What is an LMS?

An LMS or Learning Management System is essentially a web-based classroom space.

learning LMS illustration

A good way to think about it is to imagine an empty box on a web server somewhere. Into that empty box, teachers, instructors and course designers can easily upload course content. Not an empty box anymore!

By password protecting the empty box, you can make sure only your learners can gain access. Of course, once a user account system is in use, automated learner tracking (analytics) becomes available. You will know when your students logged in and what learning resources they accessed.

A good course consists of more than just content though. All LMS systems will have 'Added Value' tools. These are online tools that enhance or enrich the learning experience and facilitate instructional tasks such as Assessment, Collaboration, Discussion or other activity types.

LMS systems may also be known as Virtual Learning Environments, or VLEs, or perhaps Course Management Systems (CMS). But these really all describe the same application for providing an online learning environment, or virtual classroom.

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