Comparison of LMSs can be challenging. Suppose you’re in the market for a new learning management system (LMS). You’re probably asking yourself which platform is the best. After all, the market is flooded with information about LMS software.
LMS platforms are adopted by many types of organizations, extending to corporate organizations, government agencies, NGOs, and higher education institutions (both higher education and K-12), to engage employees and better manage online learning content.
There isn’t a single LMS that is better than any others when meeting the needs of online training programs. Instead, the question you should ask is, what is the best LMS for your organization’s learning culture? How do these LMS options help deliver your online training needs? what is an LMS exactly?
We compared the different LMS top-line categories to help you compare and contrast which LMS solutions are more suited to your organization. We also explore what essential features you should look for when researching vendors. Let’s review the 5 types of learning management systems.
What are the different types of learning management systems?
Subscription-based learning management system:
With a subscription-based learning management system, you’ll pay a monthly or yearly subscription rather than a one-time fee for the learning management software. You can get a free trial of the learning management system to see if it blends into your learning culture and online training requirements. A subscription-based LMS is also known as a SaaS LMS (Software as a service).
Cloud-based learning management system:
A cloud-based learning management system is hosted in the cloud. The cloud is basically a server that the LMS vendor provides. Usually, your learning management system is hosted on their server. Rather than installed locally on your system. The benefit of a cloud-based learning management system is that you don’t have to worry about server security, uptime, or staying on top of updates to your learning management system.
Web-based learning management system:
Web-based learning management systems are hosted on a server. The LMS can be accessed similarly to how you would access a website. The most common are Drupal-based LMS, used by large enterprises and government agencies. They provide advisors that consult on the best options for your company and what is needed.
Open-source learning management system:
Open-source learning management system vendors publish their source code. Anyone can freely view, copy, or modify that code, which is entirely transparent. It's usually fast-moving and more innovative as it attracts a large community base with direct consumer feedback. (Learn more about why an open-source LMS might be a good option.) Many open-source learning management systems are based on popular content management systems (CMS) such as Drupal, Joomla, or WordPress.
On-premise learning management systems are hosted locally on your company's servers. Most implementations involve a combination of your IT staff – installing, testing, and deploying the software in your environment – and the vendor's implementation team, which may configure the system for your learning management process. Government agencies and large enterprises usually always deploy on-premise LMS to control the data, mitigate risks and meet LMS compliance obligations. On-premise LMS can be stored on any server you like or restricted to a server in your country to meet compliance. You can also decide to have your server on the cloud with Acquia, AWS, or many others. On-premise LMS gives you complete flexibility.
Free learning management software:
Several free learning management systems are available to install, publish and manage. If you have a tight budget and are equipped with good technical skills. Free learning management software provides the essential tools to deliver training courses. Small organizations or charities start with free, open-source learning management systems. You have the option to purchase support services directly from the LMS provider for development support as an added insurance. It's worth checking the consultancy package prices for each LMS platform. Many offer consulting or customization services that speed up the process of getting your online training program launched.
What should I look for in a learning management system?
Choosing the right LMS from hundreds of vendors will be highly personal, given the needs of your organization. When evaluating the best learning management system for corporate training, consider:
- Is the LMS user interface (UI) and user experience (UX) appealing and easy to use?
- Is it easy for you to build new courses in the learning management system and for your users to absorb them?
- Is it simple to manage existing online training content within the LMS platform?
- Does the LMS vendor offer good customer support and consulting options?
- Is there a good user community for the learning management system to help you answer questions and inspire you?
- Does the learning management system integrate with the software stack you’re already using?
- Does the LMS platform have all the training features you need, such as the ability to schedule video sessions, forums, and messaging features, mobile learning, gamification, and more?
- Is the learning management system built to the highest security standards to protect your organization?
- Does the LMS offer customization options and integrations?
- Do they have subject matter experts in LMS systems?
- Does the LMS support smartphones, or have an iOS and Android white label app?
If you're looking for a Drupal-based On-premise LMS, send us a message, and we'll get back to you to schedule a demo and demonstrate what we can provide to your organization.
Author: Adam Kennedy-Ripon
Design: Simon Contreras