Open Source relates to the concept that the code, in which an application is written, is free and open to all, at no cost. This means that anyone can access the code, download the code and change the code to suit their specific needs. In commercial systems the code is 'hidden' from the users – all they see is the final application.
In the purest terms a Learning Management System (LMS) is user-centric and similar to a Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) which is often used by universities and colleges to allow instructors to manage their courses and exchange information with students for a course.
A Learning Content Management System (LCMS) is content-centric, with the focus on the authoring and management of e-learning reusable content.
ILIAS combines the functionality of both an LMS and a LCMS.
SCORM (Sharable Content Object Reference Model) is purely a set of technical standards for e-learning software products. SCORM defines how to create "sharable content objects" or "SCOs" that can be reused in different systems and contexts. While SCORM standards are useful for portability, they do tend to be interpreted in a variety of different ways by manufacturers so movement from one system to another may not be as easy as you think!
The primary benefit of SCORM is interoperability. If you produce e-learning content that is likely to be run by a client or client[s] on different LMS platforms, then invariably one (or more) of your clients will ask you to integrate that content into their LMS. SCORM allows this integration to happen seamlessly and simply.
A Learning Platform is a term that has been defined to cover any software tool that supports the acquisition and management of learning. Through a learning platform, hardware, software and supporting services are brought together to enable more effective ways of working within and outside the classroom. Due to the proliferation of terms (e.g. LMS, LCMS, VLE, MLE etc) learning platform is seen as a good way of defining the use of software to support learning.
A Learning Platform should some or all of the following elements:
- The syllabus for the course
- Administrative information including the location of sessions, details of pre-requisites and co-requisites, credit information, and how to get help
- A notice board for up-to-date course information
- Student registration and tracking facilities, if necessary with payment options
- Basic teaching materials. These may be the complete content of the course, or copies of visual aids used in lectures or other classes
- Additional resources, including reading materials, and links to outside resources in libraries and on the Internet
- Self-assessment quizzes which can be scored automatically
- Formal assessment procedures
- Electronic communication support including e-mail, threaded discussions and a chat room, with or without a moderator
- Differential access rights for instructors and students
- Production of documentation and statistics on the course in the format required for institutional administration and quality control
- Easy authoring tools for creating the necessary documents including the insertion of hyperlinks