Why Do I Need an LMS (Learning Management System)?

When creating your eLearning course, you will hear a lot about LMSs (learning management systems). You may find yourself asking, “Why do I need an LMS?” especially since most people think these are required in creating eLearning courses. However, while they are incredibly helpful, you can technically use alternatives. 

As long as you can find an alternative that offers all of the same functions as an LMS, you can use that. Most course creators, however, will find an LMS to be the easiest method. That is because an LMS completes four crucial functions. 

Function #1. An LMS Hosts Your Course

One of the most important functions of your LMS is hosting your course. This means that the LMS ensures your course is accessible online. Without an LMS, you will need another way to host your course and place it online, such as Dropbox, YouTube, or Google Drive. 

Function #2. An LMS Lets You Sequence Your Course

Another crucial thing that an LMS does is let you organize your course into a sequence. This is crucial as it ensures that your learners know in what order to complete the various lessons and modules. This is a key function of an LMS, regardless of your course format. It applies to text, PowerPoints, videos, SCORM, and Tin Can courses. 

This is an incredibly important function, as it makes it easy for your learners to take your course the way you envisioned. It eliminates any potential confusion about what comes next. 

Function #3. An LMS Delivers Your Course

In addition to hosting your course, an LMS also delivers it. In other words, it brings the content you created in front of your audience. This is an important factor to consider when you’re deciding, “Do I need an LMS?”

Without an LMS, your course would just sit online without any way for your learners to find it. And they can’t learn from the course if they can’t access it. 

Function #4. An LMS Collects Data

Finally, an LMS collects data on your learners. This is easily among the most important functions of an LMS and the hardest to get from an alternative. At the very least, an LMS should let you know who completed the course and how far in the course people have gotten, typically with numbers and percentages. It will also give you information on other aspects of your course that learners have completed, such as assessments. 

This data is important as it lets you ensure that learners are getting the most from the course. It also helps you find areas for improvement within your course. 

Internal vs. External LMS

Now that you know why you need an LMS, you will have to identify whether you need an internal or external platform. The kind of LMS you need is determined by who your learners are. Use an internal LMS for courses designed for people within your organization, like in cases where employee training is needed. 

On the other hand, choose an external LMS for courses that you plan on selling to people outside your organization. Some of these systems can do both, but most will be specifically designed for either internal or external courses. So, make sure you choose an appropriate system. 


An LMS hosts and sequences your course, delivers it to your learners, and collects data on your learners. There are some alternatives available, but most courses will do best with an LMS. 

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