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Jan 2020

Top 5 LMS software comparison 2019 - Speed dating your LMS

Blog posts

Sally Danbury

Sally Danbury

Nurture Marketing Specialist at Kineo APAC

Kineo is part of the City & Guilds Group with an amazingly rich learning history, that at group level, began in 1973. Kineo embraces technological advancement in the provision of elearning to a wider audience. 

The purpose of this LMS software comparison is to provide readers with an unbiased overview of the learning platforms available on the market that will serve to help create, track and manage your organisational learning and development programs, both at a company and at an individual level.

Of the types of LMS, Kineo’s LMS software comparison advocates open source LMS platforms because of its flexibility and affordability and we have explored those LMS’ that users most highly regard. For a full breakdown of the top 20 ranking LMS we recommend; eLearning Industry’s 20 best learning management systems. 

We have verified the top players of 2019 and have taken a closer look at each highly performing LMS to understand more about what learners seek in their LMS and the nuances between each vendor product offering. 

Speed dating can apply to all sorts of decision making not merely lonely hearts, and why not for an LMS solution? We want to identify if there’s a match as quickly and as efficiently as possible, so mirroring the speed dating rapid fire questioning model, we’ll need to ask the right type of questions. At a minimum, you’ll want to understand;

  • How easy is the LMS to set up? 
  • Can the LMS be customised?
  • Is the LMS user friendly?
  • Is there capacity to create - as well as upload - existing learning content?
  • Will the monitoring and reporting functionality cater for your individualised needs?

Firstly let’s establish the LMS itself. 

What is an open source LMS?

An open source system makes its source code open to users to inspect, modify, and enhance learning content according to the organisation’s training needs. 

Key benefits of an open source LMS include; 

Cost: an open source LMS is inexpensive, and when required, further functionality can be added for a premium experience. 
Personalisation: add the company logo for a more integrated, branded company look and feel.  Customise layouts, dashboards and personalise the learning process for each user. 
Community: online forums and discussion groups created by the software developers will ensure any issues or queries are resolved quickly.

Common challenges associated with an open source LMS include;
Support: The lack of a dedicated technical team, where support is provided by way of a forum.  A quick fix is a challenge as with a forum set up it’s unlikely a problem will be solved immediately. 
User Interface: Generally an open source LMS interface is simple yet can be complex to use.

Where to now? Here’s our top 5 open source LMS software comparison

1. Moodle

Moodle was founded in 2002.  It’s well established and free to set up and to use.  Mostly used by schools, universities, non-profit organisations, enterprise organisations and the VET sector, Moodle LMS guides range from set-up, teacher and administrator guides, course creation, and individual learning journey monitoring. Its download section offers a full range of plugins for activities and themes. 

From over 1300 Capterra user reviews Moodle LMS scores most highly.

Overall 4.2 / 5
Ease of use 3.9 / 5
Customer service .9 / 5
Features 4.1 / 5
Value for money 4.4/5

2. Chamilo

An open source learning management and collaboration system that supports simultaneous working and learning. Chamilo was founded in 2010 and is a proud not for profit community that exists to improve access to online training. The free software products are promoted through clear communication channels and a trusted network of service providers and software contributors. Personalised online learning content creation is available through Chamilo’s LMS authoring tools. Camillo also offers language and media embedding that can be personalised to best reflect your brand.
Now this is where it gets a little confusing, Capterra user reviews (a small pool of 20) rank Chamilo LMS 5/5.

Overall 5 / 5
Ease of use 4.8 / 5
Customer service 4.6 / 5
Features 4.7 / 5
Value for money 5 / 5

3. Open edX

A freemium tool focused first on first on learner-facing interfaces before content management, Open edX is an open source LMS that encourages users to access online course content, along with video and supporting guides, with elearning progress monitoring. The Open edX LMS also has a discussion forum, a wiki and via a dashboard, the online instructor can enrol learners, administer and report on an online training course in real-time. With the Open edX Studio users can build courses. A discussion forum and the Open edX Insights offer help and assistance. 

67 reviewers have given Open edX 4.8/5

Overall 4.8 / 5
Ease of use 4.6 / 5
Customer service 4.2 / 5
Features 4.6 / 5
Value for money 4.4 / 5

4. Totara Learn

Totara Learn is a blended Learning Management System since 2010 with over 16 million global users worldwide, designed to help you to develop, train, manage and engage your staff. It’s a flexible solution that works at any level or sector for 1-2000 users. Totara Learn provides the controls to manage learning content, course registrations, administration, along with tracking and reporting.
Customisable mobile apps are available through a partner network and pricing is scaled based on the total number of active users per year.

Overall 4.4 / 5
Ease of use 4.1 / 5
Customer service 4.5 / 5
Features 4.3 / 5
Value for money 4.5 / 5

5. Canvas

An open-source LMS, free for instructors and scalable, Canvas LMS has been used to serve educational institutions, from individual classrooms to universities, offering blended to fully virtual learning experiences since 2008. The tool is adaptable and customisable with over 530000 users involved in sharing, collaborating and shaping Canvas with their evolving learner learning and technology needs.
From over 1400 reviews;

Overall 4.5 / 5
Ease of use 4.3 / 5
Customer service 4.3 / 5
Features 4.3 / 5
Value for money 4.5 / 5

These top learning management systems provide an open source cloud based solution to an organisations’ corporate training program, assisting the incremental learning journey of their workers. If you have further insight or would like to discuss your organisations’ needs, we are here to help.  

Sally Danbury

Sally Danbury

Nurture Marketing Specialist at Kineo APAC

Since the year immemorial Sally has exercised an avid passion for creativity with words, images and Pilates.  She is most content in the workplace when crafting enticing messages that inspire and engage.