What Are Learning Management Systems

Written by Jeremy Horelick
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As more and more corporate honchos are hearing about LMS, a greater percentage are asking: "What are learning management systems?" To some, the primary purpose of an LMS is to disseminate information. To this crowd, the financial benefits that come with increased knowledge and training are a happy consequence of their deployment. Others, of course, see LMS as a financial tool first and a learning tool second.

To the question "What are learning management systems?" one can safely say that they're what's known in medical circles as a holistic remedy--that is to say, they help cure problems company wide (not just at a specific site) and strive for prevention above treatment. The goal of LMS is to put the power of technology and communication in the hands of employees so that they are responsible for their own learning. In our bodily analogy, this enables them to stave off sicknesses before they fully materialize rather than treat their symptoms, the regular clerical and technical gaffes and slip-ups that occur daily at every corporation.

That Doesn't Answer My Question: What Are Learning Management Systems?

The reason it's so hard to field the question "What are learning management systems?" is that they take on myriad uses depending on the type of company using them. For some corporations, the costs associated with flying prospective employees and current trainees around the country is simply too high, and as a result, the most qualified candidates go to companies that can foot this expense. Hence, a company might look to an LMS to solve this particular problem by obviating the need for air travel and conducting interviews and training online.

Another company might be unable to spend the cash on high-priced training seminars. For this corporation, a good LMS system cuts out third-party contractors, many of whom command thousands of dollars to address groups of several hundred workers. An LMS can help defray these expenses by allowing employees to work through their training manuals on their own computers and at their own paces. These are just two of the common uses of LMS. In reality, there are as many reasons for these systems as there are companies using them.

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