Since the economic downturn began I’ve noticed much more interest in open source Learning Management Systems (LMS), and it’s no surprise that when people ask what the options are, the answer is usually Moodle. Now, there’s nothing wrong with Moodle, but it certainly isn’t the only open source LMS out there.
Because there is no licensing cost involved with open source solutions, its easy for organisations to just jump in and set up the first solution that comes along. There is however a cost to installation and support, either financial or time related. Anyone setting up an LMS has a responsibility to research and choose the solution that is right for the learners and the organisation.
As a starting point here are 10 open source alternatives to Moodle. These are deliberately brief descriptions, and I would encourage you to visit these sites and explore each solution in some detail.
Docebo In use in corporate and higher education settings. Offers support for a number of different learning models and is compatible with SCORM 1.2 and 2004. It offers interfaces to external systems such as video conferencing and HR systems.
eFront The base install is quite minimalist, but this is easily extended with modules available from the site. Commercial versions with additional features are also available.
Dokeos A very well featured LMS that also offers content authoring and video conferencing tools. Supports converting Office documents into Learning Paths. Offers user synchronisation with HR management systems such as Oracle and SAP.
Claroline Aimed more at the educational than corporate arena, this system is based around specific pedagogical principles (as is Moodle). Supports SCORM content as well as a built in Wiki and other online content tools.
ATutor Actually an LCMS, ATutor also offers tools for the management of learning. The “A” stands for Accessible and it has excellent support for key accessibility standards as well as support for SCORM, IMS etc.
ILIAS Provides testing and assessment tools as well as collaboration tools such as chat and forums, and distribution technologies like RSS and podcasts.
OLAT A well featured system in its tenth year of development. Recently the winner of the “IMS Learning Impact ‘Leadership Award’ 2009 for best open source learning platform”.
Sakai Aimed at Universities, this project has a clear roadmap and has seem considerable development in the last few years. Backed by the Sakai Foundation which manages relationships with educational and commercial supporters.
.LRN Originally developed at MIT, .LRN claims to be the most widely adopted enterprise class open source LMS solution.
openelms Marketed specifically as a business solution, and claims a diverse customer base that ranges from Merrill Lynch to Queens Park Rangers football club.
Ganesha This LMS developed by Anema, has been around since 2001 and is in use in several large organisations. The site, and the LMS itself, are in French but it can be translated.