LMS vs. CMS: What are the Differences?
November 28, 2023
Learning Tips Straight to Your Inbox
If you need to manage and deliver content to your team members, you’ve likely considered using an online tool to increase efficiency and empower your employees, customers, and partners.
While their names and acronyms might sound similar, LMS and CMS tools serve distinct purposes.
Discover the critical differences between CMS and LMS platforms, how and when each is typically used, and why it’s crucial to integrate them for maximum value and productivity.
In this post:
LMS vs. CMS: similarities and differences
Though both can be used to educate and empower sales reps or other employees, there are also many ways in which learning management systems differ from content management systems.
From the scenarios where they should be used to the types of content they’re best suited for, CMSs and LMSs serve complementary purposes—but are not interchangeable.
Here’s an analogy you may find helpful. Think of an LMS as a university offering that delivers prescriptive, tailor-made courses based on a curriculum. This allows learners to cultivate expertise and test their comprehension, translating to more skilled employees—and, as a result, more successful organizations.
If you think of LMSs as schools or learning academies, you can think of CMSs as digital textbooks. Much like textbooks, content management systems contain information that supplements and reinforces the curriculum while serving as a quick reference point for learners.
Courses and textbooks each deliver value on their own, but learning is optimized when students have access to both. Content and learning management systems can work together the same way, as we’ll explore throughout this guide.
LMS vs. CMS: How they’re the same
At a high level, CMS and LMS share some similarities in terms of managing content:
- Both allow users to create, organize, and publish content in a structured manner
- An LMS and CMS provide a centralized platform for content management, making it easier to collaborate, update content, and track changes and versions
- CMS and LMS platforms enable users to customize the look and feel of their content, ensuring a consistent branding experience
LMS vs. CMS: How they’re different
While CMSs focus on content publication and management, LMSs go one step beyond by providing comprehensive learning and training features.
Let’s review some of the critical differences between LMS and CMS platforms:
- An LMS is specifically designed to deliver and track employee participation in educational content, such as sales training. A CMS is a user-friendly content management tool that can be used to upload, manage, and organize content of all formats and varieties, including non-educational content.
- An LMS is geared toward the individual learner, while a CMS prioritizes content organization and storage.
- An LMS is ideal for interactive learning, but a CMS is generally not suited to this purpose. A sales CMS is better used for purposes like responding to customers’ needs, sharing content externally, and tracking prospects’ engagement. We’ll discuss when to use a CMS vs. LMS in more detail later.
What is a learning management system (LMS)?
Research shows that there are already more than 73 million LMS users, with managers and executives making up the most significant percentage of those users. So what’s an LMS, what benefits does it provide for your business, and what are some LMS use cases?
An LMS is an online system, such as a cloud-based platform, that lets you supply curated, custom-built educational content for team members. The purpose of an LMS is to facilitate the process of creating and deploying educational courses, training materials, and other learning pathways for employees, customers, and partners.
For that reason, an LMS is ideally suited for situations where learners need to be guided through structured courses, interactive exercises, and high-complexity training materials.
An LMS also makes it easy for administrators to track and monitor learners’ progress, such as testing their skills with assessments or tracking their course completion rates and other crucial metrics.
As a result, it’s faster to identify—and close—any skill or performance gaps impacting your organization’s productivity and bottom-line revenue.
The takeaway? An LMS platform helps your organization develop, deliver, and monitor online training programs and educational content tailored to your brand or industry.
To deliver the strongest outcomes—and the best ROI—an LMS needs to be scalable, easy to navigate, and, most importantly, fun to use. For instance, The Learning Cloud from WorkRamp incorporates trends like gamification and video-based learning to make content more accessible, memorable, and engaging for learners. Creating challenges and leaderboards, for example, is a perfect way to gamify learning and make the platform enjoyable for users.
Other LMS features to look for include:
- Ability to change user roles and permissions
- Accessibility and mobile learning
- Automation of routine tasks
- Branding and white-labeling
- Certification tracking
- Course authoring capabilities
- Customizable learning paths
- Data reporting
- Learning portals within the LMS
- Quizzes, tests, and/or exams
- SCORM and xAPI compliance
- Self-assessment features
- Single sign-on
- Social learning features
- Support for multiple languages
Learn more about finding the best LMS for your business.
Here are just a few ways the right learning platform can help you achieve your most ambitious L&D goals.
- Employees build and acquire skills, creating a more competitive workforce
- Employee education and training programs help you attract and retain highly-qualified team members
- You can track (and increase) the results and ROI you’re getting out of your training programs
It’s important to be aware of some potential pitfalls when selecting an LMS for your business:
- Some LMS platforms might lack the features your organization needs
- Traditional platforms take weeks or months to set up, but WorkRamp can be configured and deployed in just days
The takeaway is that it’s crucial to research and compare different learning management systems before you choose a platform for your organization.
When to use an LMS
An LMS is ideally suited for situations where learners need to be guided through structured courses, interactive exercises, or high-complexity training materials.
Here are a few instances where an LMS can be particularly beneficial
- Corporate Training. Many organizations use an LMS to provide training programs for their employees. With an LMS, companies can create and deliver interactive courses, track employee progress, and assess learning outcomes. This ensures that employees receive consistent and standardized training, leading to improved skills and performance.
- Educational Institutions. Schools, colleges, and universities can leverage LMS platforms to facilitate online learning. LMSs enable educators to create virtual classrooms, upload course materials, conduct assessments, and engage with students in a digital environment. Professional Development. LMSs can be utilized for professional development courses, allowing individuals to enhance their skills and knowledge in specific areas. Whether acquiring new certifications, staying updated with industry trends, or honing specialized skills, an LMS provides a structured platform for self-paced learning and continuous professional growth.
The Learning Cloud is an all-in-one LMS designed to empower learning and development for your employees, partners, and customers.
The Learning Cloud allows admins to:
- Create and manage courses
- Supplement courses with pre-built, off-the-shelf learning content
- Remove, revise, and update learning content
- Track learners’ progress and engagement
- Learners can participate in collaborative activities and challenges, test their skill mastery through self-assessments, enhance their knowledge through personalized learning paths.
The Learning Cloud supports various content formats, such as text, video, and interactive quizzes, making it a versatile tool for online learning. With its user-friendly interface and extensive customization options, the Learning Cloud provides a start-to-finish solution for training, upskilling, and reskilling.
What is a content management system (CMS)?
A content management system, or CMS, provides a platform or framework to publish content to the web for internal and/or external sharing.
Some typical features of a CMS include:
- A powerful, centralized dashboard or command center for uploading content
- A system of tags and labels that make it easier to find and organize content
- Version control and creation of back-ups
- Basic SEO tools, such as features to help you write meta descriptions
- Various integrations, such as integrations with Google Analytics, Amazon Web Services SES, Salesforce, HubSpot, Vimeo, and SEMrush, along with other AI, federated search, marketing, and analytics integrations
Here are a few of the benefits of using a CMS:
- A CMS makes it simpler to distribute and edit all types of content across all types of channels
- Content management systems can be quickly set up and deployed
- You can create and publish content without needing knowledge of CSS, HTML, or any other coding language
A CMS facilitates the process of publishing and editing content, but it does have some limitations:
- CMSs tend to lack some of the interactive features of an LMS
- CMSs don’t typically include features for testing or assessing knowledge and comprehension in-depth
Despite these limitations, a content management system offers value by making it fast and simple to store and manage various content types. You can overcome these limitations and supercharge your CMS by combining your content management system with a learning management system, as we’ll explore below.
When to use a CMS
There are many potential use cases for a CMS, depending on what type of platform you use. For instance, one type of CMS is a sales CMS, like the Learning Cloud.
A sales CMS makes it simple to upload, organize, and share data with your sales and marketing teams. The outcome? More closed deals, better rep efficiency, and bigger wins for your organization.
Learn more about using a sales enablement platform.
Other types of CMS platforms include enterprise CMSs (ECMSs), digital asset management systems (DAMSs), and web content management systems (WCMSs).
Here are a few use cases for these and other types of content management systems:
- Content Creation. Content management systems simplify the process of creating and editing content. You don’t need to be a technical expert or know anything about coding to publish content using a CMS. With just a few clicks, you can create compelling blog posts and landing pages, upload images and videos, and format, revise, or remove content.
- Content Organization.CMSs allow you to organize your content in a structured manner. You can categorize your articles, create tags, and easily search for specific content when needed. This makes it easier to maintain a well-organized website or blog, ensuring visitors can quickly find the information they need.
- Improving SEO. CMS platforms come with built-in tools and plugins that optimize your content for Google and other search engines. With a CMS, you can easily add meta tags to your content, customize URLs, and generate XML sitemaps that boost your website’s visibility in search results. These tools and features drive more organic traffic to your website and improve your odds of being discovered by potential customers.
These are just a few scenarios where you might consider using a CMS. But remember—as we touched on earlier, content management systems often deliver the best value when paired with learning management systems.
Integrating a sales CMS with an LMS enables your organization to reap the following benefits:
- Enable sales reps to easily access sales enablement content to help them perform better
- Guide content strategy to match your team’s needs, avoid duplicate work, and ensure outdated content isn’t shared with prospects or internal employees
- Learners can easily access your LMS and CMS at the same time using single sign-on (SSO)
- Eliminate the need to update your CMS and LMS separately, saving you time and effort
WorkRamp CMS combines the power of an LMS and CMS for all your revenue enablement learning and content. Learn more about WorkRamp CMS and sign up for the waitlist to be notified when it’s released in early 2024.
One well-known example of a content management system is WordPress, which lets you publish blog posts, images, videos, and other content without the need for advanced web design skills.
As mentioned above, the Learning Cloud is a unified LMS and CMS that allows teams to centralize learning content in a single platform.
LMS vs. CMS: Use an all-in-one platform
Combine the power of a sales CMS with the benefits of an LMS to drive growth, boost revenue, and build a better-equipped workforce.
From training your sales reps, management team, and new hires to tracking engagement in courses and certification programs, the Learning Cloud helps you create and deploy training for your employee and customer needs on a single platform.
The Learning Cloud also integrates with your existing tech stack to help you cut down on using disparate learning tools and streamline training in a single, centralized platform.
Want to learn more? Contact us to schedule a free, personalized demo.
Complete the form for a custom demo.
- WorkRamp Announces WorkRamp Communities, the Latest Addition to Its Learning Cloud, Centralizing Customer Learning on One Platform February 27, 2024
- WorkRamp Communities is Available Now: Scale Knowledge, Gain Feedback, and Create a Central Hub for all Your Customer Learning February 27, 2024
- 3 Sales Rep Ramp-Up Strategies to Get Productive Faster February 23, 2024
- 33 Examples of Employee Strengths and Weaknesses + How to Improve Them February 20, 2024
- 9 Examples of Employee Development Plans to Uplevel Your Team February 16, 2024
Emily HomrokWorkRamp Contributor
You might also like
Use training content to enhance employees' knowledge and skills
Training is the main factor that drives employee engagement and performance. Discover the best types of training content to add to your program
What are the benefits of online learning?
When it comes to professional development and continued learning, online courses and programs offer several advantages over traditional in-person options.
Create engaging eLearning content for your teams
eLearning gives organizations the flexibility that other online courses can offer, but creating courses that are engaging and impactful can be harder than you think.