution

here in The Bahamas. There are approximately three hundred teachers attached to the board and

over two thousand students whose lives are impacted by this organization. As such there has to be

an effective way to keep track of students’ progress regardless of the institution that they belong

to. Here at the Catholic Board of Education PowerSchool is utilized for keeping track of student's

progress. This software has some features of a Learning Management System as it allows

administration, teachers, parents and students to stay connected and relay information regarding

grades and courses. Attendance is also registered using this software and if students transfer

between schools their information can easily be updated at their new institution.

PowerSchool offers numerous capabilities some of which are still not utilized by my

organization. Administrators are able to monitor students' progress in all subject areas, assign and

reassign them to classes as well as monitor their attendance. Each Administrator has the

responsibility of customizing the software so that it reflects their school’s schedule, provide daily

bulletins and print progress reports as needed. Teachers are able to input student grades, monitor

progress, view individual and class statistics and also print relevant reports. Students and parents

are able to monitor grades and contact teachers when necessary.

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PowersSchool Learning was recently introduced but has not been implemented by the

institution. This software is a more robust Learning Management System dedicated to K-12

institutions as it would allow teachers to create interactive lessons assign work and store work

directly to the gradebook that we already use. Currently teachers utilize LMSs such as Edmodo

and Google Classrooms which is supported by the Information Technology department of the

board. Google classroom provides the opportunity for peer collaboration but offers limited

functionality for teachers. The integration of a more versatile LMS would lead to teachers creating

more personalized lessons for students as they are better able to track student’s progress.

There is no set Content Management Systems or Learning Content Management Systems

that is currently being utilized by the Catholic Board but it is my belief that the establishment of a

LCMS for the board would be beneficial as teachers across the system would have a common area

to go for resources and hence students would be presented with material customized to suit their

curriculum needs that is not too varied from one school to the next. Currently teachers use websites

such as and for their individual classroom content management,

some resources that are used are similar but content tends to vary widely from school to school

and this should not be happening within the same district. It is my hope that the Information

Technology department will look into the implementation of such a system as this could usher in

a new era for eLearning within the Catholic Board of Education as more and more parents are

looking for new alternatives to the traditional classroom setting. This form of expansion may lead

to improvement in enrollment and student performance.

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DANZL , S. (2015, July 29). Content Development. Retrieved from


Learning Management System. (n.d.). Retrieved from


LCMS v LMS: Learning Content Management Systems Guide. (2018, January 31). Retrieved from

LMS and LCMS: What's the Difference? (2013, May 10). Retrieved from

PowerSchool Learning(n.d.). Retrieved from

The Difference Between an LMS and an LCMS. (2016, June 30). Retrieved from

Selecting a Learning Management System: Advice from an Academic Perspective. (n.d.). Retrieved



T. (n.d.). What is an LMS / Definition and Uses - TalentLMS. Retrieved from

What is content management system (CMS)? - Definition from (n.d.). Retrieved from