eLearning Platform or LMS?

What are the differences between an eLearning Platform and an LMS?


If we look at the LMS definition, there are a couple of elements involved; administration, documentation, tracking, reporting, and delivery. Some prominent LMSs meet and exceed the requirements of this definition, and so we call them an LMS.

Some vendors, however, can’t provide all these services. They sometimes then call themselves an eLearning platform to remain competitive in the market. You can often find basic solutions out there that are classed as “eLearning platforms”, on which you can upload and distribute content, but they lack in terms of administration, tracking and reporting components.


As we can see from above, establishing differences between an LMS and an eLearning platform is complex, and more often than not, it comes down to chosen terminology. In essence, an LMS is a type of platform, because a platform is a base to work from.

All LMSs could be considered eLearning platforms, but not all eLearning platforms are specific enough to be considered an LMS. To be a true eLearning platform, an LMS should sit at the heart of your learning strategy. It should be the starting point for all training activities and learning opportunities, including:

  • Course creation
  • Content storage
  • Enrollment process
  • Delivery
  • Taking courses
  • Gamification
  • Discussion
  • Social sharing
  • Certification
  • Reporting

So, when it comes to the differences between an LMS and an eLearning platform, all the reasons above should be taken into account. Simply put:

  • Some are an LMS and an eLearning platform
  • Some are just an LMS
  • Some are just a website, or another basic tool, that call themselves a platform

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