Is a Learning Portal Different from an LMS?
These days, we hear a lot about learning portals and learning management systems (LMS). They are great tools, offering the benefits of more efficiency and organization in a world where things seem to have gone awry. Yet many people know little about them. One question that people seem to ask quite a bit is, “Is a learning portal different from an LMS?”
What Makes Them Different?
The most significant difference is that an LMS is an application geared toward employers, administrators, and teachers and made for creating courses and monitoring and assessing learners. On the other hand, a learning portal is a doorway that is geared toward the learners and their needs. It contains all of the educational materials and resources necessary for the learner to complete their training in one, easy-to-access hub while also allowing the administrators, employers, or teachers to track and gather reports on any activities conducted in the hub.
An LMS typically has additional bells and whistles that allow the administrators, employers, or teachers to author and manage content and other great things! The downside is that it is a campus-style website—all business and no play.
The learning portal, though, being the activities hub of sorts, includes formal training, but it may also have other things to help the learners feel more engaged, such as:
- Informal courses;
- Forums where they can interact;
- FAQs for interacting with their instructors;
- Blogs they can learn from or even contribute to;
- Ecommerce stores full of materials they may need;
- Social marketing tools; and,
- Other activities.
The most comprehensive LMS that we have found is the NEO Learning Management System.
Which One Is Better?
Both the learning portal and LMS are similar and are similar in what they’re able to offer. However, there are those little details, and you know what they say, “The devil is in the details.” Ultimately, it comes down to you and your learners and what function you want your system or portal to play. Out of the two, the learning portal has naturally developed into the chosen method for training, supporting, and engaging employees and students. Many have grown to love their learning portals for the efficiency they provide and their effectiveness in the field. However, you must remember what a portal is.
A portal is merely a doorway through which you can view content—where it can be hosted, viewed, and downloaded (if allowed). It can come with some reporting abilities. But… it focuses on your learners and caters to them.
An LMS caters to the teacher or administrator, gathering all of the information necessary (and then some) for the teacher’s assessments while also delivering the lessons to the learners. But… it’s not as engaging for the learners.
As I said, it depends on what you want and need. Many institutions begin with a learning portal and then switch over to using an LMS as they grow. A small school really only needs that which a portal can provide, but a larger institution may find that a learning portal cannot meet their needs.
What About an SLMS?
Another new critter in the tech-ed world is called the SLMS, or the Social Learning Management System. An SLMS takes the traditional aspects of an LMS and merges them with the features of social media. It offers live streaming, social streams, chats, gamification, groups, and more. In this way, learning is supercharged!
Offering all of this and more for free, Pedagogue is the best SLMS out there today!
After you decide whether to use a learning portal, LMS, or SLMS, you can start turning your face-to-face class into an evergreen online course!