A Training Management System (TMS) is a system used by training providers and learning professionals to organise training delivery, curriculums, student records and communication. Combined with a Learning Management System (LMS), instructor-led training and e-learning can be delivered successfully.
Welcome to Administrate TV. Today we’re going to talk about all the different applications and software products that you can find within the educational technology industry. And if you’ve ever been to a large trade show, or a large gathering, where there’s a lot of different software vendors there, you’ll walk down aisle after aisle, and see hundreds of different products. And a lot of the time it can be really difficult to see how these all fit together.
So we’ve made a quick, handy guide to all the different categories that we tend to find within the educational industry.
Learning Management System (LMS)
We’ll start with perhaps the best known one, which is the LMS, or the Learning Management System. LMS have been around for a while, and sometimes people outside of the industry are confused as to exactly what they are. But essentially it’s just a platform that helps you deliver eLearning content to your students. And not only does it help you deliver that content to your students, but it can provide tracking, and get back scores, you can give quizzes, the results can come back, you can see how far they’ve gone. And that differentiates it quite a bit from a traditional video, or PowerPoint slide, or so on.
Now, an LMS can be thought of like a DVD player, right? You set it there, you put content in, and then it’s delivered to your audience. But where are you going to get the DVD? The way that you author the LMS content, or eLearning content, is by using an authoring tool. And so it’ll help you author that DVD in our analogy, that you can play within your LMS. And most authoring tools output to a format that’s industry standard called SCORM. There’s a couple of different versions of this standard, it’s evolved over time, but most authoring tools will output in the latest versions for you.
The great thing about that is that the content can then be used in a variety of different LMS, so you can take your content with you if you change your LMS in the future.
There are a lot of different authoring tools out there. Some are online, some you download, install on your workstation and use on your local computer. But they’re all pretty much the same, in that you build your content, whether it’s slides, videos and so on, boil it down into SCORM format, load it into your LMS, and then you’re ready to go.
Some of the popular packages are Articulate or Adobe Captivate, but there’s a lot out there just like there’s 100s of different LMS systems out there.
Essentially the LMS is designed to make you students’ life really really easy. They login, they get their education, they log off.
Now the other big and very quickly growing category of software products out there are apps. We all know what apps are, they’re primarily on mobile devices, and there are some really really great ones that are out there that you can find now in the variety of different app stores that are available. These things tend to be very focussed, they tend to be focussed on one specific job or task, and they can really help with things like tracking student attendance, or flashcards, or all these types of things, and they’re really really great. And you’ll see a lot of them, and it’s growing very quickly, and so that’s a very key part of the learning ecosystem that you want to be aware of.
Course Booking System
The other bit that is really important for a lot of training providers in particular, is a course booking system. Now, a booking system is not necessarily just educational related. It can be used for a hair salon or so on and so on, but there are some education specific booking system out there. And what you’re going to want to look for, when you’re looking for a course booking system, is something that will help you easily get your course listings online. And even if you’re not selling your courses, or even if you’re not publicly listing your courses, you may want to have your courses listed on an Intranet, or internal website for example.
So a course booking system will help your enter your courses, get them online, it’ll help with Search Engine Optimisation, if you’re selling your courses publicly, and that’ll just make sure that you get ranked higher on search engines. It’ll also help manage payment processing, so if you’re selling your courses, it’ll help you collect credit cards or debit cards and so on. That’s really really important if you’re running a business or if you need a way for students to able to book on themselves without calling in or writing an email.
Training Management System
Lastly we’ve got the training management system, which we kind of see as the core of the entire learning ecosystem, and there’s a couple of reasons for that. Essentially people will come up to us all the time and say, “What exactly is a training management system? Isn’t that like an LMS?” And we’ll say, “Well it’s kind of like an LMS, and indeed there’s overlap between various different LMS systems and various different training management systems, but the key thing about it is that a training management system is built for administrators, whereas a Learning Management System is built for your students.”
This idea becomes a bit more clear when we talk through the features and the goals that you can expect to find within a training management system. So, for example, most training management systems will have a CRM to help you manage all your different relationships and contacts and accounts, and be able to track all the different interactions you’re going to have in your department or your business over time. It’ll help provide resource tracking, so if you’re delivering training or education that needs particular resources, and these can be as simple as rooms or they can be much more advanced. For example, if you’re doing some yacht training, you need to make sure the right boat is there for the right class. That’s a hard problem to solve in a large organisation, and so your resource management will be very very important. They’ll also help with classroom and offline classroom management. A lot of LMS systems are not really good at helping with offline or traditional classroom instruction. A training management system will be able to bridge that gap and provide all the different management tools that you’ll need to run a class effectively. Stuff like sign-in sheets or feedback forms or reminder emails. All this type of stuff that needs to happen, even if the class is not happening online.
Now a training management system will often interface with an LMS for those times where you want to do a blended learning scenario, where you’ve got a mix of online and offline. Or if you’re just doing some online and you’re just doing some offline, this is a really key thing. And getting close towards the end, reporting is a really big component of a training management system. We find that reporting is generally an afterthought, in a lot of these different applications, and so a lot of people really want to bring their data to the fore, to be able to write reports that match the way that they need to look at their business or their department, and reporting is a really key bit within a training management system.
Lastly, the scheduling. Scheduling is really really important. It takes all the different things that you’ve entered in, and all the different data that you have about your environment, and helps you build a cohesive class schedule.
So just a quick review, you’ve got Learning Management System build for your students that helps you do eLearning. Authoring tools helps get your content into your LMS. Apps - everybody uses, everybody loves. Training Management System is built for your administrator to make their lives a lot easier, save a lot of time and money. And of course the course booking which helps you provide an e-commerce platform even if you’re not selling, you can still do that online booking for your website.
Hope that helps and as always, if you got any questions or comments, let us know! Thanks a lot!