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Learning Record Store (LRS) vs LMS

LRS and LMS are very different systems. An LMS is a software used for managing and taking courses, while an LRS is a results database. Let’s explore what is an LRS is and how it differs from an LMS.

44 • Kasper Spiro

What is a Learning Record Store?

A Learning Record Store or LRS is the database that xAPI uses to store learner results. You can have a stand-alone Learning Record Store. They are often used if the learning takes place in different environments, thus offering a central place to gather and store learning results. LRS can also be integrated into an LMS or LXP so that the results of the learning activities are stored there. Most of these LRS is also capable of storing xAPI statements from other learning systems.

Learn what an LXP is.

What is an LMS?

LMS stands for Learning Management System. It is software that helps organizations to manage and distribute their learning content. It is the place where learners see which courses are available and the place where they can take them. An LMS will also track their results. An LMS is mostly used in top-down learning approaches where the L&D department pushes learning content to the learner.

Check out the differences between an authoring tool and an LMS. And learn how you can launch an LMS in 6 steps.

What are SCORM and xAPI?

Both SCORM and xAPI are standards from the ADL that can track and trace learners’ results. SCORM is the old standard launched in the late 90s. xAPI is the newer standard dating back to 2013. Whereas SCORM is made for result tracking inside a Learning Management System, xAPI can track and trace learners’ results from anywhere – this is one of the key differences. In essence, SCORM is like an internal LMS tracking technique while xAPI is a generic approach.

Choose the right authoring tool

With the right authoring tool in-hand, you may not even need a Learning Management System. Our experts created this guide to help you select the right one.

How does an LRS work?

When a learner takes a course, all kinds of xAPI statements can be created based on the actions of the learner. A statement like that has a simple structure and it can describe things like:

  • Starting and stopping time
  • The result of a course (failed, passed, and end score)
  • Questions answered correctly or incorrectly
  • Which answers were given
  • Which pages are viewed
  • How long a page was viewed
  • Total time spent on the course
  • Score per learning objective
  • Incomplete results and progress (so the learner can resume a course later)

These statements are then stored in an LRS. You need to have a separate interface to your LRS to create reports based on this data. So, an LRS acts as a database and a reporting interface.

What’s the difference between LMS and LRS?

Learning vs Result tracking

LMS and LRS are very different systems. An LMS is software used for managing and taking courses. An LRS is a results database.

Do they exclude each other?

No. An LMS can track and trace results either through SCORM or through xAPI. Some LMS software even include an LRS in their offering.

Do I need an LRS?

Yes, because LRS software is the future. But especially if you have more than one place where employees can learn in your organization (for example, different LMS for different regional teams). You want to have one central place to store all results from all learning activities. In that case, an LRS is a must-have.

How Easygenerator supports LRS integrations

xAPI is the default tracking mechanism built into Easygenerator courses. This means an Easygenerator course can always create xAPI statements. Easygenerator courses are even able to send SCORM information to an LMS and the same course can report results to an LRS as well. If you use the Easygenerator tracking and tracing, you will be using the Easygenerator LRS. If you have your own LRS you can track and trace results there.

Check out our Learning Management System guidelines.

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About the author

Kasper Spiro is the Co-founder and Chief learning strategist of Easygenerator and a recognized thought leader in the world of e-learning. With over 30 years of experience, he is a frequently asked keynote speaker and well-renowned blogger within the e-learning community.