Learning management system

In short, a Learning Management System or LMS, is a pack of software that gives you everything you need to run everything from one single online course to up to thousands of courses, addressing millions of students.It is a one-stop-shop or platform for learning and development opportunities. It is an easy way to deploy e-learning options such as online courses to employees or other users and then track their progress. 


Organizations can use an LMS to add, create, and administer courses, assign them to specific people or teams, monitor progress, measure performance, and generate detailed reports.


Learning management system examples


LMSs can come in several shapes and sizes. Here are some commonly used learning management system examples:


Cloud-based LMS

“Cloud-based” systems can be accessed from anywhere because they do not require specific hardware or software to be installed on the users’ computer. Instead, users log on via a web portal. Benefits of the Cloud model include low start-up costs, easy implementation, and automatic updates. Cloud environments provide a high level of cybersecurity. 


A study by Capterra found that 87% of LMS buyers opted for Cloud-based systems rather than on-premise hosting. 


Accessible anytime from anywhere, cloud-based LMSs have proven vital in continuing training and education during the COVID-19 crisis, while companies with on-premise hardware and software have had more difficulty.  


Software-as-a-Service (SaaS)

Cloud-based SaaS means software is licensed on a subscription basis and is hosted centrally by the software provider. A common pricing model will offer different levels based on the number of users, which means they can be scaled fast as the user base grows or shrinks. SaaS is also known as on-demand software, web-based software, and hosted software. 


Open-source LMS


An open-source LMS means the creators have made its source code available for any developer or user to modify for any purpose. There are no licensing fees, but this does not necessarily mean it is free. There may be a cost involved in downloading the software.  


Open-source is a popular option with organizations that want to customize the source code to suit their eLearning needs, or for businesses that want to avoid ongoing license costs. 


Examples of open-source software you may be familiar with outside the LMS space are the web browser Mozilla Firefox and the website creation platform WordPress. Both of these platforms allow you to modify and redistribute the source code.


Free LMS

“Freemium” learning management systems often come with limited courses and other features, but they can be an ideal entry point into LMS for SMEs with budget constraints. 


A popular example of a freemium product is the music streaming service Spotify, which offers free and paid options. Freemium LMSs function in a similar way, where they are free up to a certain number of features or users, beyond which the business must purchase a subscription. 

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