Training Management System or Learning Management System: Which Do You Need?


A Learning Management System (LMS) and a Training Record Management System (TRMS) both deal with employee training and competencies. There is some overlap between their functions, but there are also important differences. Comparing an LMS with a TRMS would be similar to comparing BIM and project management software: both are used to complete projects, but they deal with different areas.

  • A Learning Management System is used to manage the complete training process in an organization. This includes scheduling courses based on job positions, managing all the course material required, and applying exams or competency assessments.
  • A Training Record Management System also deals with employee training, but it focuses mostly on compliance and safety. For example, a TRMS can be used to demonstrate employee training during a safety audit, or it can send automatic reminders when legally required certificates are about to expire.

An LMS and a TRMS will both have user profiles to keep track of training received, and also to schedule future courses. There is also plenty of interaction between both systems; for example, if an equipment operator license is about to expire, the TRMS can generate a notification to schedule the necessary training for renewal. Then, the courses are delivered through the LMS.
Let’s compare the main benefits of an LMS with those of a TRMS, and how both types of software can achieve synergy in a company:

LMS Features and Benefits: Top 3 Uses for Learning Management Systems

The training needs of a company vary depending on the business sector, and different job positions in the same company may require very different skills. The following are three of the most useful features offered by an LMS:

1) Creating In-House Training

With an LMS, companies can manage training programs on their own. They can purchase specific courses from different providers, and use them to create a customized training program for each employee. There is no need to rely on a single content provider since an LMS can combine the best training material from multiple sources. Companies can also improve training programs with their own content, such as case studies and lessons learned from previous projects.

2) Delivering Courses Online

Classroom training has its benefits but isn’t always practical in modern organizations. For instance, finding a suitable hour for all workers may be nearly impossible for a large contractor with projects on several sites. However, with an LMS, employees can complete courses online on their own schedule. Some types of training must be completed in-person; for example, a heavy equipment operator must have hands-on experience before driving trucks in an actual project.
However, online courses are now accepted as a way to meet mandatory training requirements in many cases.

3) Assign Competency Assessments and Exams

An LMS is not only useful for delivering courses, since it can also be used to measure individually. Exams can be a source of stress, but there are many ways to make the process motivating, such as “gamification” with high scores and achievements. Just like with course material, companies can use exam formats from content providers, or create and upload their own.
Depending on the type of exam, an LMS can also support remote proctoring, which may be required for some certificates offered by third parties.

TRMS Features and Benefits: Top 3 Uses for Training Record Management Systems

As mentioned above, a TRMS and an LMS are complementary solutions. While an LMS is mostly focused on planning and delivering courses, a TRMS is focused on meeting regulations and company policies. The following are three of the most useful features of a TRMS:

1) Training Certificates Management

Industry regulations may have mandatory training requirements for some job positions, especially in high-risk sectors like construction and mining. Companies may be subject to regular inspections, and they must prove that their personnel has received the right training. This is normally achieved with training certificates, which are issued by approved content providers after learners complete their courses. These certificates normally have an expiration date, and they must be renewed by taking courses with updated content.

2) Training Notifications

Ideally, a company should not allow training certificates and licenses to expire before planning the courses necessary for renewal. A TRMS can keep track of expiry dates regardless of workforce size, and send notifications when key documents are about to expire. This way, the necessary courses can be planned and assigned through an LMS, so employees can continue working without interruptions. If certificates are allowed to expire, employees will be forced to pause some activities until they are renewed.

3) Reporting and Analytics

Large amounts of information are confusing when presented as raw data, and keeping track of certificates and courses manually can be difficult for a safety manager. A TRMS has reporting and analytics tools, which process data into user-friendly reports and formats. If certificate expiry dates are color-coded and filtered by urgency, for example, safety managers can get a clear snapshot of the training required in the short term. On the other hand, this information is not evident in a long table with employee names and expiry dates. At a glance, an expiry date within three months is not very different from another within three weeks.
Reporting and analytics can also be used in an LMS, with a different approach but offering the same benefits. For example, an LMS can provide a quick snapshot of company skills and areas of opportunity, drawing information from a large database of user profiles. By planning the right courses, companies can ensure that their staff has updated knowledge about an industry sector and its emerging technologies.

TRMS or LMS: Who Needs Each Type of System?

Depending on the type of company, one type of system may offer more value, or both may be equally useful. Consider the following examples:

  • A construction contractor with plenty of heavy equipment can use a TRMS to ensure that all operators have valid certificates, while delegating training to an external provider.
  • A consulting company can use an LMS to deliver customized training for clients, who manage regulations and compliance on their own.

Of course, using both systems as complementary solutions is also an option. A large corporation that is subject to many regulations may also decide to manage training in-house, for both continuous improvement and compliance purposes.
In conclusion, a TRMS and an LMS are complementary rather than competing solutions. While a TRMS is useful to meet regulations and to get approved by inspectors, an LMS can be used to schedule courses efficiently regardless of their purpose – compliance or improvement. Both systems are useful, but a TRMS is especially helpful when industry regulations demand plenty of training and certificates, while an LMS adds more value when a company wants to get actively involved in training programs.

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