The digital learning market is growing at the exponential rate and it is expected that the total market size is likely to exceed the value of $375 billion by 2026. This is almost a 100 % growth if you compare it to the market size of US$187.877 billion in 2019.
And with an increasing number of people staying at home and opting less for on-premises learning, there is an immense potential in the industry and perhaps it is due to this reason that learning management systems are becoming one of the most widely used and sought after online tools.
Learning management systems are gaining popularity because they are flexible, agile and provide ease of learning not just for the learners but also for the teachers.
You can find out some of the best teachers around the world who can design online courses for you that you can take while living in any part of the world.
Moreover, as a learner, you get the flexibility to take online classes or study course content on any platform or device whether using a desktop at work, a tablet during commute and a laptop at home.
And this is exactly why an increasing number of organizations are relying on learning management systems to improve the skills of their workforce for the upcoming project, incorporating values such as teamwork and empathy or simply an up gradation of administrative skills such as team management, HR compliance, and more.
And it is not just beneficial for the learners but it is equally important for teachers who can create content on almost anything and put it up for sale through online learning platforms.
If you are an organization looking forward to getting started with eLearning, you need a reliable learning management system (LMS).
But with 1000+ LMS vendors, the choice of the best LMS available on the market can be overwhelming and the task of finding the right one for your organization can be challenging. However, we can help you make the right choice.
With our ranked and reviewed best learning management systems, you can pick up the best one for your business or organization. Our reviews are based on features, prices, performance and pros and cons.
And even if our suggested LMS do not serve your need, you can take a look at our buying advice that will guide you about some of the must-have features that makes an LMS worth investing.
And lastly, you will find answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about learning management systems. So let’s get started.
Best Learning Management Systems – Reviews & Buying guide for 2021
Overall Best: SkyPrep LMS
- Pricing: $199 – $499 USD per month with a 14 days free trial.
- Best For: Organizations of varying size looking for a learning solution for training modern employees, customers, or partners.
SkyPrep is an award-winning Learning Management System that is best for businesses looking forward to training modern workforce. It is easy to use and the company offers outstanding customer support, two critical features that make SkyPrep an industry favorite.
It is a cloud-based LMS that allows you to customize the eLearning interface with ease. Admins have the flexibility to change themes, add business logos, and select colors, images and a lot more.
Moreover, you can manage, deliver and track your training easily. The LMS allows you to upload files, including MS Office files and PDFs along with videos and multimedia presentations quickly and with little effort.
Furthermore, you can create courses and track your performance without complications. All you have to do is a few clicks and you are good to go.
With SkyPrep, you can save time by reusing the same content in other courses.
Moreover, you can enhance the eLearning experience by incorporating a game-based approach that makes learning more engaging and fun for your team and you can do all of this while keeping up with compliance requirements fairly easily.
- Powerful Integration – Allows you to fully integrate with the existing systems at your workplace via an open API.
- Enhanced Security – All data is secure via SSL-certified cloud infrastructure.
- Training and Reporting at Multiple Levels – At an organizational level, you can train audience at multiple levels. Moreover, you get visual tracking reports to gauge learner’s performance.
- Customized learning paths for restricting the flow of courses.
- Easy to integrate with other social platforms including Facebook, Gmail and LinkedinLinkedIn.
- Unlimited training content that features real-time reporting for adequate performance tracking.
- Easy customization of courses along with customization of platform.
- Excellent customer support.
- Can be used to train employees at multiple hierarchies.
- Limited functionality of course authoring tool.
- Does not allow you to swap old videos with new ones in the Resource Center. If you have to change it, you need to need to delete the old video and replace it with the new one.
Number of Customers: 500+ organizations and more than 250,000 learners around the world.
Deployment Type: Open API and Cloud hosted.
Runner-up: Talent LMS
- Pricing: Starting from $59 per month and can go up to $429 per month when billed annually (or $529 per month when billed monthly). Free version available for up to 5 users and 10 courses.
- Best For: Organizations looking forward to a user-friendly and simple LMS.
TalentLMS is a user-friendly, and flexible learning management system that is designed to give a simple, and hassle-free learning experience to its users.
This LMS promises to make your lives 2 times faster and so far TalentLMS has lived up to its promise. The cloud-based online platform provides ready to use solutions where all you have to do is to sign in and add courses of your choice.
It offers strong program development tools that adjust to various e-learning platforms and integrate well with online conferencing tools such as Zoom. Talent LMS allows you to create engaging course content using the content available on the worldwide web.
This learning management system provides a free trial and is also available in a free version for up to 5 users and 10 courses. Moreover, it also offers customizable price plans depending upon the needs of your organization.
- Registration Management – It is easier to maintain files, import and export data and reuse information for eLearning.
- Exam Engine – It is easier to track progress through multiple testing types. Moreover, test results are analyzed and can be easily used for tracking progress.
- Cmi5 – The API- based feature enables efficient learning accompanied by quick and seamless data exchange.
- Allows you to create content for learners automatically.
- Delivers a combination of instructor-led learning and eLearning.
- Gives you the flexibility to manage your learning environment.
- Complete control over content management and content creation.
- You can set your learning objectives and can easily track your progress against your set goals.
- Too much flexibility of learning programs and course content.
- The customer support department needs a lot of improvement.
- Control on language variations may be required.
Number of Customers: Over 7,100 organizations around the world.
Deployment Type: Cloud-Hosted, Open API
- Pricing: Starting from $79 per month and go up to $160 per month per 100 learners. Varying pricing options based on the number of learners. 15 days free trial on all packages.
- Best For: Organizations in a variety of industries including healthcare, hospitality industry and education.
Proprofs is a simple and affordable learning management system that is applicable to a variety of industries.
The integrated SaaS, all-in-one learning management system allows you to create courses from scratch or use the pre-existing templates to create content and assessments. It not just allows you to create assessments, but gives you the flexibility to create your own certifications.
This easy to use learning management system comes with plenty of features such as automatic grading and performance tracking.
Using ProProfs, you not only train the employees in the same time zone but it also allows you to work with and train remote employees that are working in different time zones.
In all, it is one of the simplest learning management system that can be used in a variety of industries for enhancing the learning experience of the workforce.
- LDAP Integration – Active directory for maintaining log in details. This feature is particularly important when training employees in a variety of time zones.
- Certificate Management – Gives you the flexibility to create your own certification templates or to use the predefined certification templates.
- Endless Interface Options – The learning management system offers endless interface options from calendar and language setting to location and management of external pages.
- Easy to add course content in a variety of formats including video content, MS office documents or PDF.
- SCORM Compliance.
- Super user-friendly.
- Highly customizable
- Allows you to play exciting brain games that enhance learning and gives you the flexibility to create your own games.
- Great customer support.
- Limitations when using customization options.
- The learning management system does not integrate with other MLS sites.
Number of Customers: 1000+ customers in a variety of industries.
Deployment Type: Cloud-based, SaaS
Alternative: Joomla LMS
- Pricing: Different pricing packages for cloud-based and on premises learning. Packages for cloud-based learning for 1-50 learners can range from $37 per month to $64 per month. On premises rates range from $299 and can go up to $799 annually. 30 days free trial on all packages.
- Best For: Organizations looking for a cost-effective and highly functional LMS.
Joomla LMS is one of the most popular learning management systems that is widely used around the world and functions on Joomla.Its multi-language and highly customizable interface is one of the most preferred features on this LMS.
It complies with SCORM and AICC based standards while giving you the flexibility to configure the front page. Moreover, you can customize user profile and it offers multiple built-in roles, and user groups.
Furthermore, this LMS allows you to export and import user list while offering multiple in-built features for enrollment and registration.
With a 30-day free trial Joomla LMS gives you the time to think through your decision and make an informed choice for your organization. And since it is based on Joomla, it operates in a highly secure environment.
- Compliance – Complies with SCORM 1.2, 2004 and AICC compliance.
- Gives you Control Over User Roles in Real-Time – As an admin, you get the flexibility to manage user roles in real-time and even modify them as per need.
- Flexibility to Create Engaging Courses – You can create engaging course content by adding files in multiple formats including audio, video, pdf and even SCORM and AICC packages.
- Control Over How the Course Displays –Whether to go for a grid view or listed form, this LMS gives you control over how the course displays for the learners.
- You can reuse the content to create and upload new content.
- Gives you the flexibility to set the course duration and content and manage it through all levels.
- You can categorize courses in groups and sub groups for better organization.
- Quick creation of courses on the LMS.
- Add filters to course categories for more relevant search.
- Customization may require an experienced professional.
- Automatic updates are much slower for Joomla LMS compared to other learning management systems.
- Compatibility issues with installing plug-ins.
Number of Customers: Over 1,000 clients in more than 30 countries around the world.
Deployment Type: On-Premise, Cloud-based.
Alternative: iSpring Learn
- Pricing: Starting from $770 per year and goes up to $970 annually.
- Best For: Organizations that require an LMS for employee training only.
iSpring Learn is another popular Learning Management System that provides an ultimate boost to your competitive knowledge. Whether you are online or offline, using this LMS, you can access online learning material.
With iSpring Learn, learning can take place anywhere using any device. And it just not only offers access to material but it also features detailed tracking of the learning progress.
Its user-friendly interface ensures that your learning experience is comfortable and you as a learner are not overwhelmed by the variety of features. The user friendly feature works for the admin as well.
As an admin, you can easily create course content and with unlimited storage space, you can upload as much content as you desire. And while you add the content you want, you can also easily add illustrations, and interactions even if you do not possess technical expertise.
- Interactive Content Creation – As an admin, you can create content as you desire. Make it interactive and intuitive using videos, images and audio where required.
- SCORM Support –Tracks SCORM 1.2 and SCORM 2004 content accurately.
- Exercises for Enhanced Learning Experience –For better learning experience, you can add self-test questions followed by answers and explanation.
- Step-by-step navigation for easier access and better understanding of the content.
- Progress tracking.
- Home assignments with submission notification for improved learning experience.
- Creation of groups according to training requirements.
- No features pertaining to report customization.
- Inadequate multi-lingual support.
Number of Customers: Over 54,000 customers in 155 countries.
Deployment Type: Cloud-Based.
6 Must-Have Learning Management System Features that Can Help You Make the Right Choice
Learning Management Systems are now widely used around the world. It is the need of a variety of corporate offices, educational institutions, and numerous other businesses.
And while the needs of different types of businesses will vary, a LMS is likely to add value to all businesses regardless of their type and industry.
Before we get into the details of some of the features that make a learning management system desirable for an organization, let’s first take a look at some of the potential benefits of a learning management system.
Benefits of a Learning Management System
Learning Management Systems are an essential part of an organization’s eLearning process and it is even more important when you have a large audience.
Some of the key benefits a learning management system offers include the following.
Instead of your learning content spread out on a variety of devices and physical location, a learning management system allows you to organize all important data and learning material in a single location.
And while that is not a physical location, a LMS stores all relevant content on a remote server that can be easily accessed by all relevant members of the team. Some LMS offer access from a variety of devices and locations that makes training of remote employees a lot easier.
Reduces Learning Time
The use of a learning management system reduces learning time. Instead of having sit through physical classes or in-front of an instructor, students can access learning material any time and in the order they desire.
And because of this flexibility, learning becomes a fun and enjoyable experience for learners which in turn reduces learning time.
Learning is incomplete unless you track the progress. With a learning management system, you don’t only get to learn new content but it also allows you to monitor your progress as a learner.
Based on your performance, you will be in a better position to highlight the areas where you need to improve.
When you have a learning management system, at an organizational level, you do not need to invest in the travel cost of the instructor, physically rent a training site or print training material.
Since everything is done online, using a learning management system can significantly reduce your training and development cost.
Easy Ungradation and Integration with Social Learning
When it comes to upgradation of information and content on a learning management system, the job is fairly easy on a LMS. Since the content is at a centralized location, all you have to do is to upgrade the content once only.
Moreover, since a LMS is an online platform, it gives you the flexibility to integrate social learning. You can link to Linkedin, Facebook, Twitter or any other social learning forum through your learning management system.
Up-to-Date with Compliance Regulations
And lastly, a learning management system allows you to stay to up-to-date with compliance regulations.
Since compliance laws continue to change regularly, it is practically impossible to be aware of them all but here a learning management system can be a valuable tool.
Using a LMS, you can add new compliance regulations to your online platform and all your employees can be aware of the new compliance regulations.
And while we are already discussing the benefits on a LMS, here it is important to note that there are two types of LMS that most business owners invest in; an open source or a cloud-based LMS.
Let’s take a look at some of the benefits of each of these types of LMS so you can choose the right one for your organization.
Cloud-Based LMS – Overview and Benefits
A cloud-based LMS is hosted on a server and the provider is responsible for security and maintenance of your LMS. Some of the key benefits of a cloud-based LMS are:
- No installation required so there is a considerably low startup cost.
- Highly efficient and affordable as the prices are determined according to the needs.
- Automatic software updates, user-friendly and saves you from IT troubles.
- Ideal for customers who train employees at multiple locations.
- With cloud-based LMS, customer support is available 24/7.
- Most cloud-based LMS provide free-trials for at least 15 days so you end up making the right choice for your organization.
An Open Source LMS – Overview and Benefits
As opposed to a cloud-based LMS, an open source LMS requires setup and installation. It is ideal for small organizations that prefer a cost-effective LMS. It comes with the following advantages.
- Low-cost, budget friendly,
- It is installed on the company’s server to the client is responsible for maintenance and security so it is generally more secure.
- Ideal for basic, stand-alone solution that comes with options for modifications for its end users.
Critical LMS Features
When looking for the right LMS for your organization, there are several things that you need to consider. And perhaps the best way to get started is to identify the factors that will make or break the deal for your business.
Focus on your organizational needs and online training requirements and once you figure that out, you will be in a better position to invest in a LMS that best serves your needs. However, you also need to consider a few critical features of a LMS that will help you make the right choice.
Results Driven Through Data
Perhaps one of the biggest reasons why businesses around the world invest in a LMS is that they want data about their employee’s learning.
And if you are someone looking for data-driven results, make sure you invest in a LMS that allows you to evaluate and track all online training efforts.
Whether it is the duration for which employees took the lesson or number of times an average employee revisited the content, you need this information to enhance your eLearning experience and you can’t do that unless you have a LMS that is driven by data.
So look for LMS options that give you data driven results for almost everything that is a part of your learning management system.
Provide Tools for Assessing Performance
Another integral feature that you should not miss out is the tools your LMS has for assessing performance.
Testing tools are perhaps the only way to gauge learning in a data driven manner so go for learning management systems that provide adequate tools for testing and assessment.
With the use of such tools, you will be in a better position to evaluate the success of your online training program.
Gone are the days when a single desktop is occupied by an employee for the entire working day and beyond.
Today, using multiple devices is the new in thing at all levels so an employee may be using a desktop but has access to a tablet furing meetings and a laptop for completing work projects at home.
So an important feature that you must look at when choosing a LMS is its compatibility with multiple devices.
This can add immense value to your organization as you can expect your employee to access the learning content from any device whether at office or in any other remote location.
It is essential that you go for a learning management system that offers the highest number of customization options.
When you have customization options, you can add your company logo or go for a color theme that aligns with your organization, create online training certifications, add gamification and the list is never-ending.
But why go for LMS that comes with customization options?
Simply because customization makes your eLearning more interesting and appealing for the learners.
SCORM and/or xAPI Compliance
A great feature that can significantlyenhance your eLearning program is SCORM and xAPI compliance particularly for industries that adheres to content that relies on these sets of technical standards.
With SCORM compliance, you can create your online courses in a variety of authoring environment and then run it in your SCORM-compliant LMS.
Another great feature for sharing learning content with multiple applications is xAPI compliance. When your LMS is xAPI compliant, you can track progress, personalize learning path and aim for learning on-the-go.
Course Catalog Feature
And lastly, make sure you give enough weightage to the catalog feature.
Depending upon your choice of LMS, a course catalog allows you to create a directory of online courses based on your preference and within the catalog, you can search your required content using a variety of filters.
With this feature, it is easier to create, organize and access content whenever required.
These are the six most critical features that make a LMS desirable but what you choose for your business will depend upon a number of considerations including the type of LMS and your organization’s budget.
In either case, make sure you keep these six features in mind as you head out to choose the right LMS for your business.
Learning Management Systems FAQ
What is a Learning Management System?
A learning management system is an application that is often used for administering, documenting and assessing online training programs.
While the term is wide used for organizational level learning, a learning management system can be used by freelancers or groups of individuals for enhancing their knowledge based.
Typically, training content is uploaded on the learning management system which makes training material accessible to learners even from remote locations.
Moreover, there are tracking and assessing tools in an LMS that allows you to track your progress against your desired training outcomes.
If you take a look at the history of LMS, the first one was created for the higher education industry in the 1990s, however, today, LMS are essentially a part of every organization regardless of its size and industry and is primarily used for training, and adding to the skill set of employees.
Some of the best learning management systems that you can find in the market today are highlighted in the earlier section of this post.
How Does a Learning Management System Work?
A learning management system is a platform for eLearning. More specifically, it is an interface that allows learners (professionals or freelancers) to learn more about a specific topic (course content) and track their progress against the desired learning outcome.
Typically, it works like how online learning takes place but with an LMS, you as a learner have more flexibility in terms of when to access the content and from which location and how to track progress against the learning outcome.
If an LMS is implemented at an organizational level, the business then assesses the progress and see how progress the employee has made towards the learning outcome.
Using data driven information, the organization then decides on the next steps to enhance the learning of their employees.
What Makes a Good Learning Management System?
As mentioned earlier, your choice of the right learning management system for your organization depends upon your organizational needs.
And a good learning management system is the one that best serves your needs. Therefore, we can conclude that there is no good or bad when it comes to LMS however, there is always the desirable one for your organization that best meets your organization’s learning needs.
Let’s take a look at some of the features that make a learning management system more desirable.
Easy to Integrate with Existing Digital Platforms
Perhaps the best learning management system for organizations are the ones that can easily integrate with the existing digital platforms of the business.
If you are already using software and digital platforms for maintaining data from different stakeholders, the best LMS gels in well and saves you from the trouble of manually entering data.
Is Data Driven
A learning management system intends to aid in organizational learning and one cannot figure out about learning unless your LMS is data driven.
If an LMS has the ability to bring together all the data into understandable and useable information, only then it is a desirable learning management system for any organization.
Comes with Gamification Options
Learning management systems that come with gamification options encourage learner engagement, enhance the learning experience and reduce learning time.
What more makes an LMS more desirable?
Accessible from a Variety of Locations and Devices
The idea behind a digital learning platform is to save time and cost and you can only do so if you LMS is accessible from remote locations and from a variety of devices.
Because gone are the days when being in the office was the norm. Today almost every one is on the go so you need an LMS can cater to such an audience.
When you have an LMS that offers customization options, it adds flexibility to the learning process and aids in enhancing the learning experience.
While the above mentioned list is a checklist of some of the most desirable features that make a good LMS, the list is not conclusive. Again, the best LMS for your organization depends upon the needs of your employee but this list can surely help you make the right choice.
How Do You Choose a Learning Management System?
While looking for a learning management system with best features is important, it is equally important to find out a learning management system that best serves your needs.
Here is a 5-step approach that you need to take when choosing a learning management system for your organization.
Identify Organizational Needs
There are over 600 LMS that you can choose from, but to get started, you need to identify organizational needs first. It is critical that you understand what your business needs from an LMS.
Determine your training goals and objectives and just like any other objective, your LMS objectives should be SMART. And while it is essential to set up SMART objectives, it is equally important to know your audience.
Make sure you choose a LMS that is suitable for your employees depending upon their skill set, technical knowledge and qualification.
Define Your Requirements (What Features of an LMS Do You Need?)
Once you have figured out your organizational needs, next you need to identify some of the most desirable features of an LMS that your organization really needs.
It is true that gamification and high customization options may sound more attractive, but they are not always the ones that will add most value to your organization. To get started, you can keep our list of 6 must-have features that make a LMS more desirable.
Explore the Market
As mentioned earlier, there is a wide variety of LMS that you can find on the market, but since you need to invest in one only, you will have to narrow your choice.
A great way to get started is to use our guide and then check for customer ratings, online reviews and word of mouth to narrow down your list.
There are more than 1000 vendors that can provide a learning management system but once you have narrowed down your choice of LMS, finding the right vendor becomes easier.
It is during this step that you can take the advantage of free-trials that a number of LMS providers offer.
Choose the Right One for Your Business
When you have shortlisted the 2-3 LMS and have taken a free-trial, you will be in a better position to choose the right LMS for your business.
What is the Difference Between LMS and eLearning?
It is not uncommon for people to consider eLearning synonymous to LMS. While both are digital learning platforms, the experience differ significantly.
With eLearning, the course content is limited by the constraints of every individual course. There is limited flexibility about when and how you can access the course content.
However, an LMS gives you greater insight about your learning and growth as an individual and as a professional. It offers an integrated learning experience where you are in charge of your learning.
In all, a learning management system offers a more holistic experience compared an eLearning course that is more of a stand-alone learning experience.
Choosing the best learning management system for any business is a challenging job but not when you refer to this buying guide.
Here you learned about the 5 best learning management systems based on their features, performance and pricing followed by a detailed buying guide on how to go about finding the best learning management system for your business.
There are numerous features that make an LMS more desirable but again, your choice will depend upon what your organization and employees need and handle.
So do not get overwhelmed by the number of amazing learning management systems that are available in the market. Instead focus more on what you as an organization need and based on that information, make an informed choice.