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10 Best Learning Management Systems For 2021: Comparison

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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.

The Best Learning Management System List

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

  1. Google Classroom - Best simple LMS course authoring tools
  2. Chamilo LMS - Best free digital learning management system
  3. Moodle - Best open-source learning management platform
  4. D2L Brightspace - Best for video assignments and game-based learning
  5. NEO LMS - Best LMS for drag and drop dashboard widgets
  6. Schoology - Best LMS for third party integration
  7. Blackboard Learn - Best learning content reporting/analytics
  8. SAP Litmos - Best learning management for higher education
  9. Canvas - Best enterprise LMS
  10. Docebo - Best cloud-based LMS with advanced AI

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

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.

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.

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

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.

Google Classroom logo - 10 Best Learning Management Systems For 2021: Comparison
  • freemium version
  • Pricing upon request

Google Classroom - Best simple LMS course authoring tools

Google Classroom screenshot - 10 Best Learning Management Systems For 2021: Comparison

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

Pros

  • Easy, engaged collaboration features
  • Comprehensive tutorial videos
  • Flexible page curation

Cons

  • Only integrates with Google calendars
  • The “Submit” button is easy to miss
  • Grading range is limited
Chamilo LMS logo - 10 Best Learning Management Systems For 2021: Comparison
  • freemium version
  • Pricing upon request

Chamilo LMS - Best free digital learning management system

Chamilo LMS screenshot - 10 Best Learning Management Systems For 2021: Comparison

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

Pros

  • Potential to sell courses/sessions
  • Free, open source LMS software
  • Advanced engagement features (conditional questions, wiki, forms)

Cons

  • Large download size/number of files
  • Need knowledge of server configuration for install
  • Some SCORM content is unsupported
Moodle logo - 10 Best Learning Management Systems For 2021: Comparison
  • 45 days free trial
  • From $1,000/year

Moodle - Best open-source learning management platform

Moodle screenshot - 10 Best Learning Management Systems For 2021: Comparison

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

Pros

  • Plenty of training/tutorial materials
  • Solid multilingual capabilities
  • Good for bulk course creation

Cons

  • No native video conferencing feature
  • UI a bit outdated
  • Steep learning curve
D2L Brightspace logo - 10 Best Learning Management Systems For 2021: Comparison
  • 30 days free trial
  • Pricing upon request

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

D2L Brightspace screenshot - 10 Best Learning Management Systems For 2021: Comparison

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

Pros

  • Great mobile/tablet app
  • Can pin/unpin classes & tools
  • Good, clear announcements system

Cons

  • No native video chat feature
  • Software outages for updates
  • No way to delete batches of courses
NEO LMS logo - 10 Best Learning Management Systems For 2021: Comparison
  • 14 days free trial
  • From $0.05/month

NEO LMS - Best LMS for drag and drop dashboard widgets

NEO LMS screenshot - 10 Best Learning Management Systems For 2021: Comparison

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

Pros

  • Offers a free version of the tool
  • Great gamification options
  • Intuitive & easy to use

Cons

  • More test question types would be welcomed
  • Outdated mobile app
  • Math symbols are very limited
Schoology logo - 10 Best Learning Management Systems For 2021: Comparison
  • 30 days free trial
  • From $10/student

Schoology - Best LMS for third party integration

Schoology screenshot - 10 Best Learning Management Systems For 2021: Comparison

Comes pre-integrated with more than 200+ tools & student information systems (SIS).

Pros

  • Daily posted content update emails
  • Offers a freemium plan
  • Social media-like engagement features

Cons

  • So-so mobile app interface
  • No font/color customization
  • Drawn-out document upload process
Blackboard Learn logo - 10 Best Learning Management Systems For 2021: Comparison
  • 30 days free trial
  • Pricing upon request

Blackboard Learn - Best learning content reporting/analytics

Blackboard Learn screenshot - 10 Best Learning Management Systems For 2021: Comparison

Analytics for Learn lets course developers present management with evidence of what works.

Pros

  • Native messaging/email functionality
  • High impact reporting for learner progress
  • Platform inclusive (MacOS/iOS, PC, Android)

Cons

  • Excessive clicks & menuing
  • Plain interface
SAP Litmos logo - 10 Best Learning Management Systems For 2021: Comparison
  • 14 days free trial
  • Pricing upon request

SAP Litmos - Best learning management for higher education

SAP Litmos screenshot - 10 Best Learning Management Systems For 2021: Comparison

Access to more than 2,500 courses and videos & branded course building from scratch.

Pros

  • Good learning path/curriculum building
  • Includes microlearning and gamification
  • Double-speed option for video playback

Cons

  • Complex pricing structure
  • Large number of courses developed for UK audiences
  • Short log-out time interferes with some lesson lengths
Canvas logo - 10 Best Learning Management Systems For 2021: Comparison
  • 3 days free trial
  • From $760/year/500 users

Canvas - Best enterprise LMS

Canvas screenshot - 10 Best Learning Management Systems For 2021: Comparison

Large-scale training and development programs for Fortune 1000 companies.

Pros

  • Great mobile app
  • Centralized course Q&A in a wiki/FAQ
  • Well-structured To Do listings

Cons

  • Weak search functionality means a lot of manual scrolling
  • Discussion flow can get busy
  • No built-in gamification tools
Docebo logo - 10 Best Learning Management Systems For 2021: Comparison
  • 14 days free trial
  • From $495/month

Docebo - Best cloud-based LMS with advanced AI

Docebo screenshot - 10 Best Learning Management Systems For 2021: Comparison

AI analyzes learner behavior to understand skill gaps and then presents recommendations.

Pros

  • Great video aggregation & handling
  • Customizable dashboards
  • Great learning gamification features

Cons

  • 800MB file size maximum
  • Minimum user amount starts high
  • Limits number of widgets used

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. Talent LMS – 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

Need expert help finding the right Learning Management System Lms Software?

We’ve partnered with the software comparison portal Crozdesk.com to help you find the right solution. Crozdesk’s Learning Management System Lms Software advisors can give you independent advice and shortlist software products that best fit your specific needs. Our partnership gives you free access to their tailored software selection advice and community negotiated discounts, taking the hassle out of the research process.

It takes just a minute to submit your requirements and they will give you a call at no cost or commitment. You’ll get custom product shortlists covering the top solutions that best fit your specific needs from their team of software experts (via phone or email) and they can even connect you to your choice of the selected vendors. To get started, please submit the form below:

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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