What Does LMS Mean?

Learning without thought is labor lost; thought without learning is perilous.
~ Confucius

What does LMS mean you might have been wondering lately… or not. Though likely if you’ve landed here then you are wondering what the meaning of LMS is.

You’ll be sorry you asked when I’m done with you! Just kidding. But really, LMS can mean any number of things.

Here are a couple of meanings for the contraction LMS that you probably weren’t looking for. Don’t worry, we’ll discuss the most common meaning of LMS in a minute. But while I’ve got you here, why don’t we have just a bit of fun with it.

LMS could refer to the Lady Manners School which was from around 17th century in England. You can imagine what important things they taught the women of the day.

LMS might also refer to the Latin Mass Society which is a group of Catholics promoting the traditional Latin mass. LMS could also be the London Mathematical Society or perhaps the London, Midlands and Scottish Railway – but that has an R on the end.

Lastly LMS might also stand for Library Management System most commonly known as ILS or integrated library system, and it is here that we get closest to the real meaning of LMS, or perhaps the most common meaning of LMS and probably the reason why you are here.

LMS most commonly referes to a Learning Management System.

You might be asking yourself what an LMS or Learning Management System is then. I was asking myself the very same question.

Basically an LMS is a software based application for the distribution, tracking, monitoring and evaluation of online courses, training programs or content material.

Basically if you need to a self-directed online course or web based learning tool for most commonly educational or employee purposes you will most likely buy or build a Learning Management System for that specific purpose. Most businesses buy their LMS and most who build or buy their LMS are somewhat satisfied or greater. 78%+ of LMS users are somewhat satisfied or even more satisfied according to industry polls.

Generally, folks like using a Learning Management Systems in both the school and corporate setting.

The best way to think of an LMS that I can come up with is to point you to the Khan Academy. The story behind the Khan Academy is a great one. Basically, one guy who started by helping his niece learn about math through online tutorials is now helping the world learn practically anything… for FREE!

But if you go the Khan Academy website you’ll see basically an LMS in action. This is how I like to view what a LMS is.

It is an interactive learning experience that can also allow for appraisal and evaluation of learning modalities and outcomes. So with the Khan example, there is an element to the software, the Learning Management Software that allows teachers to watch and evaluate students as they do the practice exercises online after reviewing the material.

A LMS is basically just a very cool way to learn online and in a classroom setting using software based programs.

A Learning Management System instead of being a single program per say is more like a suite of programs under one umbrella. If you think of Microsoft Office then I think you’ll understand better what a LMS is.

The LMS business is huge and currently valued at almost $1 billion.

But the great thing about most online experiences is that there is a free LMS available called Moodle. In fact there are a couple, including the Sakai Project. And of course there are the paid software LMS programs that are available too.

LMS and CMS which often means Content Management System but in this instance I’m using it to mean Course Management System are very similar and in fact the name can be used interchangeably.

Unless you are some type of training organization, a large business or educational institution you will likely become involved with an LMS as a user when you are being trained or having your credentials updated to remain current in your field or you are taking new courses.

Practically any time you learn something new within a curriculum based environment that uses online or web based technologies you are likely using and being introduced to a Learning Management System.