A learning management system (LMS) is a software application for the administration, documentation, tracking, reporting, automation and delivery of educational courses, training programs, or learning and development programs. The learning management system concept emerged directly from e-Learning. Although the first LMS appeared in 1924 in the higher education sector, the majority of the LMSs today focus on the corporate market. Learning management systems make up the largest segment of the learning system market. The first introduction of the LMS was in the late 1990s.
Learning management systems were designed to identify training and learning gaps, utilizing analytical data and reporting. LMSs are focused on online learning delivery but support a range of uses, acting as a platform for online content, including courses, both asynchronous based and synchronous based. In the higher education space, an LMS may offer classroom management for instructor-led training or a flipped classroom. Modern LMSs include intelligent algorithms to make automated recommendations for courses based on a user’s skill profile as well as extract metadata from learning materials in order to make such recommendations even more accurate.
In the 1980s, modern telecommunications started to be used in education. Computers became prominent in the daily use of higher education institutions, as well as instruments to student learning. Computer aided teaching aimed to integrate technical and educational means. The trend then shifted to video communication, as a result of which Houston University decided to hold telecast classes to their students for approximately 13–15 hours a week. The idea of automating teaching operations also inspired the University of Illinois experts to develop their Programmed Logic for Automated Teaching Operations (PLATO) which enabled users to exchange content regardless of their location. In the period between 1970 and 1980, educational venues were rapidly considering the idea of computerizing courses, including the Western Behavioral Sciences Institute from California that introduced the first accredited online-taught degree.