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10 Best Learning Management Systems For 2021: Comparison

By 29/03/2021 No Comments

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. Eduflow - Best for corporate training and higher education
  2. iSpring - Best LMS for product training and sales enablement
  3. Google Classroom - Best simple LMS course authoring tools
  4. Chamilo LMS - Best free digital learning management system
  5. Moodle - Best open-source learning management platform
  6. D2L Brightspace - Best for video assignments and game-based learning
  7. NEO LMS - Best LMS for drag and drop dashboard widgets
  8. Schoology - Best LMS for third party integration
  9. Blackboard Learn - Best learning content reporting/analytics
  10. SAP Litmos - Best learning management for higher education

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. 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.

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 $50/user/month

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.

Pros

  • Engaging social learning features
  • Intuitive & easy to use
  • Advanced customization options
  • Built-in video recording

Cons

  • Not possible to sell your courses directly in Eduflow
  • Does not have native mobile apps
  • No document annotation feature
  • 14 days free trial
  • From $2.82/user/month for 500 users

iSpring - Best LMS for product training and sales enablement

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.

Pros

  • Zero learning curve
  • Native app for iOS and Android
  • Blended learning features
  • Enhanced reporting

Cons

  • No e-commerce features
  • No premade courses
  • 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.

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
  • freemium version
  • Pricing upon request

Chamilo LMS - Best free digital learning management system

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
  • 45 days free trial
  • From $1,000/year

Moodle - Best open-source learning management platform

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
  • 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.

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
  • 14 days free trial
  • From $0.05/month

NEO LMS - Best LMS for drag and drop dashboard widgets

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
  • 30 days free trial
  • From $10/student

Schoology - Best LMS for third party integration

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
  • 30 days free trial
  • Pricing upon request

Blackboard Learn - Best learning content reporting/analytics

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
  • 14 days free trial
  • Pricing upon request

SAP Litmos - Best learning management for higher education

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

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

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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