Organizations that need to train and teach a lot of people on a number of different subjects probably don't have the time or resources to offer live, in-person training, or be able to pull everyone from their regular job duties at the same time to attend that training.
This is where a learning management system can make the difference, letting people take their training on their own time, test their comprehension, and even keep track of their test results. Plus, this makes it easier for the HR people who have to track all the attendees, keep track of the test scores, and ensure that everyone has actually completed the required training by the deadline.
What is a learning management system?
A learning management system is a software platform that lets you create, deliver, test, track, and report participation in your training programs. This can include video instruction, video conferencing, slides, testing, and even gamification of the results (giving badges for achievements and levels of completion).
A learning management system can either be synchronous (everyone is in class at the same time or asynchronous (each person can take pre-recorded classes).
To figure out how to find the best learning management system for your organization, you need to assess what it is your organization needs. Come up with your list of non-negotiables, those things that you absolutely must have if your LMS is going to work for your organization.
Some of the non-negotiables our customers have told us about include:
- Cost-effective: Helps save money and has a quick return on investment.
- Central storage: Cloud-based storage for all training materials, modules, videos, quizzes, and employee status tracking. No one person should be able to gatekeep that information.
- Easy to use: The interface is intuitive and easy to use, both for content creators and employees.
- Testing: Create customizable tests to ensure your employees understand the information.
- Mapping: The ability to map policies to accreditation requirements to training modules.
- Integration: Import quality resources and content from third-party providers.
- Mobile ready: Use mobile phones and tablets to access training materials and videos, and to take quizzes and assessments.
- Acknowledgment & tracking: Keep track of everyone who has completed training modules, tests, and units.
- Customer support: Having access to a friendly, knowledgeable support team 24/7. (This one is especially critical if you're incorporating a new LMS.)
In this article, we'll look at 10 of the best learning management systems, some of the best features of each one, and their pros and cons. Finally, we'll look at a learning management system that not only lets you train employees, but you can map your training content to your organization's policies, and then you can map all that to your compliance and accreditation requirements.
What are the best learning management systems?
It's hard to choose the best learning management systems because there are a few dozen, each serving a different purpose. Some are geared toward businesses, hospitals, and law enforcement organizations, while others are suitable for K-12 schools or colleges and universities.
We looked at several learning management systems suited for businesses and municipal organizations based on a variety of online reviews and ratings. The top learning management systems are listed below in no particular order.
Docebo is a robust learning management system that delivers customer training, new employee onboarding, partner training, employee development, and compliance training. It supports 35 different native integrations and APIs so you can connect with tools like GSuite, Zoom, Shopify, and Salesforce.
It also supports gamification, localization, language support for different countries and populations, white labeling, and cloud-based functionality, which means it can be used anywhere. It also offers automation of administrative tasks, is easily scalable, and can be configured to your staffing requirements and abilities.
Docebo also has its own content library with thousands of courses, as well as different membership levels that let you serve 50, 150, or unlimited courses to your staff.
- It's an Italian company with integrations and offices around the world, including the U.S., Canada, UK, Dubai, and France
- Supports multiple environments without any integration problems
- The API is a little wonky, so not all objects and apps can be easily accessed
- New users may have some problems because the product is rather complex and large
- Customer support can be lacking in both of these areas
2. Adobe Captivate Prime
Geared more toward the enterprise-level organization, Adobe Captivate Prime is a digital learning platform that delivers content to employees, customers, and partners. The platform lets you personalize the learning experience for groups or individuals, and then analyze the results.
Just like Docebo, Captivate Prime offers API connectivity with other products and platforms. And it uses artificial intelligence, as well as admin and the system, to create personalized training widgets that recommend other learning programs that users can take advantage of.
Plus, Captivate Prime offers gamification among groups, letting users compete to get badges or compare their performance on a leaderboard. The badges are even sharable on social media. Plus, the platform can handle recurring certifications by assigning different courses and CEU programs for users, even reassigning programs before certifications expire.
- AI- and system-based personalized training widgets will select appropriate training programs for staff.
- Integrates with external products like Zoom, LinkedIn, Lynda.com, and Slack.
- Dashboards for compliance, tracking, and reporting, as well as gamification badges.
- Suitable only for enterprise-level organizations, not small businesses.
- May be bigger than some organizations need (you don't need to rent a semi-trailer just to move a couch across town).
- The support team can be weak in handling technical issues.
- May be some issues when importing certain content, like PowerPoint files.
TalentLMS is one of the more widely-used learning platforms and works to help businesses build training programs. It's a cloud-based management system that lets you import and create your own content, and it has 54 of its own courses that will help your teams improve their performance. There are courses on data protection, GDPR, staying motivated, organizing and motivating a team, and even marketing essentials.
It also integrates APIs from other solutions, including Salesforce, Zoom, Zapier, and GoToMeeting. Plus, it lets you host virtual training through conferencing software like Zoom or GoToMeeting. You can also assess learning and comprehension with TalentLMS' assessment engine, as well as analyze the test results.
- Easy to create curriculums.
- Mix e-learning and instructor-led education.
- Monetize courses by selling them via PayPal or Stripe.
- Instructors have control of course materials, course authoring, and course management.
- There is a limited amount of content available to users. You have to bring or create a lot of your own.
- The content that is available is rather generic and not specific to law enforcement organizations, healthcare organizations, or municipal governments.
- Reported issues with customer support.
Mindflash can help train new employees on specific business functions, letting you onboard new employees, teach your sales and customer service teams about your latest products, or train employees on safety protocols and business ethics. It can also be used by healthcare organizations and municipal and state governments.
It offers cloud-based e-learning which is accessible anywhere you can get a wifi or cellular signal. So your staff can watch when it's convenient for them, including while working from home. It also offers features for quizzes, reports, and reporting dashboards.
You're able to create new content or import third-party content from a number of different sources. And you can white-label Mindflash to match your own organization's branding and color schemes. This makes the user interface match your own branding guidelines, which also helps your employees, partners, and customers feel like they're learning on your environment.
- Easy to create content or import third-party content.
- Can set automatic reminders for employees to complete training.
- It's ideal for basic training, but your organization and staff may soon outgrow its capabilities.
- Some reviews say there are issues with the reporting features.
- Does not seem to offer subscriptions to third-party content providers that governments and healthcare organizations might find useful.
- Cannot map any compliance or accreditation requirements to your training modules.
Modern learning software for sales and support teams.
Lessonly is a simple training software that helps teams learn and practice their own in-house skills and knowledge. There are 1.8 million users of Lessonly at more than 600 companies. They offer built-in course authoring, so course creators can create everything on the Lessonly platform instead of other design software.
The company has products and integrations for sales training, customer service training, and everything can be accessed via the cloud or their mobile devices. And users can give feedback so instructors and designers can improve or solve sticking points.
You can use a drag-and-drop interface to add text, images, videos, and SCORM (Shareable Content Object Reference Model) to create your content. You can also customize your content to match your company's brand colors and design factors.
- Built-in course authoring means you don't have to create your slide deck in PowerPoint or Keynote and then import it.
- The company offers implementation and onboarding services for new clients.
- While they don't have live customer support after business hours (Eastern Time), they do have an extensive help library and a 24/7 chatbot.
- The company only offers live support during their regular business hours, which means everything is in Eastern Standard Time (EST). If you're on the West Coast, you need to get your questions answered before 2 PM.
- There's nothing specifically geared toward law enforcement or healthcare, although they do have enterprise-level capabilities.
6. SAP Litmos
SAP Litmos has its own online content creation tools that let instructors use multiple formats and create different learning modules. Instructors are able to lead training virtually, as well as give assessments and quizzes to measure their understanding of the content.
The solution offers customized learning paths for users, letting them create their own courses and units of instruction. There are also customizable reports and dashboards so managers can ensure employees are meeting training deadlines and passing the appropriate tests.
The company also has a large content library, from the standard customer service and team-building courses, including communication, ethical strategies, and performance appraisals. There is also a catalog for compliance for Australia and New Zealand, including diversity, ethics, health and safety, and risk and governance. There is another catalog dedicated solely to healthcare systems in the U.S., including compliance and regulatory.
- Gamification and badges make learning more enjoyable for users, as they can see achievements and compare their performance.
- Fully extensible with its APIs, which means it can connect with products from Google, Microsoft, Zoom, Slack, and Salesforce.
- Their extensive content library covers more than just the standard customer service/Marketing 101 level courses.
- Needs to improve their customization section for a better customer experience.
- The development team is also very slow to respond to customer feedback and adding new features, and customer service teams were reported to have taken several days to respond to complaints.
- There are also issues with customizing reports, especially for larger organizations.
7. Tovuti LMS
Tovuti is like several of these learning management systems in that they have onsite authoring available, which allows instructional designers to create their own content within the Tovuti system, not importing their collateral like some of the others.
They also have an ecommerce functionality, so instructors can sell and monetize their learning content. Plus it can be exported as SCORM-compliant modules, which means they can be imported to other LMSes as needed.
Tovuti offers a gamification component, letting users earn badges and track their progress on the leaderboard, but it also provides checklists so admins can keep track of their users and ensure people are meeting their training requirements by the appropriate deadlines.
- Tovuti offers virtual classrooms as well as breakout rooms, and the ability to track virtual class attendance.
- The notification system lets you automate email messages whenever someone completes a training or is in danger of missing a deadline.
- Admins can also create pop-up notifications within the system, which can even be geofenced, so they only appear when the user is in a specific location, based on their GPS location.
- The interface can be a bit cumbersome, with a lot of button clicks just to achieve a single task.
- It's not possible to have more than 50 users in a virtual classroom with cameras on.
- The learning curve can be a bit steep for some users, with so many new features causing confusion for them.
8. Growth Engineering's Academy LMS
Geared toward academia, large enterprises, nonprofits, and small- to medium-sized businesses, the Academy LMS offers social learning so team members can get together to share their knowledge via different social streams. They can also join specific "Clubs" and "Expert Areas."
They have also taken gamification to the next level, with their Knowledge Arcade, which the company says has been found to increase engagement by 9x over other comparable solutions. Not only do they offer badges, but you can encourage competition with experience points, leaderboards, and even player-versus-player battles.
The Genie authoring tool is game-based so instructors can create game-oriented learning sessions. Instructors just have to upload their assets, select a game format, and then build their learning module around the framework with the assets they've already uploaded.
- Gamification for users is a top priority, which helps users increase their motivation. Can increase involvement and fun of training.
- Encourages team-based sharing, so team members can reinforce what they've learned, support each other, and provide accountability for completing training.
- Runs slowly when the user base, especially the admins, is too large.
- Some of the native content seems rather simplistic and elementary.
Looop – with three O's – works hard to know what learning and development (L&D) professionals want, and they do what they can to deliver their product to a business audience. They help L&D managers automate their more manual processes, focus on building "resources before courses," and gather as much data as they can to allow managers to make informed decisions.
Looop lets you divide training up into specific employee groups, and deliver only the necessary training information to that group without bogging them down with everyone else's information. You can also adapt your content to the specific roles within your organization as well as the situations they may encounter.
You can also automate the training and track everyone's completion to see who has completed their necessary programs, and who needs some reminders. Plus you can even see if the ones who are behind have even been opening your communications in the first place. This helps you keep on top of those who might miss deadlines or have certificates expire.
- Looop's development team is on the ball and will incorporate users' feature requests as quickly as they can.
- Allows for immediate content updates that can be pushed out to users as needed.
- Their groups function ensures those update notifications only go to those who are affected.
- Integrates with different tools like Google, Microsoft, LinkedIn, and Slack.
- Some reviewers weren't happy with the ability to use certifications.
- Looop does not have much in the way of pre-written content, which means small L&D operations or instructors will have to manage that on their own.
- Not as much third-party content available. It's great for organizations that have the staff and resources to write their training modules, but smaller organizations who need additional content will need to look elsewhere.
Moodle is the only learning management system on our list that's open-source, which means it's developed and upgraded by a community of developers who want to see the best for this program. It also comes with a mobile application, which means your employees can access the system from their favorite mobile device.
And because there's a global community of developers, localization and language are not a big issue – chances are, someone else has already created the interface and instructions in your users' native languages. It's easy to configure and change, and there are developers available to help you with this feature. There is also a download section that has several plugins for activities and themes.
There is also a robust online community forum with users sharing tips and best practices on installation, teaching, and troubleshooting. And Moodle can integrate different multimedia formats, and offers different progress tracking functions and learning rubrics.
- It's open-source, which means you're likely to see new features and improvements much sooner.
- Offers a single platform to create multiple courses and manage the content data.
- Each user can personalize their dashboard to suit their particular learning style and preference.
- The site design and layout are customizable, and it can embed external resources.
- It's open-source. Some organizations get a little nervous about open-source software, even though Moodle says they have a safe and secure system.
- There's a difficult learning curve in the beginning.
- The interface hasn't been updated and is rather clunky.
- You can't assign different learning programs to different categories.
- Moodle does not seem to have any course content available, whether their own or third-party.
So which one of these has everything you need? Were you able to identify the best learning management system out of these 10? Which one had all your non-negotiables? Which one will help you see a fast ROI? Which one is easy to use? Do any of them have a solid customer support team, or can they map your policies to your accreditation requirements and training courses?
We've got one more option for you to consider first, and we think this one will check most boxes on your list of non-negotiables.
We're talking, of course, about PowerDMS. (It is our website, after all.)
Our policy management system is more than just a learning management system. It's also a cloud-based policy management solution where your organization can create, store, track, and archive all your organizational policies. You can share them with your entire organization, and then map those policies to your training requirements.
And because our policy management system has a built-in learning management system, you can have many of the features you've read about in this article along with state-of-the-art policy management software. It's a one-stop solution for your accreditation, policies, and training.
If you would like to learn more about how PowerDMS can meet your training and policy needs, request a free demo today.