The Training Management System (TMS) or the Learning Management System (LMS): Which is Right for You?

Page cover image

When searching for learning technologies to build your learning tech stack, you’ll find hundreds to choose from. We see most learning teams starting with a Learning Management System (LMS) or Learning Experience Platform (LXP). However, in some cases learning teams not only want to offer great eLearning content to users, but aim to streamline operational learning processes like planning of attendees, facilities, trainers, etc. So, what about the Training Management System, otherwise known as a TMS?

LMS & TMS, the two may sound very similar, but actually have very different functionalities – and you won’t want to mistake one for the other. So, what’s the difference between a Learning Management System and a Training Management System Let’s take a deep dive into the two technologies so you can decide which, or if both, are right for you.

Image Content
LMS & TMS

A Learning Management System (LMS) is a software that helps manage eLearning and the learner, by enabling content management, course delivery, and progress tracking and learning analytics.

On the other hand, a Training Management System (TMS) is a back-office software that helps training organizations streamline and optimize training operations for in-person and virtual classroom training, providing a more efficient way to manage, track, and sell training.

Let’s take this a bit further for better understanding, as it all comes down to the how your delivering your learning content.

eLearning, In-Person Training & vILT

When it comes to delivering learning to employees, customers or partners, most organizations are using eLearning, Live In-person, and Virtual Classroom or a blend of all of the above.

eLearning is fully web-based, and courses can be taken anytime the learner would like.

In-person Training takes place face-to-face with a live instructor. It can also include live virtual training led by an instructor, also called vILT, or a hybrid mix of both.

Since eLearning and Classroom training obviously are very different, managing each requires a different set of tools.

A Learning Management System is mostly dedicated to managing your eLearning. It allows content managers to organize, deliver, and monitor online courses through an end-user interface.

Training Management System helps organizations manage in-person training and virtual instructor-led training processes. You can expect your TMS to help with tasks such as: building complex training schedules, assigning trainers and resources to classes, instructor collaboration, tracking costs per session, region, or business unit, and much more.

Of course, the TMS and LMS can complement each other. So, organizations that deliver in-person and virtual classroom training as well as eLearning might choose to invest in both systems.

No matter how you’re using classroom training and eLearning, separately, together or as a blended approach, you’ll want to choose learning software that can interface with each other to give you a unified solution tailored to your specific needs.

Front-Office & Back-Office Management

Although there’s only a one-word difference between these two expressions, it’s an important one.

A Learning Management System is built specifically for the learners and focuses on registration and delivery processes. It is centered on this interaction with the learners, so the number and diversity of day-to-day users are much larger. As such, the end-user experience is at the center of the software, and much of its value lies in the fluidity and intuitiveness of its front-end user interface.

In contrast, a Training Management System is focused on organizing in-person and virtual training sessions and is built for training administrators and the core training back-office processes. A TMS aims to streamline operational learning processes like scheduling and training resource management, operations and logistics, instructor collaboration, financial planning and performance, reporting, and sales cycle management.

Image Content
To make shortlist the right systems for your requirement

Although the lines can get blurry, the LMS is focused on front-office capabilities for the learners, whereas the TMS is centered on back-office training processes and is built for training administrators.

This is why you need to closely assess your needs and ask yourself:

  • What is your share of instructor-led training vs eLearning?
  • Does my difficulty lie more in content management and course delivery, or in logistics, cost tracking, and back-office admin processes?
  • Can my current software handle those items as in-depth as I’d like?
  • What is the core purpose of the software you’re looking at? Which features are central and which ones are peripheral, and will you be able to get good support on all these features?

These types of questions will help you determine what kind of software really fits your training needs.

There are many learning technologies on the market today and we partner with some of the best. Reach out to us if you appreciate a structured conversation on what technology to look at for your organization’s needs.

Looking at training management specifically we have recently been working on implementation projects of Training Orchestra. This is a training resource management software that automates and optimizes Classroom and Virtual Classroom training operations: session scheduling, resource management, instructor calendars/collaboration, cost tracking and reporting. As a complement to the LMS, LXP and other learning systems, Training Orchestra can replace all spreadsheets and manual tasks and help L&D, training companies and associations increase resource use, optimize session scheduling, and track and control costs in real-time. If your team is looking at streamlining these processes, our team is happy to share our know-how.