To provide you with the most recent information about this industry, we have recently updated this article with details on 2019’s leading free LMS solutions.
Online learning allows companies to increase their revenue by 26% per employee as well as boost productivity. However, LMS solutions can be quite expensive. The typical price of subscription-based learning management programs ranges from two figures to over four figures a month. That alone will prod you to look for budget-friendly options. Better yet, opt for a free LMS software instead.
While there’s a scarcity of free LMS software out there unlike other software categories where a free plan is almost a standard offering, there are freemiums and free open source, on top of completely free LMS software available. Some product vendors even offer free LMS solutions to teachers and instructors and for educational purposes.
Aside from cost consideration, another factor that may lead you to turn to free solutions includes the size of your business. Although continuous employee training is a must, being a starting business with a small staff may not be an ideal situation for you to get a premium LMS solution. Settling for a free LMS software may be your initial option in this instance.
As your business grows and you hire more employees, you will eventually need to have a full-featured solution to help you manage staff training, onboarding, talent retention, and training course preparation and distribution, among others. To learn more, you can read this article that explores learning management system features, types and pricing and the benefits it can bring to your organization.
Take note that open source solutions are not entirely free, but many are offered without licensing costs and are becoming popular. In fact in a survey by The New Stack and The Linux Foundation, 77% of respondents now have an open source culture in their company. With this, they can enjoy a more flexible LMS experience that doesn’t break the bank.
If you’re looking to implement a learning management system but lack the initial budget, then you can start with the free LMS software solutions below. They consist of freemiums which are basic entry plans of a larger set of paid packages; free open source platforms; and completely free solutions. Here’s our line-up:
Do understand that one type of free software – freemium or free edition – is usually limited in the number of features and users, and designed to be an entry level point to more robust premium plans. Assess your needs for a learning management system, and if you decide to initially go for a zero cost solution, consider those that we’ve included here.
TalentLMS is a cloud-based LMS designed to handle the training and educational requirements of organizations for their employees, partners, customers or students. The online solution eliminates the complexity of creating and delivering e-learning by simplifying and streamlining the process. With its rich features and powerful capabilities, TalentLMS has emerged as our top LMS solution. Want to try the free features before committing to a plan? You can easily do so when you sign up for a TalenLMS free trial here.
Being cloud powered, there is no need for any installation, upgrade or backup; you can access the platform on any device; you get a secured and encrypted channel for all data communication; you can build e-learning courses in minutes with a wide range of online materials; you can customize learning content with your own domain, logo and theme; and you can generate simple and comprehensive analytics about everything that happens in your e-learning environment.
TalentLMS free plan highlights:
Moodle is a free and open source modular, plugin-based software that allows you to create or add features as needed. It lets you create your own private online hub filled with dynamic courses for education anytime, anywhere.
The product provides a complete set of learner-centric applications and collaborative learning environments that encourage both teaching and learning.It supports a variety of functions and activities including bulk course creation, peer assessment workshops, detailed reporting, collaboration, real-time messaging, wiki forums, multilingual capability, multimedia integration, and progress tracking, among others.
Moodle offers 2 free plans:
TalentCards is a mobile learning app built on the Web and delivered over smartphones. It enables you to implement a micro-learning method and deliver information in bit sizes to make it easy to understand and help users to learn on the go. With TalentCards, you can create learning cards on the Web and deliver them through the app to train people on any course or subject.
Learners get easy-to-digest learning resources, take tests to assess the knowledge gained, use gamification elements to review their performance, and train themselves anywhere, anytime. It makes online learning not only simple but more engaging and effective.
TalentCards combined its vast experience in corporate training solutions and best-in-class technologies to create a mobile app that efficiently delivers small-sized training, focusing on ease of content creation, learner experience, and micro-learning.
TalentCards free offering:
Coggno is an online training marketplace and learning management system that encourages simplified training and certification anywhere in the world. It delivers a single, cloud-based system to connect content providers, HR organizations, and workers. The system allows you to create and curate your own training university in the Coggno Cloud, deployable in minutes so you can quickly provide your company with an extensive resource for training.
The LMS you build can be labeled with your logo, color preferences and branding. You can load your own courses or select from a vast library of courses, view and track your trainees’ progress, and measure ROI of your training initiatives.
Many of the courses come with a certification which can be downloaded from your account upon course completion. Coggno’s LMS is currently available in five languages and uses messaging and notification tools to send messages and reminders to your learners.
Chamilo is a free, open source LMS that lets you create a virtual campus for the provision of online and semi-online training. It is designed for ease of use and speed, and includes features such as courses catalog, skills management, certificates generation, configurations of complex configurations, and SCORM support. This solution can accommodate over 3,000 simultaneous connected learners through its cloud compatibility, high availability, and quick resolution of security flaws.
With Chamilo, you can easily create training content, install web hosting solutions for free, track students’ results, improve learning methodologies, use both synchronous and asynchronous communication channels, and apply visual e-learning tools as well as staff selection and gamification. In addition, it offers a shopping cart to help you sell and monetize your e-learning courses.
Sakai is a “community source” software built from the contributions of institutional community members as well as individuals. It is a product of the joint resources of colleges, universities and some commercial firms who help design, build, test and refine the software on an ongoing, voluntary basis.
The LMS platform comes with responsive design and wide range of core features that include spreadsheet-style interface, lessons tool enhancements, banner alerts, popup notifications, online assessments, reporting capabilities, intelligent feedback, mathematical notations, and many others.
The Sakai environment enables and promotes training, learning, research and other types of acquiring knowledge. As a platform developed by its adopter community, Sakai is continually improved to meet the demands of the community members it was created for – students, teachers, and academic organizations.
LatitudeLearning is designed for training managers and channel executives looking to meet the specific challenges to keep their distribution channels at par in training and knowledge with their employees.
Channel training poses challenges to many LMS solutions – learners are unknown, no management control over training; different location of learners, and different learning environments. LatitudeLearning addresses these by having a centralized learning environment that can be tailored to each learner wherever they are, and provides a channel performance roadmap that enables you to map each learner’s training.
The LMS offers a catalog of courses for learners to choose from and a partner onboarding process that empowers your channel partner to manage the onboarding of its learners to your training program. You can preset courses with clear goals and performance metrics and incentivize course completion.
LatitudeLearning free plan highlights:
Schoology is an online learning management system and social collaboration tool that allows you to easily produce and disseminate academic content. The system is primarily designed for K-12 and higher education but applicable as well for corporate training.
The solution’s student focus facilitates better collaboration and student engagement through tools that lets you share instructional materials, apply best practices, streamline content creation and management, undertake grade recording, and monitor attendance, among others.
Schoology’s flexible, connected interface provides unique curriculum management; standards-compatible content creation, sharing, and tracking; and in-depth oversight for improving student outcomes and meeting student needs.
Schoology basic package highlights:
ATutor is an open source Web-based learning management system that lets you develop online courses and create e-learning content. It is designed with adaptability and accessibility in mind, and provides several tools and features for developers, administrators, instructors, and learners.
For students and learners, features include assistive technology for those with disabilities, social networking, auto course logging, inbox/messaging, content tracker, file storage, and communication tools. Instructors get social networking features, searchable handbook, SCORM Run-Time Environment and SCO Manager, Course Tool Preferences, content usage, content and visual editor, assignment drop box, file and backup manager, and more.
ATutor’s technology offers a cost effective tool for small and large organizations that present or deliver fully independent online courses and instructional materials.
Claroline Connect is modern LMS platform that provides you the tools to create, share, choose and organize training elements. It is founded on a collaborative vision, allowing you to interact with other users within the framework of a common project.
The solution brings with it an array of features and functionalities such as anytime and any device access to content, compatibility with external content, on site and distance learning management, invitations and certificates generation, learning platform personalization, multilevel collaboration, and multimedia support.
Claroline Connect puts together all essential tools and technologies to drive creativity, collaboration, and flexibility in organizing, managing, and delivering any type of content be it for distance learning, on site learning, tutoring, or massive open online courses (MOOC).
Claroline Connect highlights:
CourseSites is the free version of Blackboard Learn, the premium solution from the Blackboard Company which specializes in providing educational technology solutions and services.
CourseSites is a hosted online course creation and facilitation service to help individual K–12 teachers, college and university instructors and community educators add a web–based component to their courses, or even host an entire course on the Internet. You can even choose your own URL so students can find your page easily.
Being an online solution, you can engage your students anywhere, anytime with your own interactive e-learning platform. It allows you to post and update course materials, interact with students, promote collaboration, and assess and improve performance, all from one place.
MyiCourse is a free LMS platform for those who wish to teach online. It lets you create a virtual institution where you can publish or, if you wish, sell educational content. It is an ideal solution for small businesses as it allows you to create customized, interactive courses to train and engage your employees.
Corporate trainers can also benefit from the system with its advanced analytics that enables you to track student traffic, time spent on courses, test results, and detailed course sales. Other features include branding options, test questions creation, customizable certificates, custom registration, and the ability to monetize coursework.
You can either host a “public” college with your courses available to everyone on the internet, or put up a “private” college with content available to a selected group of people.
Eliademy is an online LMS solution that provides teaches and instructors easy to use tools and to train employees, customers and students. It offers features such as course editor to render all the text, pictures, videos, audios and interactive elements you need; interactive discussion where you can organize chats into different themes for better engagement on specific topics; tasks and quizzes; grading tools; online multimedia; course completion certificates; and notification system.
In addition, you get a personal study calendar, analytics, and support for over 30 languages. Eliademy is designed as an alternative to commercial learning management systems and built specifically for teachers, helping them streamline the creation and delivery of e-learning course and content through an accessible “classroom in the cloud” platform.
Chalkup is a social learning management system designed mainly for schools, particularly K-12. But with all the essential learning tools it brings, it can very well be applicable for corporate training especially since it works with Google Apps which is beneficial for both educational and business endeavors.
Chalkup is built as a collaborative platform to connect teachers and students; hence it provides a central hub for course conversations, assignments, electronic grading, resource materials, and real-time stream of what’s happening across all courses.
It has productivity and workload management tools for viewing student tasks and assignments, adding custom tasks to to-do list, mapping out task in a master calendar, and getting notified. To further drive collaboration, the solution includes communication tools such as messaging, class chat, polls, and file comments.
EdX is a nonprofit online initiative created in 2012 through the partnership of Harvard and MIT as well as several leading global organizations. It provides interactive online courses and MOOCs from some of the top universities and educational institutions in the world.
It is used not only by students and schools but also by big corporations such as Google and Microsoft for further learning or career advancement of their employees through certifications (at a price). In fact, the two tech giants contribute expertise and resources to the edX project to further fine-tune and improve the system.
Open edX is the open source platform that powers all of the edX courses. With it, educational institutions and corporate organizations can extend the platform and build their own courses to meet their specific needs.
Open edX LMS highlights:
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