Entering the Online Learning Industry

The online learning industry is booming. Nearly everyone can create an online course with the right resources and tools. Navigating through the online learning landscape can be complicated and confusing. Many ask themselves what the difference is between eLearning and an LMS or learning management system. We’ll explore those differences and how each can benefit your online learning experience.

What is an eLearning Platform?

eLearning computer image
Image courtesy of Envato

eLearning Defined

eLearning refers to the online learning world as a whole and describes learning materials that are delivered through online means. Any educational material that is presented online is considered eLearning. Children participating in an online coloring class to watching a YouTube video on jumping a car battery can be considered eLearning.

eLearning Platforms

An eLearning platform is a web-based application used for creating and distributing online learning materials. Similar to an LMS, eLearning platforms have the option for users to design and share online courses. An example of a popular eLearning platform is Adobe Captivate, which allows users to create online courses without the need for any coding experience.

What is a Learning Management System?

A learning management system or LMS is a software platform that helps create, distribute, and manage eLearning materials. In addition, an LMS gives users more functionality when designing and managing course materials. Popular WordPress LMS plugins like LearnDash allow users to create and distribute their course content on their own hosting platform.

We cover more on what a learning management system is here.

Learning management system graphic
Image Courtesy of @RyanL via Twenty20

Key Differences Between eLearning and LMS

Fundamentally, all LMS learning is eLearning, but not all eLearning is LMS.

Functionality

eLearning platforms are primarily focused on hosting online course content. An LMS on the other hand offers more features to enhance the learner’s experience such as file sharing and messaging capability.

Price

A learning management system gives you more control over your content and there are a plethora of robust features you can add. Therefore, the price of an LMS can become costly. Choosing an eLearning platform can suffice if you’re looking for a simple way to present online learning materials without all the customization options.

Support

When purchasing any type of software, a major component is quality support. Selecting an LMS gives you the ability to submit queries and open support tickets for any issues you may experience. eLearning platforms don’t always have the option for support, which can lead you to hit a wall in developing or maintaining your online learning materials.

Tracking, Reporting, and Analytics

Tracking learners’ progress is paramount to improving your online course content. A 2020 L&D Global Sentiment Survey concluded learning analytics will take center stage in learning and development going forward.

LearnDash utilizes an enhanced reporting plugin called ProPanel, which offers features such as student real-time activity, manage assignments, and view course progress and quiz results. An eLearning platform may have features similar to this, but not always, and they wouldn’t offer the capabilities that a plugin like ProPanel can offer.

ProPanel enhanced progress chart

The Difference Between WordPress LMS and SaaS

Now that you know what an eLearning platform and an LMS have to offer, are you looking to start creating your own online course? A lot of planning and research goes into creating a great online course and there are many options to choose from. One of our own, Roy Sivan, covers the differences between WordPress LMS and a SaaS solution. On behalf of the hosting platform Pantheon, Roy reviews the benefits of both platforms. He describes his experience building LMS solutions with an emphasis on WordPress LMS and LearnDash.

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