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What is an LMS?

Umesh C Joshi
11 Apr 2024
31 min read
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What is an LMS?

A Learning Management System (LMS) is like a toolbox which helps you in the creation, management, delivery, tracking, and assessment of learning content or training programs. It is a hosted or cloud-based software application or platform that provides an online framework for organizing learning content, such as courses, videos, e-books, quizzes, and assignments, as well as tools for communication and collaboration among instructors and learners.

According to Harvard Business Review, "A Learning Management System (LMS) is not just about delivering content; it's about creating a dynamic learning environment that fosters a culture of learning." Simply put, an LMS isn’t just about throwing information at you. Rather, it helps you learn by keeping things engaging. 

Before reading this article further, Are you curious to learn if Calibr is the best LMS for your learning needs? Get in touch with one of our LMS experts today to learn more about Calibr - Book a Demo.

Let's plunge into the further details of an LMS.

Evolution of LMS

Learning Management Systems (LMS) have changed a lot recently, which shows how quickly technology and education are changing. LMS systems were very simple when they were first released in the late 1990s. They mostly just sent course materials to students and tracked their progress. This was done because more and more people needed tools for learning online. However, there was a lot of growth in the early 2000s, and LMS systems changed to include a lot more tools for contact, work areas, and review modules. As internet speeds rose, more videos and interesting features showed up. This made learning more fun.

A lot of focus was put on making LMS systems easy to use and mobile-friendly in the middle to late 2000s when user experience became very important. You could use cloud-based choices, which were easier to use and could grow with your business at this time. Analytics and AI have become much more connected over the past few years. This has made learning more personalized and given us insights based on data. A lot of different teaching tools can now be used with LMS platforms to make full learning settings that are easier to learn in every way. Even though we live in a digital world, LMS is still an important part of education because it meets the needs of both students and teachers.

What can you use an LMS for?

An LMS, or Learning Management System, is a versatile tool that organizations and educational institutions use for online training, course management, and skill development. Whether you're a small business looking to train your team or a university managing online courses, an LMS provides the structure and functionality you need for effective learning management. Here are some common ways people use an LMS.

Internal Training

An LMS is an engaging and effective method for managing in-house training programs for your employees. It is like a central location for your employees to access all the necessary training materials. You can upload the training material in the form of videos, documents and presentations. Then, the LMS can deliver the material as modules or lessons in a structured format.

Employee Onboarding

An LMS can help you streamline and simplify the onboarding process. You can create programs with modules on company culture, policies, tools and other essential information. It will make the flow of information much quicker and save a lot of time and resources.

Employee Upskilling

As your company grows or there are new developments in the industry, employees will need to learn new skills. Through LMS, you can share training materials on new software, industry trends or job-related specific details. The system can also track the progress or completion of the courses.

Partner Training

An LMS can also help you if you work with partners or resellers by training them about your products and services. It can help in the convenient sharing of training material and certifications. 

Customer Training

An LMS can also be used to give product tutorials, software training, or even customer onboarding programs. It can help customers to learn at their own pace through self-service training options.

LMS Content Standards

Content standards are really important in Learning Management Systems (LMS) because they have a big impact on how digital learning looks and works. Let's dive into some of the important standards that have had a significant impact on the e-learning industry: xAPI, SCORM, AICC, and CMi5.


xAPI, or Experience API, is a modern standard used in Learning Management Systems (LMS) to track and record learning experiences beyond traditional eLearning courses. It allows for the collection of data on a wide range of learning activities, both online and offline, like watching videos or completing tasks. With xAPI in your LMS, you can gather valuable insights into learner behaviors and preferences, enhancing the effectiveness of your online training programs and improving overall learning outcomes.

xAPI is different from its predecessors because it is not limited to traditional LMS environments. xAPI offers a powerful Learning Record Store (LRS) and a flexible "actor-verb-object" approach, giving educators and businesses the ability to make informed decisions and customize learning experiences.


SCORM, which stands for Sharable Content Object Reference Model, is a set of standards that lets online learning content and Learning Management Systems (LMS) talk to each other. It ensures that eLearning content, like quizzes or modules, created in one LMS can be used in another without issues. So, when you're using an LMS to create or upload courses, SCORM ensures everything works smoothly together, making online learning simpler and more efficient.

SCORM has been widely acknowledged as the industry standard for e-learning interoperability for quite some time now. It has made e-learning procedures more convenient, although it does come with a few limitations. 


AICC, or Aviation Industry Computer-Based Training Committee, is another standard like SCORM, specifically for eLearning courses and Learning Management Systems (LMS). It ensures compatibility between content and LMS platforms, allowing seamless integration and delivery of online training. So, when you're using an LMS, having AICC compatibility means you can easily use and manage courses from various sources without any hiccups, making your online learning experience smoother and more effective.


CMi5 is a newer standard for eLearning content in Learning Management Systems (LMS). It combines the best features of SCORM and xAPI, offering more flexibility and interoperability. With CMi5-compatible content in your LMS, you can create engaging learning experiences that track a wide range of activities, making it easier to monitor progress and improve training effectiveness. So, if you're looking to enhance your online learning with a modern approach, CMi5 is worth considering for your LMS.

Each standard has its advantages and disadvantages. However, when taken as a whole, they allow for a customized and evidence-based approach to digital learning. These criteria are important factors that will shape the delivery of education and training as the e-learning environment continues to evolve.

Types of LMS

Today, Learning Management Systems (LMS) are crucial in education and professional development. Their digital platform is designed to make learning, collaboration, and skill-building easier. When you have so many options, finding the perfect fit for your specific needs can be overwhelming. So, let's break it down in simple terms:

Academic LMS

You can think of an academic LMS as a digital classroom designed for educational institutions. These platforms are created to assist teachers in delivering course materials, managing assignments, and evaluating student progress. Imagine a virtual library where students can easily access lectures, readings, and discussions from anywhere with an internet connection. This tool is perfect for students who want to keep themselves organized and engaged in their studies.

Corporate LMS

LMS platforms are commonly utilized in the corporate world for employee training, monitoring progress, and ensuring compliance with company policies and regulations. It is like a virtual training centre where employees can easily learn new skills, get certified, and stay informed about industry trends. Employers view it as a practical approach to invest in their employees and enhance business growth.

Self-hosted LMS

Many organizations choose to host their own LMS platforms because it allows them to have greater control over customization, security, and integration with their existing systems. It's kind of like having your own house instead of renting. You have the freedom to decorate and renovate as you please. Opting for a self-hosted LMS can be a wise decision for larger organizations with specific requirements. You can customize it to fit your needs, giving you more flexibility and scalability.

Cloud-based LMS

However, it's worth noting that cloud-based LMS platforms are hosted on remote servers and can be easily accessed through the Internet. You can conveniently access your courses and materials from any device, no matter where you are. It's kind of like having your files stored in the cloud. Using it is a breeze, and it's designed with safety in mind. Plus, you can access it whenever you require assistance. Cloud-based LMS has the potential to greatly impact organizations with remote employees or distributed teams.

Admin centric LMS

LMS platforms that cater to administrators strive to simplify user management, course creation, and reporting through a range of tools and features. It's kind of like having your own personal assistant to help you stay organized and manage all the different aspects. A focused LMS for administrators can be a real lifesaver for busy administrators juggling multiple responsibilities. It's great because it saves time and reduces stress.

Learner centric LMS

There are LMS platforms that focus on the learner and put a lot of importance on user experience. They offer interfaces that are easy to use, learning paths tailored to individual needs, and engaging content. It's kind of like having a tutor who gets you and helps you do your best. Learning through this approach is quite fascinating and enjoyable because it promotes feedback and collaboration.

Who uses an LMS?

Learning management systems (LMS) are used by a wide range of people and businesses in many fields. Let's look at some well-known LMS users:

Educational institutions 

Learning Management Systems (LMS) are used by schools, colleges, universities, and online learning platforms to offer course materials, keep track of student enrollment, encourage interaction between teachers and students, and measure student growth.


Companies of all kinds, from large multinational enterprises to small and medium businesses, use LMS to train and grow their employees. They could create and run training programs, make sure that rules set by the industry are followed, and improve worker skills and performance.

Governmental agencies 

Governmental agencies use LMS systems to train their workers, make sure they follow the rules, and help them grow professionally. The LMS system's job is to make sure that workers are properly trained and know about important rules and policies.


NGOs often use LMS platforms for training volunteers, running funding efforts, and reaching out to the community. Nonprofits may find that an LMS helps them keep track of workers' progress, train and onboard them, and send them important information.


LMS systems are used in hospitals, clinics, and other healthcare centers to help with medical training, make sure they follow the rules and support medical education. A learning management system (LMS) could help healthcare workers learn about the newest treatments, methods, and best practices.

Defense and the military 

Learning Management Systems (LMS) are often used by military schools to teach troops, sailors, pilots, and other people. The LMS system is very important for making sure that all military members get the training they need and have the right tools for their jobs, whether they are in battle or not.

Professional Associations 

Associations in business and careers use learning management systems (LMS) to give their users access to chances to learn new things and improve their skills. Pros can keep their certifications up to date and learn about new things in their areas with the help of an LMS.

In general, learning management systems (LMS) can be very helpful for people or groups that want to offer training, education, or learning chances in a well-organized and efficient way. LMS might help people reach their learning and growth goals in many areas, like schooling, business training, and more.

Different LMS Implementations

Companies have several options available when it comes to implementing a learning management system (LMS). There are both pros and cons to consider for each option. Now, let's explore the different ways we can deploy an LMS: on-premise, in the cloud, or using a hybrid strategy. 

On-premises implementation

If a business decides to use an on-premises LMS, it hosts the software on its servers and infrastructure. Organisations have complete ownership of the software and data, which gives them a lot of flexibility and control, allowing them to avoid safety concerns. With this option, you must regularly review compliance requirements.

Just keep in mind that there will be a significant upfront financial commitment required if you choose to go with an on-premises setup. These expenses include the costs of hardware, software licensing, and the ongoing maintenance and upgrades done by the IT staff. 

Cloud-based LMS

An external company hosts the LMS software on remote servers in a cloud-based LMS setup. This approach offers you scalability, flexibility, and accessibility. A user can easily access the LMS at any time and from any location, as long as they have an internet connection.

Many cloud-based solutions offer subscription-based pricing structures, giving you the option to pay regularly instead of all at once. Moreover, the supplier handles security, updates, and maintenance, providing the company with the assurance of handling its IT needs. But when we compare it with on-premises deployments, businesses might have a bit less control over customization and data security. 

Hybrid Implementation 

If companies are looking to combine the elements of on-premises and cloud-based technology, they might want to consider using a hybrid learning management system (LMS). On-premises storage of critical information and sensitive material in a hybrid architecture is a common practice to maintain security and compliance. On the other hand, you can store less critical information and content in the cloud, which makes it more scalable and accessible. This strategy helps companies avoid the downsides of different deployment strategies while enjoying their advantages. 

When selecting an LMS implementation, it is important to consider factors such as financial constraints, scalability, and security and compliance standards. Organizations can then choose a deployment strategy that aligns with their specific needs and supports their training and learning objectives.

LMS Pricing

Understanding pricing structures in the Learning Management Systems (LMS) industry is critical for businesses looking for the best match for their requirements. Now, we'll look at four popular pricing strategies: set fee, pay per user (also known as seat-based pricing), pay per active user, and pay per month membership.

Pay Per User Model (Seat-Based Price) 

Under this pricing structure, organizations have to pay a set fee for each "seat" that uses the LMS. This model provides scalability by allowing businesses to alter costs based on the number of users. However, if the number of users grows, expenses may climb, possibly limiting access for small businesses.

The Pay Per Active User model 

This model charges costs depending on the number of people who actively use the LMS during a given period. This technique is cost-effective since corporations only pay for users of the system. However, measuring active users can be difficult, and sudden surges in demand may result in unanticipated charges.

Fixed Price Model 

The Fixed Price model allows organizations to pay for LMS software and any additional services or features in one payment. This technique makes costs predictable, making it easier for businesses to budget. However, take in mind that the system may not be highly flexible. Adding more users or features might boost costs.

Monthly Subscription 

This option requires you to pay a monthly fee to access the LMS and all of its features. With this strategy, businesses may change their usage as needed without incurring unexpected expenditures, providing predictability and flexibility. However, businesses may end up paying for features that they do not fully use.


Both LMS and LXP are important parts of modern learning ecosystems, each with its unique features and functionalities. Organizations need to grasp the distinctions between LMS and LXP to effectively utilize these platforms and make the most of their learning initiatives. So, let's dive into the distinct features of each platform and see how they're shaping the future of workplace learning.

Learning Management Systems (LMS) 

For quite some time now, LMS platforms have played a crucial role in corporate training and education. These tools are created to help you effectively handle, distribute, and keep tabs on organized educational materials and courses. Learning Management Systems (LMSs) are great for creating a central hub where you can organize curriculum, administer assessments, track learner progress, and generate reports. 

They work great for compliance training, certification programs, and structured learning paths. On the other hand, people often have some complaints about traditional LMSs because they can be quite inflexible and don't always support informal or self-directed learning.

Learning Experience Platforms (LXP)

LXPs focus on learner engagement, personalization, and informal learning experiences, which sets them apart from other platforms. LXPs are all about curating and delivering a diverse array of content, such as videos, articles, podcasts, and social learning activities. They use algorithms and user data to suggest content that's relevant to learners, taking into account their interests, preferences, and learning goals. 

LXPs promote a learner-centric approach, encouraging exploration, collaboration, and sharing of knowledge. These are great for encouraging ongoing learning, developing skills, and empowering employees to take charge of their own learning. On the other hand, LXPs may not have the same level of administration and tracking features as traditional LMSs.

Here is a comprehensive guide explaining the difference between LMS and LXP.

Key Features of an LMS

Let's look at some key elements that distinguish current LMS platforms and how they help to create effective learning experiences. 

Content Creation

Creating content helps you successfully deliver your message and interact with your audience. Content creation, whether through article writing, graphic design, or video production, is critical to delivering information in a neutral yet engaging manner.

In today's fast-paced world, content creation is critical to offering engaging and current learning experiences. Generative AI has created new opportunities in the realm of content generation. LMS platforms, like Calibr Craft, have embraced these opportunities to create creative solutions for speedy content creation. Educators can use AI to produce e-learning content that is both accessible and effective for a variety of learners. 

Course Management

Efficient course management is critical for properly organizing content and providing enjoyable learning experiences. LMS systems provide educators with a variety of tools for creating, organizing, and managing their courses, modules, and lesson plans. By automating the curriculum creation process, educators can focus on delivering high-quality information and developing engaging learning experiences. 

Content delivery

Teachers can utilize LMS to provide a variety of teaching resources, including videos, presentations, papers, and quizzes. This versatility is beneficial since it accommodates a wide range of learning methods and preferences. It guarantees that learners may readily access materials that meet their specific requirements and interests. 

Assessment and Evaluation

Assessment is an important part of the learning process because it allows instructors to track learners' progress and understanding. LMS systems provide instructors with a variety of options for creating exams, quizzes, and surveys. These tools enable us to accurately monitor learner performance. When educators include evaluations in their courses, they may identify areas for growth and tailor training to better match the requirements of each learner. 

Tracking and reporting

It is critical to monitor how students are doing and how well they are performing in order to assess course effectiveness and enhance learning outcomes. Modern LMS platforms provide comprehensive monitoring and reporting tools that allow instructors to monitor student behavior, measure performance indicators, and produce thorough analytics reports. Using this data-driven approach, educators may make educated judgments, fine-tune teaching tactics, and continually enhance the learning environment. 

The key capabilities of an LMS, from content creation to tracking and reporting, are critical for establishing effective learning experiences. Using current LMS systems, instructors can build dynamic and personalized learning experiences that motivate students to achieve their goals and realize their full potential.

Top 10 LMS 


Calibr is an LMS that provides a variety of tools that allow in-house experts to easily create courses. It has also incorporated AI technology to enhance the course authoring experience. If companies want an easy and convenient way to author courses, Calibr is a good choice.


TalentLMS provides an LMS design that is easy to use and comes with a variety of tools. It helps in creating courses, managing content, utilizing tools to keep students engaged, and generating comprehensive reports. Their platform focuses on user-friendliness and scalability, making it suitable for businesses of all sizes.


Moodle is a great tool for educators who want to create interactive e-learning experiences. This LMS is available at no cost and is open source.


Udemy has become quite popular as an online learning platform. This tool, although does not conform to the typical Learning Management System, has the potential to significantly improve employee training and development. 

5.LinkedIn Learning

LinkedIn Learning provides a wide variety of courses that cover business, technology, and creative skills, making it a great eLearning platform. This platform offers a distinctive online learning experience for employees, similar to Udemy.


Paradiso LMS is a flexible and easy-to-use learning management system that is designed to meet the needs of various kinds of businesses.

7.Absorb LMS

Absorb LMS is a widely used LMS platform known for its strong compliance features. It provides a diverse array of tools and features to help you create courses, manage content, engage students with interactive tools, and generate reports.


Docebo is a cloud-based LMS that provides a range of features, including gamification, social learning, and mobile learning. If you're a business looking to closely monitor the impact of your training programs, this platform is a great choice. It has strong analytics and reporting capabilities. 


eFront, an open-source learning management system (LMS), offers a range of features. These include tools for course creation, material management, student engagement, and report generation. Its USP is that it is very cost-friendly.

10.iSpring Learn

iSpring Learn is an LMS that offers a wide range of tools and is incredibly user-friendly. You'll find writing courses, tools for managing material, opportunities for student engagement, and detailed reports to keep you informed. Many small and medium-sized businesses opt for it due to its affordability and user-friendly nature.

GenAI and LMS

Generative AI is more than just a buzzword; it's the driving reason behind some pretty interesting advancements in LMS systems. Picture this: LMS systems can now produce personalized content on the fly, propose courses based on your learning style, and change learning paths as you progress. It's like having a personal tutor who genuinely knows you.

But wait—there's more! Generative AI also searches deep into data to discover insights that might help instructors fine-tune their teaching strategies and enhance learning outcomes. It's like having a secret weapon that can uncover hidden jewels amidst a sea of information.

As we ride the generative AI wave, the future of LMS seems brighter than ever. With the promise of individualized learning experiences and data-driven insights, it's no wonder that people feel optimistic about the future of education.

Why Choose Calibr?

Looking for the perfect learning management system for your company? Look no further than Calibr! With Calibr, you're not just getting a platform; you're getting a complete learning experience tailor-made for corporate needs. Calibr's user-friendly interface makes navigation a breeze, ensuring everyone can easily access the resources they need. The product unique differentiation is it's generative AI powered course authoring tool which helps you rapidly create engaging and interactive learning content.  

Are you curious to learn if Calibr is the best LMS for your learning needs? Get in touch with one of our LMS experts today to learn more about Calibr - Book a Demo.


In conclusion, Learning Management Systems (LMS) represent a transformative force in education, offering a comprehensive solution for managing, delivering, and enhancing learning experiences. By harnessing the power of LMS platforms, educators and institutions can create dynamic and engaging learning environments that inspire curiosity, foster collaboration, and drive success. As we navigate the complexities of the digital age, the adoption of Learning Management Systems continues to be instrumental in shaping the future of education and unlocking the full potential of learners worldwide.

Umesh C Joshi

Umesh Joshi is a seasoned entrepreneur with a passion for leveraging artificial intelligence to drive innovation in the field of Learning & Organization Development. With a strong background in technology, Umesh is dedicated to transforming the landscape through cutting-edge solutions. He frequently shares insights and opinions via guest posts, linkedin posts & twitter posts.