Learning Management Systems Comparison
LMS comparison allows making the right choice when searching for a suitable Learning Management System. Years of involvement in the eLearning field have enabled us to select several criteria for learning management system comparison which are usually key points to consider when choosing LMS for your business.
Key LMS Comparison Criteria and their Description
If you are new to the LMS world, check the table below! In this table we compare LMS by dividing Learning Management Systems into general categories according to the relevant criteria. For each category we provide a brief general description and point out key benefits of LMSs belonging to the category.
Please keep in mind that the division is not strict – many LMSs can fall into several categories within one criterion, or even have their unique nature which is hard to categorize. However, our LMS comparison is designed to help you get a comprehensive picture of what kind of LMS you need depending on your requirements and specifications.
Learning Management Systems Comparison Chart
Free LMS is an LMS which is distributed free of charge. It's good for technicians or companies with internal tech staff who can take care of implementation and administration of the software. Some of free software distributors don't provide support for their products, some provide paid support and services, other have free support (usually via forum). Most of the free products have open source code, which gives you a freedom to customize the system yourself in any way you need.
Commercial LMS software is distributed on paid basis. As a rule, the price for the eLearning software includes technical support which makes the software easy to implement and use for non-technicians and non-tech companies. Vendors do not normally provide source code for commercial software, but sometimes provide customization services.
Open source LMS
In open source Learning Management Systems all the files which make up the system are free for modifying, which allows customizing the system in the necessary way. Moreover, the usage of the LMS (number of users, courses, usage period) is not limited.
For proprietary Learning Management Systems vendors do not provide the source code. Along with commercial purposes, encrypting the source code serves as a security guarantee, as it prevents using the software for malicious code distribution (viruses, trojans etc.). Some LMS vendors offer customization services, and can provide compatibility with future releases on request.
Per number of registered users
Limitation by the general number of users who use the LMS (the license can limit either students or staff or both).
Per number of connected users
Limitation by the number of users who are simultaneously connected to the LMS.
Per license validity period
Time limitation of LMS license validity. As a rule, license subscriptions are annual or monthly.
Per number of courses
Limitation by the number of courses you can create in your LMS.
Hosted (Software as a Service)
Hosted solution means that the LMS is hosted on the vendor's servers and installed on the vendor's site. Customers can purchase access to separate LMS parts, manage their own content and students. It's a good quick solution if you don't have a website, or wish to avoid spending time and resources on administering the system.
Own installation means you get the LMS application which you can install on your site or local network. It allows having a completely individual solution tuned to meet your specific needs. Plus it provides you with full control over your LMS and all the related processes.
Learning Management Systems designed for commercial use include an option allowing users to sell subscriptions (student/teacher access to courses/LMS etc.), i.e. to provide eLearning courses on the paid basis.
Some Learning Management Systems don't allow selling LMS subscriptions as they focus on educational features. These LMSs are designed for educational purposes only.
Corporate Learning Management Systems are focused on (evaluating) employee skills and competencies as well as providing tools for competency training.
This orientation includes possibilities of educational and corporate Learning Management Systems, with a greater focus on security and some other features depending on the certain government structure.
Int. Standard (SCORM, AICC, IMS)
If the LMS is SCORM/AICC/IMS/ other standards compliant, you can use the standard packages (SCORM/AICC/other) inside the LMS instead of (or together with) creating native LMS course content. It can be very useful if you don't want to tie yourself to using one particular LMS. Additionally, authoring software enables users to create customized look and feel for course content. Besides, courseware vendors often provide their course content in some of the widely used standards, so you can purchase ready-made courses instead of creating your own.
Some Learning Management Systems comply with local standards of a specific region (e.g. NCVER – Australian standard for training statistics) or specific field of learning.
Some Learning Management Systems are not compliant with any content standards, and native content created in such LMSs is not reusable for others. This feature can be useful if the unique nature of your course content is important in your business.
Integrated tools for courses creation
Some LMSs provide special internal tools for creating native course content based on your learning materials.
Separate tools for courses creation
Some LMSs don't have integrated tools for course content creation, but vendors provide such tools as separate products compliant with their LMS.
Possibility to use reusable content only
Some LMSs do not provide possibilities for creating native course content, you can only use standard packages (SCORM/AICC/IMS/other) in such LMSs.
Though not evident, programming language the LMS is written in is one of the important criteria which you should pay your attention to when selecting the suitable LMS. You will probably need a specific language depending on many factors, e.g. what language your server can handle, what language your team is most proficient in, or (if you outsource technical work) what language is more popular and what language programming costs less.
This solution allows installing the LMS as a stand-alone application. You can integrate it with your business platform as a custom project.
Some LMSs require certain platforms to be installed on. This LMS-platform integration gives you a possibility to use your platform capabilities together with the LMS functionality to enhance your eLearning process.
Applications with open source code provide the widest range of integration possibilities, as you can edit any part of the LMS to integrate smoothly with any other application.
Documented API (SDK)
API (application programming interface) provides a possibility to use functions of one application by another application. API allows integrating applications with encrypted source code and facilitates integration process for open source applications.
Integration via bridges
Bridges are special plugins which allow integrating applications of different types. Bridges are especially useful if you want to integrate applications with encrypted source code or applications with no API.
JoomlaLMS in the context of LMS comparison
As we represent an LMS vendor, we would like to show you where our JoomlaLMS goes according to the above mentioned criteria:
Commercial (starting from 299 USD/year).
Comments: you can see our pricing list here
Comments: PRO edition of JoomlaLMS has open source code (only 2 files which contain the license information are encoded).
Per number of enrolled users and per license validity period (per year).
Comments: with an option for unlimited number of users and perpetual license.
SCORM and AICC compliant.
Integrated tools for native courses creation. An embedded course builder
Comments: JoomlaLMS is installed on Joomla! CMS-based web-site (you can find more information about this in our FAQ). JoomlaLMS also provides web-hosting and Joomla! CMS installation on request.
Can be used in all sectors, however, it's more eCommerce and Educational Institutions oriented.
Joomla! CMS. JoomlaLMS is designed as a Joomla! Component.
Top 2 advantages of this platform:
- Joomla Cms is the world's best Freeware CMSs
- Joomla CMS has over 8000 components and modules used to extend its functionality:
Professional edition allows an integration with other systems using open source code.
JoomlaLMS can be customized by the core JoomlaLMS team on request.