by R. McGhee | Feb. 28, 2022 | 5 Min Read

What you need to know about online and virtual learning environments

female employee engaging in virtual learning.jpg

We know many organizations wonder about the key differences between LMS vs. VLE, but have you thought about the differences between these other virtual learning acronyms – LMS vs. CMS vs. LCMS? They all sound so similar, so how do you know which is the best option for your business?

Well, you’ve come to the right place!

We’re going to cover everything you need to know about selecting the best virtual learning environment for your team, including:

  • Advantages of virtual learning
  • Benefits of VLE
  • LMS vs. VLE
  • LMS vs. CMS vs. LCMS (and how they work for e-learning)
  • Choosing an LMS for your business

Virtual learning has many advantages for organizations and their employees. Once you know the differences between LMS vs. CMS vs. LCMS, you’ll better understand what works best to achieve your organization’s goals.

Advantages of virtual learning

The new remote work trend allows you to hire the best employees, regardless of their geographic location. It’s a huge benefit with major returns since traditional barriers like location are no longer a factor.

But with this benefit also comes responsibility.

Employees want the opportunity to learn and grow, and if your business doesn't provide virtual opportunities for upskilling, you risk losing these great employees to one of your competitors.

When you enable your employees with the opportunity to upskill continually, you create a win-win situation for them and your company. E-learning allows your business to provide training and continuing education to a geographically diverse staff across multiple disciplines.

Some advantages of virtual learning are:

  • Better employee retention
  • Training consistency
  • Savings in company time and money
  • Access to important resources
  • Scalability as your company grows
  • Flexibility for your employees’ lifestyles
  • Timely feedback for employees and managers

As you can see, there are many advantages of virtual learning for your organization.

So how do you bring these advantages to life? And what is the difference between some of those key acronyms like LMS vs. VLE?

Let’s explore how to create a virtual learning environment below.


VLEs and LMSs are very similar in purpose and execution.

However, a VLE (virtual learning environment) is geared towards education, while an LMS (learning management system) brings training to life in the workplace.

Benefits of LMS

An LMS uses the essential concepts of a VLE and applies them for business training purposes. Some benefits of an LMS are:

  • Customizable training paths and specialized features to tailor your course content to your organization's goals
  • Tracking and real-time reporting so you can measure and report on employee progress and competency
  • Opportunities for collaborative learning across geographic distances
  • Compatibility with mobile use as well as various operating systems and integrations for optimized technology experiences

An LMS provides your employees with the skills training and professional development they need to feel challenged and valued. When they know you’re investing in them to help them do their best work, they can better contribute to your company’s growth and success.

Benefits of VLE

A virtual learning environment helps educators provide an engaging learning experience no matter where their students live.

As you think about how to create a virtual learning environment, consider the benefits of VLE:

  • Enables students to complete schoolwork, projects, and classes from almost anywhere
  • Gives teachers the ability to personalize student schedules
  • Allows students to communicate with their teachers and peers
  • Shows progress and outcomes in real-time so teachers can track student data
  • Provides a place to store content and access VLE resources at any time

There are many benefits to virtual learning environments, but what about some of the other popular platform types?

LMS vs. CMS vs. LCMS (and how they work for e-learning)

Now that you understand the importance of an LMS for organizations, let’s explore two other key terms: CMS and LCMS.

A CMS, or content management system, is a software application for users to build and manage a website without knowing how to code. Users can create, modify, manage, and publish content through a simple interface.

A CMS typically comes with:

  • SEO features and extensions
  • Pre-designed templates to easily customize your website’s appearance
  • Security features
  • Built-in blogging functionality and extensions

Some organizations use a CMS to build a reference library of training materials for their employees. While the benefits of a CMS may sound great, a CMS isn’t the best fit for every kind of content and learning material.

Consider these three questions:

  1. How complex is the material? While many CMSs can host rich media, there are some limitations to the type of content your CMS can store.
  2. Do you need to be able to administer tests or quizzes? If you need to assess employees and have access to reporting, you need an LMS, not a CMS.
  3. Is your material confidential or sensitive? With a CMS, you might need password protection or have to host your CMS on an internal or private server. A robust LMS already has this built-in technical support and security.

There’s a way for a CMS to be used in e-learning, though. A Learning Content Management System (LCMS) is a CMS with the learning mechanisms to:

  • Foster collaborations between teams
  • Create learning activities
  • Host learning materials for easy access
  • Repurpose learning assets more efficiently
  • Track content for digital learning

However, the major difference between an LMS and an LCMS is that the LCMS is really designed for the learning or training creators themselves, and not for the employees of your organization.

Understanding the differences between CMS, LMS, and LCMS for e-learning and training is the first step to deciding which platform works best for you and your business.

Choosing the right LMS

LMS vs. VLE or CMS vs. LCMS — there’s an acronym for everything nowadays. We know all these acronyms can be confusing, so, let’s review to make sure you got it right.

Today, you should’ve learned that:

VLE vs. LMS vs. CMS vs. LCMS all serve different purposes and audiences:

  • A VLE works best for educators and schools
  • AN LMS allows you to use a range of learning experiences and technology to train and develop employees to achieve personal, team, and organizational goals
  • A CMS isn’t the best fit for every type of content, especially learning content
  • An LCMS specializes in digital learning content creation only

If you’re looking for the perfect workplace training tool, then look no further than Spoke® Technology Learning Platform from Unboxed.

At Unboxed Training and Technology, our Spoke® LMS does everything you need for your employees, including allowing them to discover new opportunities, quickly react to business challenges, and bring a new level of success to themselves and your company. It also allows you to create content that’s tailored to each team in your organization. So whether you need to upskill your sales team, customer service reps, or managers (or all three!), Spoke® will make training easy, engaging, and effective.

Contact us today to learn more about Spoke® and what our LMS can do for your business.

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