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History of the Learning Management System (LMS)

Posted on June 22, 2016 By Jake White

The idea of using technology to aid learning is not new, but our ability to effectively administer well-managed learning programs from afar has vastly improved in just a short time. The Learning Management System (or LMS) is the result of almost a hundred years of using machines to elevate the way we learn. But where did it all start?


A brief history of Learning Management systems from Torch LMS.


Perhaps the first recognizable step towards automated teaching and learning management systems was Sidney Pressey's teaching machine. A somewhat simple device, it was able to give students multiple-choice questions through a small window. Since then, computational technology has come a long way in giving us more complex machines, and people have found clever ways to utilize this technology for teaching.

 In 1960, the University of Illinois designed a program it named PLATO, or Programmed Logic for Automated Teaching Operations, which allowed multiple users to contribute to and access course material. While this was the beginning of realizing a system that would allow for distance learning and teaching, there were still many roadblocks to making it accessible to the world.

 The stage for the easy accessibility we enjoy today was set by two important events: the invention of the first ever desktop personal computer by Hewlett-Packard in 1970, and the launching of the world wide web in 1982. Computers gradually went from being expensive devices that were only used by professionals, to being a useful tool for the common man. The invention of the internet, of course, meant that these computers could remotely connect teachers, managers, and learners to one another.

 Armed with all of the tools they needed to make eLearning available to the masses, Softarc launched the first distance learning system in 1990 named LMS FirstClass. Ever since then, programmers have been designing LMSs that better meet the needs of teachers and students, and include more and more intuitive tools that improve our learning in unique ways.

 Since their creation, LMSs have been used to teach students, train employees, and to introduce casual learners to new ideas and skills. There are a plethora of different LMSs that are designed to fill a variety of needs.

 At Torch LMS, we’ve combined the cumulative knowledge of our technological predecessors with our business experience to create a practical, easy-to-use LMS for business. Get to know us better by visiting our website or by contacting us. Put this hard-working technology to work for your business, and see what the right LMS can do for you.