Learning Management System Comparison

A Learning Management System Comparison

When it comes to elearning software, learning management systems (or LMS) are one of the most important systems a university, college, school, or business will purchase. Make the wrong choice on expensive content management system software and you could either be perfectly setup for years of successful elearning, or you could be on a road to educational disaster.

With the massive development of educational technology and elearning software, school administrators and business administrators have many excellent options for learning management systems. While this article does not provide an exhaustive list of learning management systems, it will definitely give you a learning management system comparison starting point for researching and evaluating several of the latest and most prominent systems available

What is a Learning Management System?

A learning management system (LMS), also often called a “content management system (CMS),” can be defined as an application/interface that provides authenticated logins, online resources, communications, tests, shared files, and database services to facilitate an online class.

For example, in higher education, Blackboard is a very popular LMS. The Blackboard system has the courses protected within it, and students login to the system to access they’re elearning classes and material. Assignments are also typically completed and submitted through the LMS, and grades are also posted within the LMS.

In short, learning management software serves as the foundation for all learning material, communication, delivery, processing, and more.

The Learning Management Systems Software

In this learning management system comparison we will be evaluating the following learning management systems:

School Learning Management System (LMS)


Open Source



Free Trial?

Blackboard Learn Varies. Individual consultation typically needed. No
  • Teaching and Learning
  • Community Building
  • Content Management and Sharing
  • Community driven experience
  • Commitment to ongoing improvement


http://www.blackboard.com/ No
Canvas (by Instructure) Varies. Individual consultation typically needed. Free for teachers. Yes
  • Cloud-based
  • Easily embed videos, audio and photos from the web into your course.
  • SpeedGrader
  • Rubrics
  • Get your Notifications via email, Facebook or text message.
  • Ad-hoc group creation
  • Built-in video and live chat
  • Real-time reporting
http://www.instructure.com/ Yes
Moodle Free, open source software  (under the GNU General Public License) Yes
  • Scalable to hundreds of thousands of students, yet it can also be used for a primary school or an education hobbyist.
  • Many institutions use it as their platform to conduct fully online courses, while some use it simply to augment face-to-face courses (known as blended learning).
  • Many of our users love to use the activity modules (such as forums, databases and wikis) to build richly collaborative communities of learning around their subject matter (in the social constructionist tradition), while others prefer to use Moodle as a way to deliver content to students (such as standard SCORM packages) and assess learning using assignments or quizzes.
http://www.moodle.org/ Free
Sakai CLE (Collaboration and Learning Environment) Free. Yes
  • A robust system supporting over 4 million educational users to enhance collaborative teaching, learning and research.
  • Academic collaboration
  • Research collaboration
  • Portfolios
  • Enterprise reliability
  • Open pedagogy
  • Open standards
http://www.sakaiproject.org/ Yes
Joomla LMS
  • Standard (from 299 USD);
  • Professional (from 799 USD)
  • Flexible course management
  • Multilanguage support
  • Collaboration tools
  • Multiple LMS user roles (CEO, teacher, student etc.)
  • Completion certificates, full SCORM support
  • Advanced reporting and tracking
http://www.joomlalms.com/ 30 days and 30 license users
Softchalk Cloud
  • $395/year — Educational Price
  • $150/year — Student Price
  • $495/year — Government/Military Price
  • $795/year — Retail Price
  • SoftChalk Enterprise/Multi-license/Site-license Pricing is also available
  • Cloud-based
  • Transform existing course materials into interactive e-learning content with minimal time, effort and resources.
  • Build, customize and personalize content by mashing up your own materials with rich media (video, audio, images), interactive activities, quizzes and text.
  • Anytime, anywhere access.
  • Can be used as an LMS or integrated with an existing LMS for lesson and elearning object creation.
  • Modular
http://softchalkcloud.com/ 30-Day Trial