LMS + TMS = A Match Made in Training

Just as a successful dance requires two partners, the effectiveness of learning programs hinges on the collaboration between a Learning Management System (LMS) and a Training Management System (TMS). However, for many professionals in Learning and Development (L&D), the tools often paired with their LMS for managing instructor-led training (ILT) are limited to “cross-functional” spreadsheets – hardly the ingredients for an exemplary love story.

In the pursuit of simplicity in learning operations, training administrators frequently attempt to stretch the capabilities of their LMS to manage ILT/vILT training. Yet, as highlighted by the Brandon Hall Group, this approach results in missed opportunities to modernize the classroom experience, leading to “gross inefficiencies when it comes to ILT.”
Definitely not the love story you’re expecting, but fear not, there’s a brighter side to this narrative. Before we delve into the better part, let’s revisit the role of the LMS.


The LMS excels in delivering top-notch eLearning experiences and fostering user-friendly interactions for learners. Its love story revolves around eLearning and the learner, playing a pivotal role in the learning tech stack by addressing these functions.

Nevertheless, in the quest to enhance course scheduling and resource management for training, L&D professionals often resort to integrating a disjointed array of spreadsheets and databases with their LMS. This results in an administrative workload that is already burdensome becoming even more cumbersome!

The Missing Piece: The Training Management System (TMS)

To bridge the gap between eLearning delivery and training administrative duties, L&D professionals turn to a specialized software integration – the Training Management System (TMS).

A TMS stands as the essential tool for training providers, addressing scheduling, administrative, and management tasks. Think of the TMS as the supportive partner that ensures the entire learning operation is a success. While the LMS focuses on delivering eLearning courses, the TMS handles the back-office functions that are crucial for the success of ILT, vILT, and hybrid training programs. This includes routine administrative duties such as managing training schedules, dates, courses, and resources, along with advanced functions like instructor availability, conflict management, training budget oversight, in-depth reporting, handling multiple currencies and time zones, and compliance with training regulations.

For learning operations that involve selling training to external entities, a TMS can facilitate the entire sales cycle, including learner registration, course promotion, payment processing, and invoicing.

As the central point in your training operations, the TMS uniquely manages administrative duties, ensuring that programs stay within scope, under budget, and on time. It accomplishes this by overseeing critical features like course scheduling management, instructor management, budget and cost tracking, and reporting and analytics.

Perfect Harmony: The Need for Both LMS and TMS

Like the inseparable pair of Romeo and Juliet, when it comes to ILT and vILT training, an LMS must be coupled with a TMS. Understanding the compatibility of these platforms within your broader training operation involves recognizing their vertical integration and how they enhance your operation’s approach to lean management.

In terms of vertical integration, training programs thrive when each component in the learning tech stack fulfils its role with maximum efficiency without taking on secondary duties. Just as an LMS excels in delivering eLearning and providing an interactive learning experience, the TMS specializes in offering a complete and efficient system for managing back-end administrative tasks.

When either the TMS or LMS overextends its specialization within the learning tech stack, it violates lean management principles in the training operation. The goal of running a “lean” operation in training management is to optimize back-office processes, allowing the training team to deliver more with less effort. This includes minimizing redundant administrative tasks that could compromise quality and time spent on non-value-adding activities.

Love is Complicated. Training Management Shouldn’t Be

For over 20 years, our partner Training Orchestra has helped over 600 organizations worldwide address training management issues for companies of all industries. From virtual and in-person learning instruction to managing hybrid learning operations for global companies, they’ve crafted the perfect training management system to address the most critical needs of learning professionals and training departments. Ready to see how you can train more with less? Contact info@apprendere.com to see how you can add efficiency and scale to your training operation today!

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