Online learning has never been more popular as a result of Covid-19 shutting down traditional schools. However, it was already mainstream before the pandemic struck. Learning management systems allow institutions to deliver high-quality education to online students.
Today, I have assembled the best (LMS) learning management systems for 2021.
What Are Learning Management Systems?
Learning Management Systems are pieces of software that allow for the delivery of educational courses or training programs in a variety of formats. They allow educators to handle every aspect of the learning process from grading to document distribution.
Each piece of LMS software is built to deliver a specific solution for educational institutions. They are also built for specific learning levels like K-12, higher education, vocational learning, training programs, and more.
They also support very niche markets as well. However, some are more customizable than others.
Many of these systems include ways to not only track assignment progress but also how students or employees are engaging with the system. This can help you learn if they are enjoying the courses you put together and what areas you can improve.
Thus, you need to find the best learning management systems for your field.
Note: There are a variety of names for LMS around the world. Some of them include the learning experience platform (LXP), e-learning management system, online learning system, training management system, learning activity management system, and many other terms. Regardless of their title, they will be included in this list.
The Best Learning Management Systems (LMS)
Modular Object-Oriented Dynamic Learning Environment, or Moodle, allows you to build your very own website with all of the tools you can expect with an LMS. It has by far the most customization an educator or business can have over their LMS solution.
Of course, you will need an excellent web host for your creation.
However, other than web hosting fees, Moodle is completely free because it is open-source. This also means that you are responsible for every element of your website. You will not have the benefit of a quick setup or a support team standing by.
Instead, you’re essentially creating your own LMS solution, but don’t let that scare you. Moodle is one of the simplest platforms to build a website on. In fact, if you’ve dabbled in WordPress before, you are more than capable of using Moodle.
Benefits of Moodle
- An open-source platform that has a huge library of helpful tools and guides
- Supports real-time messaging to improve communication
- It is modular (plugin) based, which makes it easy to add features
Price of Moodle
- Moodle is completely free, but you must have a web host
Canvas is one of the most well-known names in learning management systems. It currently has the largest market share in the LMS space at a whopping 31%, and it has been gaining traction since it surpassed Blackboard in 2018.
And there’s a very good reason for its surge in popularity; everything is streamlined.
Canvas understands that whether you are a staff member at an educational institution or if you are a student, accessing and using an LMS can be very annoying and not something you do voluntarily. As such, this platform was developed with simplicity in mind.
In fact, the ease of use is the reason that many colleges and universities are switching over. Of course, it has plenty of options for businesses with its Canvas Corporate plan. This allows you to build terrific training programs for employees in any position.
Benefits of Canvas
- A streamlined UI to make navigation a breeze
- Course creation is simple but highly customizable
- Built to support multiple education environments and business needs
Price of Canvas
- Canvas does not make its pricing information public. You must contact them for a quote.
Blackboard sat at the top of the LMS industry for 20 years but has recently been on the decline. This allowed Canvas to surpass it. One of the main reasons for that decline was how obtuse the platform was to use and that the design was extremely dated.
However, I am here to say that those concerns can be put to rest because Blackboard has gone through a huge overhaul.
The redesign of Blackboard has streamlined the platform and the addition of cloud-based SaaS introduced Ultra course view. As a result, Blackboard has never been more user-friendly and educators can take advantage of the tools this LMS giant has produced in its long history.
Of course, Blackboard is not only used by schools. Businesses can take full advantage of this LMS to build effective training programs. Not only can you build training programs, but you can even put together full certificate or certification training.
Benefits of Blackboard
- Supports web conference and collaboration
- Mass notification system to easily alert students and employees alike
- Sales training and other specific business solutions
Price of Blackboard
- Blackboard does not disclose its pricing information. Contact them for a quote.
4. Google Classroom
You might be surprised to learn this, but Google does, in fact, offer a free LMS called Google Classroom. While it is far from the best LMS on the market, what it lacks in feature is made up by various integrations.
YouTube, Google Docs, and many other Google services have options available.
Now to be fair, the “management” aspect for Google Classrooms is close to non-existent, but it has its uses. It allows educators to post materials, assignments, and quizzes, and thanks to the integration with YouTube, you could record an entire lecture and integrate it with your classroom.
While it is too basic for our education system, it is perfect for tutors and small businesses trying to save a few bucks. You can create simple courses to help train employees in an online environment, which is critical due to the state of our world.
Benefits of Google Classroom
- Takes less than an hour to learn
- Reuse documents or rubrics in future courses
- Easy to use grading system
Price of Google Classroom
- Google Classroom is completely free to use
Are you looking for a corporate learning management system that was built specifically for businesses? If so, then Lessonly is exactly what you are looking for as it provides solutions to small teams and businesses.
And remote training has never been more important for growing businesses.
Lessonly at its core is training software. It is ideal for any business looking to improve their employee’s skill set by providing training that can help them learn and practice new techniques to improve sales.
Over 1000 companies utilize Lessonly in their training programs because not only are they easy to set up, the software is compatible with a wide range of tools and services. There are solutions for remote workers, sales teams, customer service, and much more.
Benefits of Lessonly
- Integrates with Slack
- Set up scenarios for team members to practice
- Sale representatives are more likely to hit quotas
Price of Lessonly
- Lessonly does not make its pricing public. You must contact them for a quote.
While most learning management systems are more prevalent in higher education, that’s beginning to change. Schoology focuses on providing online solutions to K-12 institutions and it has been very successful.
And from a student’s view, you might even be able to mistake this learning tool for a social media website.
That’s right, Schoology breaks the mold with a more creative UI tailored for the young learners of today. And it even has integration with social media platforms to boot. However, don’t mistake these features as a gimmick. Schools can track more information about students and improve security as a result.
Building classes is extremely simple thanks to the drag-and-drop interface. Teachers can drag a variety of files and media into their lesson plans. These include videos, which can be a powerful tool in a remote learning environment.
Benefits of Schoology
- Drag-and-drop interface
- Detailed student analytic tools
- Assignments through Google
Price of Schoology
- Free for individuals
- Free for educators in public and private education
- Paid licenses are available for institutions and businesses
7. Prosperity LMS
Prosperity LMS is another powerful tool businesses can use to train their employees. This system was designed to help businesses of any size and that integrates nicely with corporate HR and training programs alike.
And almost all of the features are customizable.
One of the biggest problems, when a business adopts an LMS, is the time it takes to get started. Unlike other solutions that may take weeks or even months to properly set up for use, Prosperity LMS can be set up in a matter of days.
This makes it perfect for businesses looking to switch quickly.
The LMS provides solutions for a wide array of industries that include corporate training, industrial, manufacturing, safety/compliance training, transportation, and much more. It really is a one-size-fits-all training program perfect for business.
Benefits of Prosperity LMS
- Integrates with SalesForce
- Built-in courses that can be customized to save time
- Easily scales as your business grows
Price of Prosperity LMS
- Prosperity LMS does not make its pricing public. You must contact them for a price quote.
Not Just For Schools
One of the biggest mistakes is to assume that learning management systems are just for educational institutions. That simply isn’t true, and smaller websites or businesses can take full advantage of the features they offer.
For instance, you could integrate an LMS with your business to build a full training course for specific positions in your company. In fact, this type of usage is a great way to help new remote workers get used to their working conditions.
Especially if they are a brand new employee.
Another terrific use of an LMS is to create a certificate program for a service you offer.
Of course, regular websites can take advantage of this by building free or paid courses about specific courses. For example, you could build a website about teaching people to cook and provide a full course on how to prepare each dish.
There are many examples of websites embracing the best LMS has to offer and building something really special.
Make It Easy to Learn
At their core, the top learning management systems, or LMS all help educators create a better environment for students or employees.
While you might be able to create a good foundation in certain fields without utilizing one, nothing can compare to the level of creativity and effectiveness that these platforms bring to the table. There is a reason that virtually all colleges or universities utilize an LMS.
And it’s because they work.
What LMS do you plan to use on your website?