Home > Healthcare Definitions: Course Management System vs. Learning Management System

Healthcare Definitions: Course Management System vs. Learning Management System

Bryan Reed Dec. 14, 2018

In the healthcare industry, ongoing education is essential. It’s what ensures healthcare professionals and administrators are kept abreast of new learning, treatments, and regulatory requirements. It also ensures patients receive the best care possible.

Our healthcare clients come to us for assistance with training, among other things. One of the questions we get frequently has to do with the differences between a course management system and a learning management system. Here’s what you need to know.

What is a Course Management System?

Course management systems have become an integral part of higher education in the United States. Simply stated, a CMS is a system that allows an instructor to do the following things:

  • Create and upload course content for students to access
  • Post class rosters
  • Accept and grade student assignments
  • Communicate directly with students about their coursework
  • Administer quizzes and tests
  • Post grades

The biggest benefit of using a CMS is that instructors do not need to be trained programmers or even know basic HTML to create course content that’s visually compelling and easy for students to use. A CMS is a tool that facilitates learning on a course-by-course basis.

What is a Learning Management System?

A learning management system, or LMS, has some things in common with a course management system. However, there are some key differences.

A well-designed LMS is something that can help hospitals and medical practices track employee training and education in multiple courses. It can serve as a hub for all employee training, including in-house training and continuing education, by providing a central repository for all training content, enabling detailed tracking and reporting of individual progress, and enabling managers to easily assign specific courses. Some examples may include:

  • Emergency evacuation and contingency plans
  • Software training
  • Healthcare certifications (CPR, first aid, etc.)
  • HIPAA compliance training

Many healthcare providers use an LMS to help them monitor employee compliance with training. An LMS can remind employees when a certification is about to expire. It can also keep track of continuing education requirements, run interactive content such as trauma simulations, and serve as a means of oversight for administrators and managers.

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Which System is Right for Your Organization?

The big question is this: Is a course management system or a learning management system the best choice for your organization?

For most large healthcare providers, the answer will be obvious. A learning management system offers greater functionality, more features, and the ability to oversee every aspect of employee training. It can cover your employee manual while also tracking HIPAA compliance and reminding employees when they need to update their CPR certification.

However, that doesn’t mean course management systems are useless in the healthcare industry. If you are designing courses for your employees to take, using a CMS can help eliminate most of the guesswork and make it easy for your chosen instructors to set up the courses they teach without a lot of fuss.

How can you decide? We recommend assembling the people on your training and compliance teams and creating a comprehensive list of your training and education requirements. You should also audit your existing systems, so you know which capabilities you have as well as which ones you need to have in the future.

Once you’ve made your list, you can decide whether a course management system or a learning management system is right for you. In most cases, an organization with extensive and complex training to monitor should choose an LMS instead of a CMS.

Employee training is essential in every healthcare organization. Choosing the right LMS or CMS will ensure that your employees get the training they need.

To learn how Alphanumeric can help you with your employee training needs, please click here.

Bryan Reed

Bryan Reed is the Marketing and Communications Director at Alphanumeric.

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