The learning management system (LMS), a software application being used widely for effective administration, easy documentation, data-based reporting, conducting educational courses, and providing corporate training, had started gaining social acceptance just from its introduction almost two decades back. Continuously developed advanced LMS tools simplified the knowledge-sharing at any level in the corporate and academic world. The increasing use of mobile devices also contributes to its growth. According to a research report added to ResearchAndMarkets, LMS market volume is expected to grow @19.6% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) to touch USD 22.4 billion figure by 2023.

Common Elements of Corporate and Academic LMSs

An increasing inclination for digital learning, ‘bring your own device’ policy at corporate training, enterprise mobility, government initiatives for LMS growth, growing use of Artificial Intelligence (AI), wider acceptance of Machine Learning (ML) etc are the prime growth drivers for LMS in 2021. As of today, LMS is being used widely to address divergent learning needs of the corporate world and academic world. Corporate and academic LMSs have some common traits:

  • Both systems provide remote access to course/training at a convenient time to learn at own pace.
  • Both systems have automated tools for content development and management.
  • Both the systems automate the learning process according to the gained and to be gained knowledge.

The difference between both the LMSs appears at the point of focus on the user’s specific needs. Learning management software is just like a shirt that needs to be tailored differently for academic and corporate learning needs.

Difference between Corporate LMS and Academic LMS:

Although there is no differentiating line between corporate LMS and academic LMS, still, it is better to use the LMS optimized for the particular learning needs of users. Following aspects create differentiating line between corporate and educational LMSs:

  1. Training type:

    Overall an LMS as a platform is more on providing deep knowledge and perfect understanding of particular course topic encompassing theoretical/historical aspects. Academic learners are inspired to express their curiosity to know more and experience gained knowledge. The academic LMS is focused more on theoretical aspects rather than on practical aspects. On the other hand, corporate LMS is designed with a focus on the implementation of gained knowledge (practical aspect); so, that the participants could experience improved expertise to perform better.

  2. Update frequency:

    The Academic LMS doesn’t need frequent updates because the course content is based more on established principles and theories that change hardly. On the other side, the corporate world needs to perform according to ever-changing needs and competency parameters. Therefore, corporate LMS needs frequent updates to incorporate the required changes.

  3. Course scheduling with timeline management:

    Academic LMSs support the common units like semester, academic year, curriculum, etc; therefore, course schedules are less varying year after year. The timeline for academic LMS is already known. On the other side, the corporate LMS is flexible to cope-up with variations emerging because of various factors like new requirements, changed project nature, incorporation of new technologies, changing marketplace environment, etc.

  4. Support culture:

    It is also an important differentiating factor between academic and corporate LMSs. The Academic LMS is focused more on workflows; the trainers are well versed with academic issues related to a particular course or topic. Corporate LMS is focused more on providing expertise at the enterprise level addressing the identified needs.

Difference In Most Used Terms In Academic and Corporate LMSs:

Corporate LMS Terms:

  • Courses: In the corporate training culture, courses are not week’s long events; instead, these are scheduled just for one or two days with time-framed specified sessions. Courses are designed to address the particular knowledge and expertise gaps not to teach the basics.
  • Calendar: In the corporate training culture, trainers don’t follow a specific syllabus, as it is not required. The training is aimed to improve performance at work. The measured workload and its type decide the training methods and period.
  • Classes: Corporate training allows the switching over of participants according to their changed working profiles. One class is held to address one specific issue; anyone concerned with that issue can attend the class.
  • Tests: Corporate training often concludes with an online test to measure its effectiveness, boost in performance of participants, and the changes in working.
  • Certifications: Instead of grading, employees’ learning is measured by certification level; it shows how much they learned and how much they would be benefited in the future.

Educational LMS Terms:

  • Syllabus: Course outline is articulated according to particular knowledge and its learning scope for that category of people.
  • Course: Course is themed learning set for the duration of weeks comprising many classes.
  • Classes: Classes provide an environment to imparting the defined knowledge with fixed parameters to a group of students.
  • Tests: Tests are conducted to measure the learning of different topics at a personal level. Results of tests are considered to grade in the final exam.
  • Quizzes: Quizzes are conducted to engage the students and to provide them opportunities to showcase their learned skill with boosted confidence.
  • Grade book: After the final exam, a grade book, containing marks for all the tests, is issued to students that shows the improvement because of LMS.

Key LMS Features You Shouldn’t Overlook:

The LMS for the corporate or academic world is designed with a set of objectives fit for a particular group of participants. Although customization of LMS is imperative but the best chosen LMS must have at least following features to deliver expected results:

  • Social media support
  • Data migration
  • Personalized learning
  • Customizable reporting
  • Collaborative learning tools
  • Intuitive user interface
  • Multi-platform accessibility

Concluding Note:

As the requirements of the corporate world for filling the knowledge gaps among the existing employees to incorporate the latest technologies and refined methodologies are changing fast, the variety of free to use cloud-based LMS is also increasing but customization of LMS to address the particular issue is also a widely followed practice.