eLearning vs LMS: What’s the Difference?

There are a lot of terms that come up when you start developing eLearning. One of the most common points of confusion is figuring out what’s the difference between eLearning vs. LMS. You know that both of these are platforms that you can use for your eLearning content, but do you need an eLearning platform or  LMS? Or both? 

Quick Definitions of eLearning vs LMS: 

An eLearning platform is a group of technology that you can use for eLearning. 

It is an incredibly broad term that you can use to describe a long list of platforms. 

The term LMS refers to a learning management system. So, an eLearning LMS platform is a specific type of platform that is a learning management system with online courses and training modules all in one place. 

The key distinction of learning management systems is that they not only use eLearning technology to deliver content but also to collect data on the learners. You get to track and analyze data about learners and then manage how they interact with your course. This helps you provide the most value to them. 

LMS platforms have a much narrower definition than eLearning platforms, so you will find fewer of them. 

LMS Platforms Are a Type of eLearning Platform

When you take a closer look at eLearning vs LMS, you will see that LMS platforms are a specific type of eLearning platform. You can compare this idea to geometry and the idea that a square is just one example of a rectangle. 

An LMS platform is an eLearning platform, but there are also plenty of others that exist. 

Other eLearning Platforms

In addition to LMS platforms, another type of eLearning platform is an authoring tool. And another type is a BMS, or business management system. For reference, BMS platforms let you manage your full business while also providing eLearning. 

You may not realize just how many types of eLearning platforms there are in addition to LMS platforms. But if you start to look at various real-world examples of eLearning platforms many people use on a daily basis, you will start to see just how varied they are. 

eLearning platforms can include LinkedIn learning. You could even argue that YouTube is an eLearning platform. As a side note, if you agree that it is an eLearning platform, YouTube would also be an example of an LMS platform. 


As you start planning and developing your eLearning course, you will need to decide on an eLearning platform. In one of our recent blog posts, we’ve shared our list of the top 3 best online platforms for courses and eLearning programs. Remember, that LMS platforms are a specific type of eLearning platform. The term eLearning platform includes all the various eLearning technologies, while LMS platforms only include those that collect data on learners to manage how learners interact. There are also numerous other types of eLearning platforms that you can choose from if you prefer. 


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