LMS Software Buyer's Guide
The Best Learning Management Software Systems Are All About Continuing Employee Education
By Alainia Conrad, Market Research Associate
According to a study by Innosight, the average lifespan of a company listed on the S&P 500 will shrink to 12 years by 2027, down from 20 years in 1990 and 33 years in 1965. Furthermore, a Gartner report of business leaders revealed that the top initiative for 2019 was "building critical skills and competencies for the organization." Finally, learning is "important or very important" according to 86% of respondents in the 2019 Deloitte Global Human Capital Trends report.
What do these statistics point to? And what do they say about the way businesses need to structure their organizations for future growth and longevity? Fundamentally, this means that all organizations today must operate in a fast-paced environment where business skills can become obsolete overnight. As the world becomes smaller due to globalization, the pressure on businesses to maintain and improve upon successful strategies is overwhelming. One of the most relevant and important tools a business has at its disposal is continued learning in the workplace. Therefore, a company’s decision to invest in a robust learning management system (LMS) is not only important for growth but vital to the long-term survival and success of an organization.
The very best LMS software solutions are designed to help organizations with the management of enterprise learning programs. Learning management platforms help employees acquire the knowledge and skills that enable them to adapt and stay current in this highly volatile and competitive world. That is why the decisions your organization makes to support its educational initiatives will define its long-term success.
- Learning management systems provide the tools for continued education so employees can perform their best.
- Leading LMS platforms give all employees the resources to learn, equalizing skill levels and facilitating collaboration.
- Performance management features and data collection show employee progress. This information serves as insight into company-wide skill level and potential education plans.
- A robust LMS tool is conducive to different styles. Users can find what works best for their company, as well as each individual employee.
What This Guide Covers
See how the top 10 LMS software leaders fare against the most common key requirements
Benefits of Learning Management Systems
The way people learn has transformed significantly over the past decade with the widespread presence of digital technologies in the consumer market. But perhaps just as important as how people learn is why organizations must adopt and promote a strong learning culture for all employees of the organization. Successful businesses must discard the old model of education that supports the top-down approach. In this model, management is given the responsibility for acquiring new skills and knowledge and transferring them to the remaining workforce.
The new learning model breaks up the top-down hierarchy and replaces it with the idea that learning generates new ideas, which are important at all levels and all functions of an organization. This is a greater challenge for all businesses to accomplish, but the potential benefits of LMS platforms are also far greater.
Expert recommendations and analysis on the top LMS solutions
Learning Management System Implementation Goals
Expert recommendations and analysis of the top LMS tools
Basic Learning Management System Features and Functionality
|Record Management||Administer student and instructor information, including completed or delivered courses, exams, and hands-on practice.|
|Curricula||Plan goals that teach employees new skills, strengthen abilities and lead to earning certifications.|
|Scheduling||With LMS tools, schedule courses and learning events by taking into account and reconciling student, instructor or any other necessary resource availability.|
|Examinations||Create exams, quizzes or tests, and use proctoring as required.|
|Surveys||Collect student feedback on completed events to assess learner experience and skill development.|
|Self-Driven Learning||Learners have the option to assess their needs, define plans and find the necessary resources to fulfill these plans.|
|Mobile||Allows learners access to virtual courses, learning communities and to take quizzes on mobile devices while instructors monitor class activity and scheduled tasks.|
|Dashboards||Permits access to key functions, reports and analytics from within a single user personalized view to facilitate user navigation through the best LMS solutions.|
|On-the-Job Training||Learners have the ability to acquire knowledge in the workplace by shadowing coworkers and receiving hands-on practice.|
|Formal Instructor-Led Training||Whether in an online or actual classroom setting, learning is facilitated by instructors or subject matter experts, allowing learners to utilize the instructor as the primary source of knowledge on a given topic.|
|Workflows||Manage learning processes including requests, enrollment, waitlists, budgeting and planning.|
|Integration||Ensure the LMS solution is able to integrate with other HR or productivity applications to access employee data that influences learning plans. Job roles, skills and competencies, and job achievements are a few examples.|
|Compliance||Ensure LMS tools follow regulatory requirements such as ADA, Section 508, W3C, audit trails, SCORM, AICC, ADL and others.|
Expert recommendations and analysis on the top LMS platforms
Advanced Features to Consider During LMS Platform Comparisons
|Reports and Analytics||Measure and track activities such as registrations, attendance, completion rates and resource utilization. Analyze learner behavior, instructor and course performance or outcomes.|
|Multi-Language Support||Offer courses in multiple languages.|
|Smart Search||Browse and search for a course and other learning content from multiple sources such as an internal course catalog or external crowdsourced sites.|
|Smart Profiles||Personalize a path and recommendations, including both mandatory and optional assignments that take into account job roles, interests, performance scores, location and other user-defined factors.|
|Embedded Learning||Deliver just-in-time training to employees in the systems they use the most, such as sales force automation for sales teams or project management for consultants.|
|Virtual Classroom||Instructors can deliver and manage live classes, keep track of student attendance, provide real-time feedback to learners, assign real-time online group work and share resources.|
Expert recommendations and analysis on the top LMS solutions
Compare Learning Management Systems
The LMS market is growing in leaps and bounds. However, the growth in this market has also been characterized by the expanded number of new, accessible options available for a variety of learning management software platforms. This reflects the heightened importance of the expectations of the consumer in this marketplace, whether in business settings or for personal development.
However, in this environment of too much choice, the buyer decision becomes more complicated and drawn out. This emphasizes the need for increased research before you begin your selection and the importance of forming a clear list of priorities that supports your strategy during the LMS software comparison process.
Traditional vs “Market Disruptor” LMS
The LMS market is informally divided into two camps: traditional LMS vendors and the “market disruptor” vendors. Traditional LMS focuses on online classes, instructor-led training, hybrid models (which incorporate online and in-person teaching), compliance and certification management, providing the foundational basis for an LMS. The innovative or “market disruptor” vendors build on the traditional foundation with products like AI tutors and content recommendations. There is a strong probability that your company would benefit from an intelligent mix of both types of LMS software vendors.
In order to simplify and optimize your search, our advice is to compare a list of learning management system vendors best equipped to meet most of your strategic requirements. You may have to compare various combinations of products, possibly making your task even more challenging. This reinforces the importance of maintaining the focus on your own priorities and ultimately basing your decision on those same priorities.
Make sure you invite all stakeholders into the decision process. Education touches many more areas of a company’s operations than is originally thought. It is critical that the voices of all stakeholders are heard and included in this process to ensure the more common areas of concern, like enterprise integration and ease of use, are addressed.
When you compare LMS platforms and your priorities have been set, you can start inviting vendors into the conversation during your learning management system comparison process. This will help you gain a better overview of all the products to be better equipped to decide which vendor matches your LMS strategy and budget.
Don’t hesitate to bring a subjective perspective into your scoring process. After all, this LMS solution must be optimized for your company’s unique needs and priorities. To ensure your chosen vendor is the best fit for your business, the team tasked with choosing a workforce management system should be invested in the decision. Inviting the assistance of HR professionals and other end-users will help your organization decide on a learning management tool that is the right choice for everyone.
At this point in your decision-making process, the choice becomes easier and clearer. Once you review all the information you have collected about vendors, as well as the scores that you and your team awarded to the vendors and their products, your priorities will guide you to the best choice for you and your organization.
A thorough selection process will lead the way to selecting the best learning management system for your organization. In the end, the winner will stand out from the rest.
Expert recommendations and analysis on the top LMS Software
Questions to Ask Yourself
- What learning management solution, if any, is your business currently using? Do you have any educational processes in place? Does your general human resource management platform have a learning management component?
- Are you interested in a standalone LMS or a more comprehensive HR tool?
- Which features and capabilities are most important to your business?
- What are your budget and time constraints?
- What preparations will need to be made to successfully adopt the LMS?
Questions to Ask Vendors
Services - Understanding the long- and short-term vendor service offerings
- What implementation options and strategies have been developed by the vendor for its LMS platform?
- Does the LMS vendor offer 24/7 multi-language support during and after implementation?
- What training options are made available by the vendor to onboard your users to the LMS platform?
Price - Getting the most software for your money
- What does the learning management solution cost? Does it fit in your budget?
- What is the pricing model?
- Are there any available discounts based on the number of users?
Industry Experience - Vendor industry experience matters
- What is the vendor’s level of experience with the industry you are in?
- Will industry-specific configurations be necessary in order to meet sector-specific compliance and best practices?
- Does the vendor have an industry-specific support team?
Best-of-Suite vs. Best-of-Breed- Assessing whether to go with best-of-suite or best-of-breed
- Is the learning management software best-of-suite or best-of-breed? In the case of best-of-suite, the system boasts a consistent data model, common user interface and process integration. Best-of-breed offers more tailored applications and better functional fit, along with the ability to make modifications based on the needs and priorities of the business.
- Does it make sense to integrate a new product into what you already have in place? Or should you buy an extension from a vendor that you are already working with?
- How does the learning management solution align with your strategy and vision?
Partner Ecosystem - Investigate the partner ecosystem of each vendor
- Which third-party vendors, product extension partners and service partners are in the vendor’s ecosystem?
Expert recommendations and analysis on the top LMS Software
The Brightspace platform enables enterprise organizations to re-think learning and training with online solutions for delivering an engaging experience that will help tap into the full potential of their most critical resource—people.
Moodle is an open-source training solution used by companies, K-12 schools and higher education institutions around the world. Its core version is free, enabling educators to create a private website of courses that are accessible at any time, from anywhere. A modular design enables extensive customization. Out-of-the-box capabilities include course creation, calendars, dashboards, text editing, SCORM compatibility, reporting, learning paths and group management.A workplace version is also available. It facilitates corporate learning management needs such as onboarding. compliance training and skills development. Built using multi-tenancy architecture, it can support a range of business structures and types.
Our education training is designed to help teachers and students leverage new technologies and the latest instructional techniques to increase engagement, be more productive in the classroom, and maximize the potential to learn remotely.
Paylocity is an all-in-one HR platform that enables organizations of every size to execute benefits administration, payroll, talent management, time and labor management, and other core processes. The cloud-based software includes multiple customization and configuration options, allowing organizations to scale according to their needs. It contains robust security measures such as encryption, real-time backups and numerous data centers.The solution has mobile apps for iOS and Android devices, giving users flexible access to information. Users can update contact information, receive notifications, view timesheets, follow company updates and perform other actions. Several welcome screens introduce new users to the app’s main features.
Blackboard Learn helps you make learning more effective in and beyond the traditional walls: Breathing life into educational content, bringing efficiency to day-to-day tasks, empowering instructors with tools to engage every learner, motivating them on the devices they rely on and promoting collaboration and streamlining processes.
Blackboard Learn LMS technology helps you make learning more effective in and beyond the traditional walls. Breathing life into educational content. Bringing efficiency to day-to-day tasks. Empowering instructors with tools to engage every learner. Motivating them on the devices they rely on. Promoting collaboration and streamlining processes. You’ll have the right learning management system toolkit—one that is proven and constantly evolves to meet your needs. It will be flexible and easy to use—from managing content, engaging learners to assessing outcomes.
SAP Litmos is a cloud-based platform suitable for companies that range in size from SMBs to large enterprises. The software delivers eLearning and instructor-led training (ILT) content that enables organizations to execute employee training, maintain compliance with industry regulations and more. Elements such as international taxation rates and multiple languages facilitate global use of the solution.The system connects with other HR suites, such as ADP and BambooHR. This unites it with other areas of HR, allowing companies to assign employees to training programs while eliminating siloed HR and LMS applications. It also simplifies record maintenance and provides single sign-on (SSO).
Adobe® Captivate® 6 software helps you rapidly author a wide range of interactive eLearning and HTML5-based mLearning content. Easily create product demos in HD, application simulations, and soft skills and compliance training. Import Microsoft® PowerPoint slides and enrich with multimedia, interactive elements and quizzes. Deliver content to virtually any device, including iPads.
TalentLMS is a cloud-based solution that facilitates learning for organizations of all sizes. Features include course management, learning delivery tools and gamification. The system supports multiple languages and uses Amazon CloudFront for content delivery.The software is capable of supporting enterprise-level learning-based initiatives. A branching feature enables organizations to build separate learning environments with personalized themes and unique sets of courses and users. The system has mass actions and automation capabilities, a rest-API for data retrieval, custom fields for extendable user profiles and a courses marketplace. It also provides security, including an encrypted communication channel and watermarked videos.
Lessonly is a cloud-based learning solution that enables organizations of all sizes to provide training. Employees have the ability to practice and learn required job skills using scenarios that replicate on-the-job tasks.Capabilities include course creation, analytics, learning paths and more. It specifically supports customer service, enterprise, L D and sales as well as grants flexible access via mobile devices.
Docebo is a SaaS learning and development platform that organizations can use to execute internal training initiatives or offer external learning. The suite of tools creates an all-in-one eLearning ecosystem. AI, a central employee database, and tools for managing certifications and retraining are among the features. Equipped with REST APIs, it can integrate with other business systems such as CRM and HR.With the ability to scale alongside business growth, the solution is suitable for smaller companies up to large enterprises. It supports turning on integrations and extensions as new needs arise, and it offers unlimited courses, users and bandwidth. The program also employs Amazon Simple Storage Services and Elastic Compute Cloud.
Cornerstone Growth Edition simplifies performance reviews and eLearning with a mobile-friendly, easily-configurable interface that can be up and running in just a few hours. With Cornerstone Growth Edition, performance reviews are simple and intuitive. Our solution not only automates employee performance reviews, it gives managers practical tips and guidance to develop their employees and make smarter business decisions.
Canvas isn’t just a product. It’s a breath of fresh air. It’s an educational revolution. It’s a powerful new way to—pardon our optimism—change the world. It’s a rapidly growing company with an industry-pushing platform, hundreds of talented employees, and millions of passionate students and teachers. And, sure, there’s also a pretty incredible product in there, too.
The PowerDMS Training Management platform allows organizations to conduct online training as well as classroom courses via their SaaS solution. The software supports the creation and administration of tests to ensure retention. It also facilitates compliance and accreditation by generating certifications for completed courses.
Wisetail is a forward-thinking training and communication LMS platform built to engage today’s workforce. For innovators who know a people-first culture is the most important driver of success in the modern workforce. Gives millions of users the chance to learn and develop in an engaging environment and our platform is crafted to meet the unique needs and challenges in today’s workplace.
The most comprehensive ear training software. Auralia is a fun and easy way to use your computer for ear training, relative pitch training, music interval training, playing by ear, chord recognition, sight-singing and more.The software's aural training exercises are perfect for everyone, from beginners to advanced students. And the easy to use interface makes it the ideal way to introduce music ear training and perfect pitch to people of all ages. Auralia is suitable for both classical and contemporary musicians - of any age and ability.
The SumTotal elixHR™ Platform is the first virtual single source of truth for all of your HR data, and it stands for "extending and linking HR information and processes". Get one global view of your workforce, advanced analytics and modeling, mobile capabilities and the ability to extend HR information into the other business applications your people already use — without the need for HRMS consolidation or full scale integration.
Affordably run large scale, extended enterprise training programs. Rated #2 Most Affordable by Gartner’s Capterra, Edvance360 includes video-conferencing, manage/track learning (on and off LMS), provide unlimited user roles with custom learning experiences based on unique needs, skill-based learning paths, and learner's desired objectives. Course-building wizards deploy courses (online docs, SCORM, surveys, tests, videos, etc.). Multi-tenant option for those selling business to business. Optional content library. Sign up for free 30-day trial!
eLogic produces meaningful results for its client partners. An industry leading provider of LMS, custom content development and learning strategy solutions. Cloud-based technology, content capabilities and accompanying subject matter expertise provide every partner with a tailored approach to success.
GoSkills is a cloud-based LMS that equips businesses of all sizes and industries with the tools to effectively train their teams.Seamlessly manage and assign in-house and third-party courses and track your learners’ progress with easy to understand reporting and analytics.GoSkills differentiates itself from competitors by providing a free and flexible LMS, and offers a curated, expert-led course library, which uses a microlearning format to strengthen learning retention and avoid wasted time.
Leverage the instant deployment of a cloud-based LMS fully integrated with iSpring authoring tools. Cover every step of the e-Learning process with iSpring Learn (1) create mobile-ready courses in PowerPoint; (2) publish your courses to an LMS with one click; (3) get statistics that goes far beyond SCORM. Launch comprehensive e-Learning fast and easy without straining your budget.
Absorb LMS is designed for the efficient creation and delivery of self-paced online mobile learning, live instructor-led events, and blended learning programs. Can automate the entire learning management process, from learner registration, to enrollment, tracking and reporting, communication, certification, and beyond.
Cornerstone LMS is a SaaS suite of tools that enables organizations to implement learning initiatives. Features for executing internal training include gamification, reporting, compliance training and integrations. The solution also provides capabilities that allow organizations to offer course content to external stakeholders. The system is suitable for SMBs, mid-market companies and enterprises.
TOPYX® is an award-winning, easy-to-use, learning management system, built from the ground-up with integrated social learning tools to create an engaging and collaborative learning environment like nothing else available today.
Performance Pro industry-leading performance management and salary administration applications. Our employee software is time-tested, content rich and are used by over 100,000 professionals. Designed by human resource professionals with decades of experience to be secure, effective, flexible and easy to use.
Brainier is a completely new, mobile ready, cloud-based learning management platform that provides customers with an extremely high level of flexibility for the rapidly changing needs of today’s learners. At its core, Elan is a LMS with all of the expected features built-in and included out-of-the-box.
BirdDogHR is a talent management suite that provides employee performance management for thousands of companies nationwide. It helps companies attract and hire top talent, align employee goals with company goals, create succession plans and ensure compliance with government regulations. It assists with managing employees throughout every stage of their employment. It can be deployed through the cloud and is mobile-friendly, so you can access it anywhere, anytime. It's intended for small- to medium-sized businesses.
PerformYard helps HR build their vision for performance management, their software can be slimmed down for simple annual reviews or built up for complex strategies. Employees get a simple and lightweight experience that let’s them focus on the feedback.Manage your performance reviews efficiently. Performyard facilitates any review process, across any frequency and with a multitude of customizable inputs.Track goals across your organization. Gain insights into goal progress, cascade corporate objectives and update goal progress within performance reviews. The system allows goals to be dynamic and evolve as your business does.Facilitate ongoing feedback to recognize achievement, document individual performance and save important notes. Feedback can be a continuous dialogue that helps employees succeed.Account setup, live trainings, a dedicated success manager, and phone support are always included for every PerformYard customer.
Totara Learn enables you to deliver learning effectively through individual learning plans which reflect your employees’ roles, training needs and objectives. Totara provides a functionally rich learning platform which can be implemented quickly and at a fraction of the cost of proprietary solutions.
At the core of Meridian Global® is a multiple award winning learning management system (LMS) that supports an organization’s learning, development and performance strategy by giving users access to a learning technology platform from their desktops or mobile devices. The platform helps organizations address learning challenges across the extended enterprise, provides full integration capabilities and offers secure on-premise and cloud deployment options.
At KMI Learning we are experts in extended enterprise (outward facing) eLearning. Our responsive and streamlined LMS helps turn clients’ content into revenue, customers into product experts and their audience into their advocates. User experience has been our focus and elegant simplicity is the result. The new redesigned admin interface enables you to manage users and content with ease on the desktop, with your tablet or even your smartphone!
FinancialForce HCM gives you the power to manage your entire workforce with one, comprehensive, cloud solution. The unique value of this is the power of the Salesforce platform which delivers native collaboration, global, social and mobile capabilities to your workforce and allows you to better communicate and engage. Now you can empower and retain your workforce while delivering valuable dashboards and reporting options to your business managers.
Saba TalentSpace is an organically built cloud-based talent management suite that reinforces and drives higher employee performance across all talent programs — whether that is performance management, learning and development, succession and leadership, compensation or recruiting. The suite of applications are designed from the ground up to work together to drive performance, offering a consistent and user-friendly interface for every user. Saba offers industry-specific solutions to address the unique requirements and challenges of companies in healthcare, professional services, manufacturing, the public sector and more.
GnosisConnect allows you to access multiple types of learning modalities from a simple and intuitive interface. Access E-Learning, Video, Simulation, Webpage, PDF, Document, Slide Deck, Podcast, and Webinar anytime and anywhere and through any device. Brings you the advantage of cloud technology by allowing you to host unlimited courses and distribute your learning to unlimited users. Upload, delete, and assign courses; set pass criteria, certificates, deadline for completion and much more.
SuccessFactors LMS is highly acclaimed, enabling you to easily develop, deploy, manage, and report a comprehensive learning program. Ensures compliance, accelerates employee and business performance, decreases expenses, and stimulates collaboration.
Pricing & Cost Guide
See the Price/User for the top Learning Management Software… plus the most important considerations and questions to ask when shopping.
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