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10 Best Learning Management Systems For 2021: Comparison

This learning management systems software review covers 10 tools and all the info you need: pros and cons, pricing, features, integrations, and screenshots to help you choose something that fits your needs.

By 29/03/2021 No Comments

The Best Learning Management System List

Here’s a shortlist of the best learning management systems:

  1. Eduflow - Best for corporate training and higher education
  2. Thinkific - Best LMS for rich multimedia course content
  3. iSpring - Best LMS for any mission critical training project
  4. Google Classroom - Best simple LMS course authoring tools
  5. Chamilo LMS - Best open source digital learning management system
  6. Moodle - Best open-source learning management platform
  7. D2L Brightspace - Best for video assignments and game-based learning
  8. Matrix LMS - Best LMS for drag and drop dashboard widgets
  9. LearnUpon LMS - Best for customer training
  10. Blackboard for Business - Best learning content reporting/analytics

Below you’ll find an overview of each of the 10 best learning management system, with screenshots, feature overviews, and pricing.

Jump to learning management system overviews

A learning management system (LMS) has the ability to empower employees or members of your team to engage in ongoing and real-time learning. They also provide you with pre-built eLearning courses and the power to build your own content and instructor-led training.

Training courses can be time-consuming to create and manage, and outcomes of learning programs are more valuable with built-in tracking and reporting. That’s why the modern LMS market exists: to make it as easy as possible for you to streamline and personalize online learning programs, as well as deliver your training material to every learner and enhance the learning experience.

Whether you need simple training content management or you want to dive into learning content creation yourself, there is an LMS platform out there for you.

The LMS vendors listed here are some of the best. I made this LMS vendor directory to help you choose the right tool. Not all of these are a good fit for everyone, so I have identified what each LMS platform is best suited for.

Learning Management System Comparison Criteria

What do I look for when I select the best learning management system for eLearning? Here’s a summary of my evaluation criteria:

  1. User Interface (UI): Is it clean and attractive? Can every course builder and learner quickly adapt to their designated interfaces? Are grades, to dos, and analytics easy to find and interpret on this eLearning platform?
  2. Usability: Is it easy to build and consume course content? Does the company offer good customer support, user support, tutorials, and training? Do they offer ready-to-go courses to get you up and running quickly? Does the LMS system work on all mobile devices?
  3. Integrations: Is it easy to connect with other tools for media creation, video conferencing, CMS, and other relevant eLearning content creation tools?
  4. Value for $: Learning management software will usually come with a cost but does the tool “pay for itself” by the amount of virtual training material you have access to? Does the cost of the learning platform include pre-made courses as well as the tools needed to build your own online course from scratch?

Key LMS Features

  1. Gamification & social learning features
  2. Personalized learning paths
  3. Mobile learning support
  4. Skills & certification tracking
  5. Test-out options for advanced learners

Learning Management System DPM Logo Soup 2021

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Overviews Of The 10 Best LMS

Here’s a brief description of each of the digital learning process tools on my list, showing what it does best and providing screenshots to showcase some of the features.

  • freemium version
  • From $1/learner/month at 100 learners

Eduflow - Best for corporate training and higher education

Eduflow users can create courses composed of different learning activities and organized into modules.

Eduflow is a versatile collaborative learning platform intended for corporate training and higher education. It has a modern, intuitive interface that enables users to create social and collaborative learning experiences. Eduflow can work as a standalone LMS, or it can be integrated with an existing LMS.

Users can build courses in Eduflow by combining a set of learning activities from the Eduflow activity library. This includes video content, discussions, quizzes, peer reviews, Zoom calls, and more. These learning activities can be combined to provide a fully custom and flexible learning experience that matches the pedagogical design users want to achieve.

Eduflow has a free version, as well as paid versions at $50 and $200 / month. The tool also offers a premium plan with custom pricing depending on user needs.

  • 30 days free trial
  • From $39/month

Thinkific - Best LMS for rich multimedia course content

Thinkific lets you build your courses and then offer them in bundles according to thematic relevance.

Thinkific is an all-in-one learning management platform that has been designed to create, market, and sell your own online courses or membership sites. Independent creators and businesses from across the globe use Thinkific for their rich multimedia course content options, including video, text, downloadable documents, quizzes, surveys, discussions, typeform, Google Docs items, and even articulative exercises.

As a creator, you can quickly upload and drag-and-drop content to create the perfect curriculum, without needing to be tech savvy. You can easily customize the way your course system runs with the click of a button; for example, by adding hidden courses or prerequisite lessons. With the Thinkific Site Builder, you can build and design a website to host and sell your course packages.

Thinkific is free to use for limited courses but unlimited students. Paid plans cost from $39/month and will unlock features like unlimited course creation, coupons, drip (scheduled) content, and email integration. Paid plans offer a 30-day free trial.

  • 30 days free trial
  • From $2.82/user/month for 500 users

iSpring - Best LMS for any mission critical training project

Learners can access training materials at their own convenience, even offline.

iSpring Learn is an online training platform that can be used for any mission critical training project: from onboarding to product training and sales enablement. Immediately upload any presentations (PPT), courses (SCORM), video tutorials (FLV, MP4), Flash clips (SWF) and audio tracks (MP3, WAV), as well as supplementary documents (PDF, DOC, XLS), to get up and running quickly.

Trainers can easily upload all their existing training materials to the LMS or start creating courses from scratch from within the platform. Once online, all the training materials can be arranged into comprehensive learning tracks and automatically assigned to individual employees or selected positions, departments, and groups. Learners can access training from all devices: desktops, laptops, tablets, and smartphones.

With webinar capability, trainers can host virtual live events or Q&A sessions. The webinars, as well as online training programs and offline events, can be scheduled and managed with ease in a built-in calendar.

A selection of in-depth reports is available in the LMS to track employee results. Trainers can set the system up to automatically generate reports when desired to receive regular updates on training effectiveness and allow them to inform management.

  • freemium version
  • Pricing upon request

Google Classroom - Best simple LMS course authoring tools

As with all Google products, Google Classroom is easy to use for both instructors & learners.

Google Classroom is a free learning management system that lets you work directly within the Google Workspace environment to create documents, organize classwork, and host online video lectures using Google Meet. You can add material to your syllabus using pre-made templates for assignments, quizzes, and lessons. You can also reuse or repurpose material that you have created previously.

As you would expect, Google Classroom integrates directly with Gmail, Google Calendar, and Google Drive. This means you can pull from Google Slides, Docs, and Sheets, as needed. You can also schedule lessons, tests, or office time right into your calendar. You can also build your own rubrics, track assigned vs turned in data, and even employ a plagiarism checker.

Google Classroom is free to use. The Teaching and Learning upgrade and/or Google Workspace for Education Plus are paid plans that unlock additional features, like 6+ plagiarism checks per class, malware detection for mail, and additional cloud storage space.

  • freemium version
  • Pricing upon request

Chamilo LMS - Best open source digital learning management system

Chamilo LMS is both free & open source, allowing for ultimate flexibility.

Chamilo LMS is an open source learning management system created by The Chamilo Association, a non-profit organization founded in Belgium in 2010 with current headquarters in Spain. While it’s free to sign up for Chamilo LMS, many of the preexisting courses come with an associated cost, ranging on average between $20-200 USD per course.

Students can find courses for categories like trade & sales, e-learning, management skills, computing, marketing & internet, and Microsoft Office Suite programs. If you sign up as a teacher, you can author courses from scratch and list them for sale in the site marketplace. Teacher accounts can also access the course marketplace and track their training, so that’s a good option if you plan on being on both sides of the virtual classroom.

Chamilo LMS is free for students and teachers to sign up but courses range in price $5.99 USD to over $300 USD. The highest priced course is over $900 USD (“Equal Opportunities Agent,” 80 hours) but it’s an outlier in that regard.

  • 45 days free trial
  • $110/month for up to 5 users

Moodle - Best open-source learning management platform

Moodle is open source, written in PHP and distributed under the GNU General Public License.

Moodle is a customisable and trusted open source learning management system that is ideally suited to the delivery of massive open online courses (MOOCs). They are based in West Perth, Australia, but boast an international community of hundreds of millions of learners, teachers, and developers. Course content can include forms, chat & feedback, readings, workshops, quizzes, a wiki, and surveys.

Moodle has a mobile-optimized app that supports touch screen activity on smart devices. They also boast integration opportunities with third-party platforms like plagiarism detection and content repositories. You can build a course from scratch or enroll in the content that is already there. Users can check course completion status from a clean and simple dashboard.

Moodle is free to use if you are willing to download the tool, install it, host the material, and customise your own site. Paid plans start from $110/month for up to 5 users and come with a 45-day free trial.

  • 30 days free trial
  • Pricing upon request

D2L Brightspace - Best for video assignments and game-based learning

Access quizzes, games, and video assignments for better course engagement.

D2L Brightspace is LMS technology that boasts solutions for K-12 education, higher education, corporate learning, and association-based training. You can start with the Brightspace Core subscription package and then add additional modules, as needed, for performance (predictive analytics, adaptive learning), engagement (game-based learning, awards leaderboard), and an assortment of value-added services (support services, data solutions consulting, partner integrations).

D2L Brightspace lets you add course content using an HTML editor or linking to shared drives. You can build a content library so that your organization can share and reuse resources. Teachers can use integrated video conference software, whiteboards, and slides to deliver course content. Their mobile-friendly interface means that course content can be accessed on any personal computer or smart device.

D2L Brightspace offers pricing upon request and comes with a 30-day free trial. Your trial comes with preloaded courses to explore and a sandbox where you can try building your own course.

  • 14 days free trial
  • From $499/month for up to 100 users (billed annually)

Matrix LMS - Best LMS for drag and drop dashboard widgets

Visually appealing dashboard that can be easily customized with flexible widgets.

Matrix LMS is a corporate learning management and vocational training system made by Cypher Learning, who also offers solutions for entrepreneurs (Indie LMS) and accredited universities (NEO LMS), including a free basic plan for not-for-profits and educational institutions.

Matrix LMS is the company’s business learning platform with tools for course templates, tables of contents and course syllabi, drip content, waitlists, course prerequisites, ratings & reviews, integrated e-commerce, a modern HTML editor, embedded PDF & PPT, and closed captions for videos. Additional quality-of-life features include drag and drop dashboard widgets, native mobile apps for iOS and Android, accessibility solutions, and support for 40+ languages.

Matrix LMS costs $499/month for up to 100 users (billed annually). It comes with a 14-day free trial.

  • It comes with a free trial
  • From $699/month for up to 50 users + 1 portal (billed annually)

LearnUpon LMS - Best for customer training

LearnUpon offers a customizable sign-in portal where learners can track course completion, sign up for training, and be rewarded for engagement.

LearnUpon is a LMS system for employee onboarding, employee development, customer training, partner training, product training, and compliance training. With LearnUpon, you can create courses, deliver training programs, track learner engagement, launch webinars, customize learner portals, and access out-of-the-box reports to track user progression.

LearnUpon connects to the tools you already use, from CRM to automation tools to payment systems. You can integrate this platform with the likes of Cisco Webex, Microsoft Teams, Zoom, GoToWebinar, Adobe Connect, Degreed, Stripe, Paypal, Shopify, and additional apps using either a paid plan through Zapier or a free DIY approach using their API.

LearnUpon costs from $699/month for up to 50 users + 1 portal (billed annually). It comes with a free trial.

  • Pricing upon request

Blackboard for Business - Best learning content reporting/analytics

Blackboard for Business offers a variety of helpful reporting tools, going beyond simple completion rates to encompass things like accessibility metrics.

Blackboard for Business is an adapted version of Blackboard Learn, a post secondary edtech software, that focuses on business training and development for corporate leaders and their teams. The platform has robust learning management tools, web conferencing and collaboration, accessibility features, content management solutions, mass notifications, and registration and reporting.

Blackboard for Business’ manager dashboard and enterprise reporting tools help team leaders keep track of staff training initiatives and course completion rates. Automated registration and self-regulated tracking keep the administrative side of things moving smoothly without too much oversight. The training environment can also be used as a revenue source through integrated e-commerce capabilities.

Blackboard for Business offers customized pricing upon request and comes with a free demo.

The Best Learning Management System Comparison Chart

Other LMS Options

Here’s a few more that didn’t make the top list. Note: You can also consider investing in a custom LMS build if you need something more uniquely tailored to your situation.

  1. Edmodo – Best learning experience for collaboration
  2. eThink LMS – Best employee training program for retail and hospitality
  3. Learnupon LMS – Best for a “social media”-like learning interface
  4. Joomla LMS – Best LMS for selling courses
  5. TalentLMS – Best for comprehensive video conferencing support
  6. ProProfs Training Maker – Best for its customizable expert courses library
  7. Rise – Best for analyzing learner engagement
  8. Firefly – Best for easy embedding of rich media (with drag-and-drop)
  9. Teachable – Best LMS for small businesses & individuals
  10. Thinkific – Best for landing page/website design for course hosting
  11. Absorb LMS – Best LMS for B2B (has built-in customer relationship management)
  12. Coassemble – Best LMS design services to help translate old training materials into a LMS course

What Is A Learning Management System?

Learning management systems (LMS) are derived from the eLearning trend popular in online grade school and post-secondary courses as well as in other training and certificate programs. LMS programs are designed to handle the administration, documentation, tracking, reporting, automation, and delivery of educational and professional learning material.

LMS examples include tools for building educational courses, sharing and distributing courses, tracking user progress in courses, and providing feedback on popular topics and learning gaps for longtime users. LMS tools generally don’t include platforms intended for sharing notes and information about courses, such as Studocu.

What Are The Benefits Of A Learning Management System?

A cloud-based learning management system is fully online, meaning that courses can be completed remotely, which is great for modern technological work environments. Additionally, cloud-based LMS offers each student complex analytics and reporting that in-person learning can’t provide. You can track course completion, engagement, knowledge retention, knowledge gaps, and more. This makes the professional online learning experience more personal and adaptive.

What Do You Think About These LMS Platforms?

The best employees should be lifelong learners, and we as project managers can do a lot to foster a workplace that emphasizes itself as a learning environment. From onboarding to continuous training solutions and learning programs, your team looks to you for guidance when it comes to career development.

Luckily, on-demand learning materials (cloud-based and on-premise) can help you personalize training content in your organization using an eLearning platform.

What learning platform have you used while taking an online learning program, and what did you think of it?

What is your preferred SaaS for online training and blended learning, and why? Is there a corporate LMS that you think should be added to this list? Let me know in the comments.

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Ben Aston

About Ben Aston

I’m Ben Aston, a digital project manager and founder of thedigitalprojectmanager.com. I've been in the industry for more than 15 years working in the UK at London’s top digital agencies including Dare, Wunderman, Lowe and DDB. I’ve delivered everything from film to CMS', games to advertising and eCRM to eCommerce sites. I’ve been fortunate enough to work across a wide range of great clients; automotive brands including Land Rover, Volkswagen and Honda; Utility brands including BT, British Gas and Exxon, FMCG brands such as Unilever, and consumer electronics brands including Sony.

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