What are Characteristics of a Learning Management System and Virtual Learning Environment?

What an LMS and a VLE are is one of the common questions people generally ask when it comes to digitalizing learning and education. Most stakeholders in educational institutions are also not clear on the difference between these e-learning tools. This vagueness is because of the interchangeable usage of both terms.

The right knowledge of LMS and VLE is crucial to getting a suitable e-learning facility. Although these systems design is to support e-learning, they are quite different.

To know more about these two systems and to be able to distinguish between them, take your time to go through this article.

What Is the Difference Between An LMS And A VLE?

The main difference between an LMS and a VLE is the variation in their usage. A Learning Management System (LMS) is best for tracking student progress. But, Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) provides students with more in-depth interaction and engagement.

A proper understanding of the features of these tools will allow trainers to choose the tool that is suitable for their institution.

Below are the details on the Learning Management System and Virtual Learning Environment.

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What is a Learning Management System?

The Learning Management System is an all-in-one software system. It aids straightforward documentation and management of skill training. Also, it enhances the delivery of educational courses. Besides, companies use LMSs to meet different compliance requirements.

LMS allows for course creation, the enrollment of students and reporting of data. An LMS is often connected to mandatory Continuous Professional Development (CPD). They are perfect for internal use rather than using them in education. As a result of this, it is better to use LMS for training as it focuses more on instructor and student behavior.

In all, Learning Management Systems have more of a behavioral approach towards training. So, it is a perfect tool for facilitating remote learning of individual trainees

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Characteristics of a Learning Management System

Individual LMS products come with various approaches to licensing, deployment and support. But, all Learning Management Systems (LMSs) have some common features. These general features include:

  1. Efficient Management: the Learning Management System allows for simple administrative processes. This feature helps prevent teachers from getting worked up by administrative busywork. With an LMS, you are sure of automated administrative duties. These duties include scheduling, registrations, progress checks and so on. Also, this software aids better communication between educators and students.

  2. Collaborative Learning: an LMS allows students to have discussions and exchange learning materials. Also, it allows for asking questions and many more practical activities among learners. In other words, the Learning Management System promotes connections among participants.

    This feature helps to solve the problem which students encounter when they want to connect with their teachers. Also, this property helps to deepen the learning experience of students.
  1. Observation and Adaptation: with LMS, you can study and analyze participants’ learning progress. This property helps you to identify your students’ shortcomings. A comprehensive tracking tool by an LMS enables educators to understand their students’ strengths and weaknesses.

    Thus, educators will be able to support their learners in their areas of struggle. At the same time, they prevent their students from burnout while keeping them motivated.
  1. Gamification of Learning: the LMS design supports Gamification. It also supports some other engaging elements like a leader board, reward system, humorous content, etc.

    This feature of an LMS increases the attentiveness of the learners during training.
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What is a Virtual Learning Environment?

A Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) is a virtual space that combines both content and technology for e-learning training. This collaborative platform allows for better learning delivery. It enables educators to perform their job better. At the same time, it aids trainees and students to do their school work from anywhere.

Virtual Learning Environments offers more of a constructivist approach towards training. This property of VLE makes it more suitable for group learning. This feature is vital because it enables interpersonal interaction and collaboration between the trainer and the learners.

Features of a Virtual Learning Environment

Some of the unique features of a typical VLE are:

  1. Real-time Assessment and Feedback: a VLE enables tutors to design fitting measurements. This measurement includes; quizzes, basic tests and so on. This feature is suitable for students’ level of knowledge and age. It also supports personalized assessment, smooth feedback and integrated reporting. In all, this feature gives a real learning experience.

  2. Multimedia Enhancements: the VLE allows for the use of voice, text and images. The result of this is a more engaging and interactive learning experience. The use of emoji’s, humorous texts, and appealing graphics and so on makes learning more fun. This property motivates and makes students eager to learn.

  3. Adaptability and Learning Comfort: Virtual Learning Environment offers comfort. It helps to simplify and lessen teacher’s workload because of its grading features. In other words, this system allows educators to create a grade scale for efficient recording of grades. It also enables students to have access to their grades with ease.

    With VLEs, documents are easy to recover after a long time as it saves and archive all shared documents in a place.
  1. Organization and scheduling feature: a VLE fixes time management problems encountered by students. So, this property allows students to plan their time and adjust classes to fit their schedules. In other words, this feature helps to solve the struggle students have with organizing and scheduling their time.


The answer to the question about the difference between an LMS and a VLE depends on your training requirements as a trainer.

Most LMSs and VLEs have related features like forums and reporting systems. But their emphasis and mode of usage help to distinguish the two systems.

An LMS generally serves as a valuable resource for CPD, in-house training and training. A VLE is favorable for educational institutions. This property of VLE is due to its provision of a better personal and collaborative approach. So, it allows students to achieve their educational goals.

With this information, you should be able to differentiate between these e-learning tools. Also, you should be able to choose the one that best suits your needs.

About The Author

Daren Nadav

Daren Nadav

Daren Nadav is the Co Founder of CourseForMe, which is a leading platform to find the best courses available online and delivers inspiring content related to eLearning. Daren holds a B.A in Economics and business management.

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