in Learning

Open Source LMS – 10 Alternatives to Moodle

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.

  • http://www.heraghty.net Michael Heraghty

    Thanks for that list Barry. I’ve been looking for a list like this for a while. I’ve encountered a few of these packages before, but to be honest I’m still looking for the WordPress of the LMS world (I think there’s an opening there!).

    I really don’t understand why Moodle gets all the hype it does. On a usability scale, I would give it 2 out of 10.

    I guess there have been a lack of open source alternatives.

  • Richard MacLemale

    Moodle is a 2 out of 10 on the usability scale? Only if you don’t know what you’re doing and you’re not willing to put any time into it. Moodle gets the hype it does because it’s better than all 10 of the alternatives listed above. People should explore all avenues, I think. But Moodle is more popular than these others for a reason. Several reasons actually. Moodle is not perfect but we looked at several of the above alternatives and they basically sucked next to Moodle.

  • http://www.learningrocks.co.uk Dan R

    Michael, would you believe that I have used LMSs that are to Moodle on usability as Moodle is to WordPress?

    I used to think that Moodle was difficult to use, but I can see that it has inherited many of its more idiosyncratic features as a result of the developers taking as their inspiration a certain widely unloved commercial alternative.

    For my money, the adoption and continued integration of Ajax into Moodle will bring usability enhancements that are probably overdue, but where WordPress is really only about broadcasting content to a uniform audience, perhaps coping with a handful of authors, the multiple identities and permissions in an LMS are always going to present a greater challenge for admins to cope with, no matter how slick the interface.

  • Barry

    @ Michael Heraghty – My pleasure, I’m glad you found it useful. I think the inherent complexity of an LMS makes it challenging to keep the UI simple, but there’s definitely room for improving the user experience.

    @ Richard MacLemale – I think together, Michael and yourself make a good point – out of the box Moodle may not be the most intuitive system, but put in some effort and you’ll get the results (and I think the same can be said of most of the others too). I’m not sure I’d say that Moodle is simply better than any of the other options – it’s important to do what you did, and appraise a number of options to see which best suits your needs. Too many people head straight for Moodle without first assessing their needs.

    @ Dan R – Moodle’s interface continues to improve, but I think I’d differentiate between the user interface experience and the issues of poor workflow. There are only so many things you an fix with the liberal application of Ajax :)

  • Barry

    @ John McNamara – I couldn’t agree more on the features vs solution argument. It doesn’t matter how many features it has if you don’t need them (the same is true of commercial LMS solutions).

  • John McNamara

    There are so many good alternatives over Moodle right now that I am surprised on all the heap it still gets. Moodle is very rich feature-wise but when things come to offering solutions and not just features it is a mediocre solution. Espcially on the UI I would give it 0.5 on a 10 scale.

    I have played with most LMS’s the last few months and I would highly suggest to use either eFront (www.efrontlearning.net) or Dokeos (www.dokeos.com). Both are feature rich (by the way, I guess you missed most of eFront functionality on the small review which probably mean these guys did a good job on hiding complexity :)).

    Both eFront and Dokeos has more features than you probably need and helpful communities to build effective solutions.

    Again, don’t count features… compare solutions.

  • http://twitter.com/PabloMac Paul

    You can count & compare features and tools and gizmos and gadgets all you want, but a skilled course builder can make a cinder block deliver a better learning experience than a PhD who refuses to spend the time & energy learn the greatest CMS in the world (whether Moodle or anything else).

    That it was/is designed & developed by educators & a vast community of open-source developers to be learner-centric (as opposed to the tool-centric approach favored by many commercial products) gives Moodle a huge advantage.

    Other than that, it’s all in how you know & use a tool.

  • Stephan Rinke

    Hello there,

    I just want to add the factor that was one of the deciding ones for me: the moodle community. On moodle.org there is so much support being given quickly and competently (all for free as well!), the documentation on docs.moodle.org is clear and can be understood by a non-techie like me and the community decides on feature implementation of future moodle releases. You can also use twitter to connect with other moodlers and even there I had a minor problem fixed within minutes.

    The thing that I find very important is that the support is not only technical but also pedagogical. And if anyone has ever been to a moodlmoot (the name for a moodle user conference) they will have been amazed by the amount of quality sessions dedicated to sound teaching using cooperative principles.

    Best regards,

    Stephan

  • http://www.franprofits.com armel

    Hi there.

    Can’t just read and pass by, without thank u all for the clarity and help ur post and comments bring me in my choice.

    I was looking for an elearning system to sell a course in emarketing field. The problem with going through each system is so long and u can’t do it properly when u don’t really know the standarts of the field.

    By the way, just want to add that, usability is next to everything on the web and if a tool is weak here, there is a huge disavantage. I’ve developped ans sell online tools, so i know a little bit what it’s all about.

    And i think moodle just have the advantage of being the first popular solutoin out there.

    Thanks for each other input.

    Nice day to u’ll.

  • Tim Chambers

    Hi Barry,

    Some things you didn’t mention about some of these systems are important considerations for content providers. For example, openelms requires a Windows server and only works on IE. The .lrn system was built on the openacs architecture and while it is probably very robust, it pretty much requires a dedicated server and is thus an expensive solution for individual content providers. Most commercial hosting companies, running unix/linux servers with apache/mysql cannot offer openacs or .lrn hosting.

  • Barry

    @ Tim Chambers – Some great points there Tim, thanks.

  • http://www.olat.org Joël Fisler

    Why do you say that OLAT has quite steep server requirements? A comparison: The moodle documentation on the moodle website says that for 1GB RAM about 50 concurrent user sessions can be running. OLAT on the other hand can handle a 1000 concurrent users with 2GB RAM (thats the setup at the University of Zurich). Where did you get this impression from?

  • Barry

    Hi Joel, thanks for the correction. I’ve updated the post accordingly.

  • Mfawa Alfred

    i believe getting a good LMS system involves making some difficult choices.

  • Barry

    Hi Mwafa, you’re absolutely right, and that’s true whether you choose a commercial or open source solution.

  • http://www.heraghty.net Michael Heraghty

    To clear one thing up, I wasn’t knocking Moodle’s *usefulness* — I was complaining about it’s *usability*.

    @ Richard — Re. “Moodle is a 2 out of 10 on the usability scale? Only if you don’t know what you’re doing and you’re not willing to put any time into it.”

    No, I didn’t know what I was doing when I first encountered Moodle, and I was confused. I had to spend a lot of time reading before I could build a decent course. I now train teachers in how to use Moodle.

    Moodle, while highly useful, isn’t very usable. Usability is a measure of intuitiveness. When a system is usable, people who “don’t know what they are doing” (a.k.a. beginners) can figure it out quickly.

    If Moode was more usable, I wouldn’t have to put so much time into it, and teachers wouldn’t require training.

    I like Moodle, but I would love if it was more usable. Until then, it’s leaving the door wide open for a more usable competitor to steal it’s throne.

  • Barry

    @ Michael – I have to agree. Any app has a learning curve, but you are echoing a view that I’ve heard many times, that Moodle is particularly unintuitive. It would benefit from the kind of UIX development that Drupal is now investing in.

  • http://www.paulscott.za.net Paul

    You forgot Chisimba, which has more features than almost all of the above, plus is optimised for low bandwidth, which saves money and is easy to work with and translate to any language (default English though).

    It is in use across Africa and now in the US and Afghanistan amongst others and has a large and very active dev and user community

    http://avoir.uwc.ac.za is the place to download. GPL licensed

  • Yannick

    Hi Barry,

    Just a little correction about Dokeos (which I’m lead developer of). The conversion of Office document is to learning paths, not Flash.
    Apart from that, I couldn’t express enough the fact that it is a pretty dangerous and difficult task to describe LMSes so shortly :-)
    Interesting job! Way to go!

    Y.

  • Mark of ITPixels.com

    I want to launch my website as a free e-learning website to cater IT Courses. I’m trying to find the best e-learning platform to deploy my courses. I have tried moodle but it’s interface is not that easy to learn especially for new user, I have conducted some survey composed of 30 participants and ask them to try my demo Courses deployed on my test servers, with Moodle, eFront and OLAT platform installed on them. Before the test, Moodle is my first choice, but after the tests that I made things changed. I found out based on their feedbacks that eFront and OLAT is much easier to use, Moodle is a bit lousy when it comes to usability (sorry, i love Moodle, but it really needs improvements on that criteria). Now I want to know other people experiences in using eFront and OLAT especially on larger deployments.

  • pingus

    What would you recommend for a free or cheap lms to sell and distribute different content to different groups?

  • Barry

    @ Paul – Thanks for the heads up on Chisimba, I hadn’t heard of it before, but will be watching it’s development with interest.

    @ Yannick – Thanks for stopping by, I’ll correct that in the post. It is a big subject to have tried to cover in such a short post, but I do hope it has at least got people thinking beyond the obvious.

    @ Mark – Good luck with the project. It’s nice to see some usability testing going on. In Moodle’s defence, I think it can be made more usable, but you do need to put in some effort.

    @ pingus – The best recommendation I can make is that you identify exactly what your requirements are and then evaluate a range of solutions to find the most suitable.

  • Pingback: 10 Things to Consider Before Choosing an LMS | Dave Mozealous()

  • andrew

    hi every body
    thank you so much for this list
    i`m new in LMS Systems
    and i will to choose the best of them for start to change and use it
    i will to it has the best features and full of features,easy to use, easy to change
    if you can please help me and suggest me the best solution you think
    i cant read English very good
    and i`m sorry for writing English in bad style

    • Barry

      @ Andrew – Thanks for stopping by. The first step would be for you to list all of the requirements that you have for an LMS, and then compare that to the systems available. Good luck.

  • shiv

    Hi

    We at our organisation run a Phd Course in ecology affiliated to a university. So I want to know which of the above opensource solutions work the best.

  • http://www.bluecrystalwebdesign.com Joe

    Thanks for doing this post Barry. We are currently evaluating Moodle and it’s uses for our upcoming e-learning implementation. As you stated, one must look at what the requirements are before choosing a solution. The approach I have suggested with our implementation is to develop the course logically, and then let us think about how to implement that course online. I think too many organizations try to develop around a solution rather than choosing one that fits what they are trying to accomplish. This approach has us looking at maybe something like Adobe connect for synchronous learning and possibly using Moodle for asynchronous learning only.

  • http://www.learnpact.com Opensource Software learning Training Institute in Chennai, India

    I never knew that alternatives are there to Moodle also!

  • http://idoinfotech.com Gary

    Being new to LMS solutions and being an avid WordPress user I’m also seeking the ‘WordPress of the LMS world’ per the comment by ‘Michael Heraghty’.
    I’ve just started to ‘play’ with Moodle and have found it very simple to install. Over the next few weeks I’ll be installing a few of the other solutions mentioned in this article and having a play with them. Hopefully that will me decide on which solution to move forward.
    B.T.W. Thanks for the excellent article Barry.

  • http://www.bespokelearningtools.com/ Hugh Abbott

    Barry – great summary of the LMS market place.
    And very useful input from all contributors.

    If I can summarise:
    Moodle is untidy … if the Moodle developers started again, they would probably program it very differently. But Moodle certainly has a ‘head of steam’ behind it. Lots of people use it and that is probably the thing that marks it out above the rest.

    For my money, I think I’ll struggle on with the untidy beast!

    Hugh

  • Barry

    @ Hugh – It will be interesting to see how different Moodle 2.0 is.

    I’m a big fan of Drupal, the open source content management system, and one of the reasons that it has developed so well is the willingness of the developers to add features at the expense of compatibility with previous versions. Instead, they’ve focussed on always providing a path to upgrade your content to the latest version.

    I understand that Moodle 2.0 will be incompatible with a lot of current plug ins etc. It will be interesting to see if the flip side is a less untidy platform.

  • emily

    Great composition.Thanks for the list. Did any one managed to try Docebo. I was trying to set it up but at many places it is breaking. If any one using Docebo with out any prolem. Please let me know which version you guys picked.
    Thanks
    Emily

  • http://hrdiary.com/ Fawaz

    Well this is a very interesting topic here! Thank you Barry for putting all this together.

    I have been involved in managing commercial LMS such as Oracle. In fact I haven’t thought before in open source LMS, but since I am thinking of opening a new website that offers online-courses. I wanted to check two important things:

    Can I plug and play courseware packages that are interactive and contains narration, of course SCORM compatible directly using the Open Source LMS?
    Is it possible to produce reports, like who finished the course, who passed or failed?
    I’ve used Moodle as a student of an open university before and I have found out that it is just a tracking tool. I could not play courses or any kind of interactive sessions. I’m not sure is it becoause the university setup or it is just this is how the Moodle works!

  • Barry

    Hi Fawaz,

    In answer to your questions:

    Most open source LMS solutions offer SCORM support, although you would need to check each project to see how complete their implementation is.
    Reporting capabilities varies between each LMS, but then I think the same is true of commercial LMS solutions. I’ve worked on many LMS projects and this is probably the weakest area in every LMS I’ve seen.

  • http://hrdiary.com/ Fawaz

    Hello Barry,

    Thank you for coming back to me. I think this topic is widely discussed.

    I’ve found the same here http://www.linkedin.com/e/ava/19980588/138953/EML_anet_qa_ttle-0Ot79xs2R

    Thanks…

  • http://www.latitudelearning.com/ Jeff Walter

    Barry,

    I invite you to check out http://www.LatitudeLearning.com, our open-source LMS. Our open-source LMS is also available on a software-as-a-service at http://www.LatitudeLearning.com.

    We’ve extended the open-source philosophy to the SaaS LMS by giving clients their own custom web pages, web parts, and stylesheets.

    Carpe Diem,
    Jeff Walter
    President
    LatitudeLearning.com
    jeff.walter@latitudecg.com

  • Barry

    Hi Jeff,

    Thanks for the suggestion. I’d be interested to know more about what licence it’s released under, and where I can download it. I did have a look at your website, but a quick scan didn’t answer either question.

    Barry

  • http://www.latitudelearning.com Jeff Walter

    Barry,

    The LMS source code is available through a custom license. There is no licensing fee, however, we do require those using the LMS in production to support the reintegration efforts through donating hours of effort or funding.

    The LMS is also available on a software-as-a-service basis at http://www.latitudelearning.com. You want to review the LMS’s functionlaity by signing up for a free 45 day trial. You’ll get your own LMS to play with.

    Lastly, through our Free LMS for Charity program we give charitable organizations free access to their own latitudelearning.com LMS.

  • Barry

    Jeff,

    Thanks for the additional comment.

    As you don’t publish your licence, it’s hard to say 100%, but it certainly doesn’t seem to be a ‘free and open source’ licence in the normally accepted way. It seems that you have a ‘free as in beer’ option, but it isn’t ‘free as in speech’ in that you are setting conditions regarding the contribution you expect people to make.

    If your LMS was truly open source, and I could download it and distribute it freely, then I would review it. As it stands, it doesn’t fit with the other systems mentioned in the this blog.

  • http://www.latitudelearning.com Jeff Walter

    Barry,

    Thanks for your follow up. We started describing our LMS as open source a number of years ago since we don’t charge a license fee and give users access to the soruce code.

    The term “Community Source” seems to be evolving to reflect the licensing arrangement for our LMS. However, we find few people are familiar with the term or its meaning. Regardless, I will make sure we qualify our definition of Open Source on our website to reflect the community nature of our licensing arrangement.

    Again, thank you for your feedback.

    Carpe Diem,
    Jeff Walter
    President
    LatitudeLearning.com

  • Barry

    Thanks for the update Jeff. I like the term community source.

    It’s my own view that there is room for many different licencing models, as long as people know what they’re signing up to from the start.

  • http://clintonhodgkins.wordpress.com Clinton Hodgkins

    Hi Barry,

    Thanks for a fantastic post.

    Currently I’m looking for a solution to deliver online training. Resources and courses to our clients. The problem I face is we currently run many platforms including WordPress, Dynamics CRM, Quickbooks, SharePoint and Mailchimp we have just investigated a system which we are going to implement to integrate everyting to work as a whole to provide users with a seemless experience. We need an LMS which we plugin or which has flexibility and support enabling this.

    Could you provide me with your thoughts on a system which is most suitable?

    • Barry

      Hi Clinton,

      I guess if you’re already implementing a system that is going to integrate everything else, you’re faced with two choices. Either pick an LMS that you know will work with whatever it is you’re using to integrate the other platforms, or (my preferred option) choose an LMS based on a proper functional spec and then invest in integrating it with the other tools you use.

      Experience shows that you can usually integrate any system with any other – with the big caveat that you could spend a lot of time and money doing so! Have you asked your users what a ‘seemless experience’ actually means to them? It may be that the level of integration required is quite simple.

      Barry

  • http://www.jonathonbyrd.com Jonathon Byrd

    I’m looking to build a wp lms plugin, but first I’m defining exactly what is needed and wanted. See if you have any information you can contribute.

    http://wordpress.org/support/topic/420863?replies=0#post-1588265

    • Barry

      @ Jonathan – Would be pleased to add some comments, but that link goes nowhere.

  • Dr. Guilford H. Bartlett

    Barry, thanks for your information on Moodle alternatives. I am working with a group of academics who are all mostly new to online learning, and very much interested in its potential for making professional training available to underserved populations. The challenges are great, and we have to start somewhere. Your site is a great help in our search.

    • Barry

      Thanks for the kind comments. Good luck with your project.

  • Christopher Pappas

    Hi Barry,

    Thank you for your post. I was for 3 years a Moodler and 7 months ago I became an eFronter. Your blog post has a lot of information and help me to choose the right open source lms based on my organization’s needs. I will encourage people that are interested in eFront to visit the http://efronters.blogspot.com There are a lot of information concerning e-learning, instructional design, free e-Learning books and of course eFront.

    Have a wonderful day and keep the good work.

    Christopher Pappas
    @cpappas

  • abc

    I would like to know that..
    1.Creating course.
    2.Enrolling students into course.
    3.Taking exams.
    4.Assessing question paper

    can it be done by any one of above by the use of API or WebService
    and one more thing i need to call the Service from java.

    • Barry

      @abc Some of the LMSs in this list offer a web services API, although the functionality offered varies considerably. The best thing is to have a look at the supporting documents for each one and see what suits your needs.

  • Dave Bruns

    Barry,

    I’m a big fan of Drupal as well, and noticed you mentioned it more than once, so thought I would ask a question that’s been in the back of my mind for a while now – do you think it’s likely that Drupal will one day get module(s) that would allow it to function as a credible LMS?

    I have a need now to explore open source LMS solutions, but I would sure rather deepen my skills and understanding of Drupal, instead of learning yet another complex application.

    Thanks for a nice list of candidates all the same.

    Dave

  • Barry

    Hi Dave,

    You’ve spotted that I’m a Drupal fan then :)

    I’d be very surprised if one day we didn’t see a fully fledged LMS solution built on top of Drupal. There are various projects already in progress that each address specific elements of learning management, but to be successful I think there needs to be one central project – something that will be to LMS what Ubercart is to ecommerce.

  • David Glow

    Funny that “The wordpress of LMSs” is a criteria- I think it describes the issue well. And, it may be the SCORM Cloud may have an option here.

    @Johnathan- I would be very interested in learning more.

    Barry- to your point of an LMS being built on Drupal, another CMS, DotNukeNet had an LMS built on it by Interzoic (not open source).

    I think this type of development- selecting the best web platforms in use and finding how to get the learning content usable with core LMS features will be the opportunity space in the coming years.

    • Craig

      Like many others here I couldn’t pass by without saying thank you for this post, i’m starting off on a venture of using a LMS (that’s a new acronym for me!). This post and the accompanying comments have helped greatly, thanks everyone!

  • Barry

    Good luck with your new project Craig.

  • http://www.bitlinetemplates.com Opencart

    Do you know if any of these LMS systems would allow time tracking of students? if they have to accomplish a certain amount of hours learning… what is the best option?
    thanks

    • Barry

      The CPD Report Module for Moodle or the Moomis module may do what you want. It might be worth checking if similar modules exist for other open source lms options.

  • Samer

    Hi Barry …
    Are there any Open Source LMS made on DotNet ??

    • Barry

      Hi Samer,

      When I was initially doing the research I didn’t find a .NET based open source LMS solution. There was some discussions about creating one based on dotnetnuke and it may be worth making an enquiry in the forums there.

      I’ve seen a couple of dotnetnuke based ms offers, but it’s unclear to me whether they are being offered under open source or commercial licensing.

  • http://businesscriticallearning.com David Glow

    Interzoic offers an Accord LMS product built with DNN. It is not open source, but in my opinion, very cheap (certainly comparable to what you’d get from something like a Moodle Partner). And, I suspect you are investigating this because you know the open footprint of DNN the modules available at Snowcovered, and what that could mean for building an integrated experience that would work well for your business.

    • Barry

      Thanks for that information David. Although it’s not open source, it may be a good option for anyone looking for a .net based solution.

      • http://beeznest.wordpress.com/author/ywarnier Yannick Warnier

        Maybe a little mention about Chamilo (a recent fork of D0keos which has been evolving quite faster than its direct parent) would be welcome :-)
        You can quick-try it at campus.chamilo.org

        • Barry

          Hi Yannick,

          I’d not heard of Chamilo before, so thanks for bringing it to people’s attention. What would you say are the key differences between Chamilo and Dokeos?

  • http://beeznest.wordpress.com/author/ywarnier Yannick Warnier

    Hi Barry,

    For one part, the history is clear: most of those who developed or contributed to D0keos moved to Chamilo in early 2010 (the info can be found on the Chamilo website).

    For the second part, it is a bit early to say, but D0keos has had no new release (nor anything new) since September 2009 and has just delayed its widely announced 2.0 release of more than 3 months with no clear explanation. On the other side Chamilo has had improvement and new features released a few times this year, like management of attendances, course programs, a full-blown integrated social network (allowing for corporate/institutional “control” over the network), documents search, a switch to pure internationalization (both in terms of alphabets and timezones) and a great set of performance improvements. This is just the first few bricks Chamilo needs to start building a more engaging teaching and learning experience, and following the plans, there should be an image editor in the next version, as well as a fully rewritten more flexible 2.0 version (first directed to the academic sector).

    It’s all a matter of how well the two will show improvements and market adoption in the next few months.
    The big idea behind Chamilo is to get rid of a strict dependence on only one company, and make it possible for several companies to contribute at an equivalent level in the development of the software, without holding a blocking trademark for the sane development of a real open source community around it (which was a problem before).

  • Barry

    Thanks Yannick. It certainly sounds like Chamilo is a project worth watching. I look forward to seeing how it develops.

  • prabhat somani

    sakai i found is the best lms as well as social net

  • Elena

    I just took part in Brandon Hall Research webinar “Selecting a Learning Management System”. The webinar was focused on choosing LMS for corporate training. They mentioned 7 open sporce solutions worth of attention: eFront, joule (Moodle based), docebo, JoomlaLMS, openelms, dokeos, totaralms.

    Let me add to your list:
    totaralma (http://www.totaralms.com/) – coming in Jan 2011, new solution
    JoomlaLMS (http://www.joomlalms.com/) – launched in 2006

    • Barry

      Hi Elena,

      Thanks for those additions. I think it may be time for a new list!

      The reason that I hadn’t included the JoomlaLMS (and wouldn’t in any future list) is that it isn’t open source. Despite being based on the open source Joomla CMS the plug in is commercially licensed and uses a typical pay per seat model.

      I’ve spoken with the folk at Kineo, and the TotaraLMS will be a completely open source solution. They’ve promised me a preview as soon as it’s available, and I’m looking forward to being able to provide a review.

      Barry

  • De.create

    hi..guys
    im a new bie about this.
    but, is there any application to build own web based LMS, so it can customed by what we need.
    thanks before.

    • Barry

      Any of the systems listed in the original blog post, and many of those mentioned in the comments, can be customised to meet your specific needs.

  • Elena

    Barry,

    I checked… You are right about JoomlaLMS. It is proprietary. Never the less PRO version has open source code and only some files with license code information are encoded.So, as far as I understood you are free to customize the LMS on your own, no problems. Yet you have to pay license once a year… It’s a pitty really… Any way JoomlaLMS is all in one SCORM solution , no wonder that they don’t feel like opening ALL files.

    • Barry

      The problem is one of semantics. The source code may be open, in as much as it’s not encrypted, but the same can be said of most commercial LMS solutions.

      The LMS’s I wanted to list are those that are free and open source in terms of licensing, i.e. free as in speech, not as in beer.

  • http://blog.eutech-ssii.com JB Boisseau

    Hi Barry,

    Many thanks for this list ! Is still Moodle the default choice for you ?

    Best wishes,

    JB

    • Barry

      I don’t really have a default choice myself, but I think it’s fair to say that when people consider open source LMS, Moodle is probably the first thing they think of. Other options tend to get benchmarked against it.

  • NVA

    Hi –

    I am looking at a Open source LMS/LCMS focussed on academic front to conduct online classroom for my distant students in a syncronous way. Also audio/video features if possible while teaching the students. I visited the following websites Docebo, OLAT and Claroline to get a feel of it.

    I saw few which are licensed or comes with a subscription charges.. At this moment i am not looking to go with a priced Product. The closest which my requirement fits is wiziq.com. wiziq is not an opensource product.

    Appreciate if any experts can narrow my searches.

    Thx in advance
    NVA

  • http://www.taliconline.co.in Harikrishnan VH

    Efront is the best among the mentioned ones. It is really comprehensive and installtion friendly.

  • Bibin

    Hi Barry….

    Is there any plug in for LMSs (which u’ve listed) for providing discounts for the courses we offer??….

    Thanks….

  • Bibin

    Hi Barry….

    Is there any plug in for LMSs (which u’ve listed) for providing discounts for the courses we offer??….

    Thanks….

  • Elena

    JoomlaLMS one more time…
    You can view and manage available discounts and discount coupons. LMS reports statistics of discount coupons usage. See here: http://www.joomlalms.com/lms-help/administrator-documentation/subscriptions.html

  • Aslam

    Hi Barry,

    I have learnt alot from this post and comments from others. I have joomla website and looking to integrate it with LMS. could you please tell me which LMS will be best for me.
    We are Financial Training company and want to prsesnt our video tutorials online with payment gateway.

    kindly please suggest me LMS and initially we need it for 500 users.
    i will wait for your reply.

    regards,
    Aslam

  • Roger Herrick

    Hi Barry,

    I am looking for an open source LMS that can handle AICC,. this would be for Computer Based Training delivery only. I want to be able offer a course list (CBTs), charge students for courses (paypal or other means), and track testing and quizz scores. Which solution do you think would be the best fit?

    Regards Roger

    • Barry

      I’m always wary of saying any particular solution is right for an organisation without knowing more about it, but as a starting point I’d suggest looking at Moodle and the Improved Payment Module.

  • Elena

    Roger, why did you choose AICC?

  • Roger Herrick

    Elena,

    Some of the development tools that I work with will only interface with an LMS using AICC. Such as the older version of Viewletbuilder from Qarbon that I currently have.

  • http://beeznest.wordpress.com/author/ywarnier Yannick Warnier

    Hi Roger,

    I haven’t verified that for a long time now, but I’m pretty sure the previous implementation of AICC in Chamilo 1.8.7.1 still works well. You could combine that with the use of the Drupal’s Ubercart module [1] and the Chamilo module for Drupal.
    I’m not really convinced by the idea of putting a payment system directly into an LMS (the payment process and marketing pages are better located on a marketing-ready infrastructure like Drupal).

    [1] http://drupal.org/project/ubercart
    [2] http://drupal.org/project/chamilo

    PS: Let me know if you need professional help to get that up quickly

    • MIke

      Aslan, having read about your question i would suggest to use JoomlaLMS as it’s has strong ecommerce module + based on Joomla CMS, which means compatibility, integrity to your website based on Joomla.

  • Paul W.

    I have a very small for profit school 8-10 students a month. I was using Blackboard CourseSites to deliver the course. I do not charge much for the course. CourseSites Terms of Usage has changed and I will not be able to use them after June 30 2011. I really like the calender/time based scheduling CourseSites allows and the folder hierarchy also, this allows me to open just one weeks of material at a time and to seperate the text documents from the videos. Is there a solution that would allow me to keep my school open.

    • http://beeznest.wordpress.com/author/ywarnier Yannick Warnier

      Hi Paul,

      Only talking about what I know best… Chamilo has a combination of features (course progress and time-based availability of learning paths) that would allow you to get up to speed quickly. There’s not so much content as to require automated migration, is there? (that is generally time-costly and is only useful if you have tons of contents and it would take more time to migrate them by hand than to do the analysis and development of a migration script). This is one possibility for you. I gather other solutions have a way to do that as well.

  • Eric

    Thank you for useful post Barry!
    Aslam, 100% Joomla native LMS has already been mentioned here – Joomla LMS.
    Joomlearn is also worth of attention, but take into attention that it is not LMS, it’s a good test manager. There’s no way of controlling the course pace or quantum advances, no SCORM compliance.
    It depends on your requirements. Any way Joomla LMS offers more than plenty features and it is SCORM compliant.

    • Nektarios

      For those in a need for an easy way to collect money from your courses or offer discount coupon or generic discount periods I would suggest to take a look on eFront payment integration.
      http://docs.efrontlearning.net/Payments

      We use it extensively in our site – you can even get recurring payments.
      The only problem we have found is that is can be used only against paypal.

  • Tech e Tips

    very very helpful information . thanks a lot .

  • Eric

    Nektarios, PayPal payments only in eFront? It’s owful. I use Joomla LMS. Courses can be purchased with either PayPal or credit card.
    You can find details here http://www.joomlalms.com/joomlalms_tutorials/fe_payment_methods.html

    • Benny Powers

      Hey, thanks for the great article, I’m very grateful. We’re opening up a small online school with 8-10 courses. We’d like them to run asynchronously, though, so that students can start the courses whenever they like and follow through at their own pace. Can we do that with efront?

      • Barry

        That sounds like something you could do with efront. Good luck with the project.

  • Rebecca

    Hi Barry:

    Really great article! But, given that it was published almost 2 years ago, are there any other open source LMS’ that you would now add to it? For example, Drupal, etc.? Always looking for more/new info. in this arena.

    Thanks so much!

  • Annette

    Our organization is looking into purchasing open source product Onlinemanager/Formapro. Does anyone have good or bad experiences to share on using this product?

  • Elena

    Annette,

    I don’t have experience with Onlinemanager/Formapro. Try to ask Sebastien from http://www.lms-selection.com/ He is from France and he exactly doesn’t promote any vendor. He has interview with Formapro. Ask him. Who knows.

  • http://www.kalpeshrakholiya.blogspot.com Prof. kalpesh rakholiya

    hey guys just tell me which is the best LMS for college who is having post greduation courses
    i am choosing moodle, but looking for better then this, if any open source LMS is more good
    then MOODLE then tell me.

    i wish to impliment it in my college, for the student and staff assessment.

  • celebrate

    Hi Barry et al,

    This is great discussion, LMS is new to me. We are starting an online academy with both live and recorded lessons. I know there are many details, but what are the options available for this? It looked to me like most LMS only manage the courses/students etc, but dont do much with integrated video, or there are many video providers, but dont really handle the LMS side well.

    Are there any options you can suggest which is a strong LMS that allows for integrated video classes which may include 1 student of 10 distributed across the globe? I am open to a subscription/hosted solution as well.

    Take care,
    Celebrate

  • celebrate

    sorry one other question. I have looked but didnt seem to see any real mature solutions that are wordpress plugins, Scholar Press seems to have some promise, but not ready for prime time yet.

    So any wordpress options?

    • http://beeznest.wordpress.com/author/ywarnier Yannick Warnier

      Hi Kalpesh,

      For colleges, you definitely want to have a look at Chamilo: http://campus.chamilo.org (or http://chamilodev.beeznest.com if you want to try the latest stuff – to be stabilized by the end of the month). The major distinction with Moodle is that it is much easier to use for teachers and students (I’ve been reported a factor 5 difference in training time to get teachers able to produce content on their own).

      Celebrate,

      Chamilo 1.8.8 (to be out this month) will include a plugin with BigBlueButton. Although we do not include the videoconferencing software as is (because it is a whole different software architecture), you can host your videoconference server with 207me.com (write an e-mail to Stephen Dame at “sdame at 207me dot com”) for a pretty reasonnable price, then connect it very easily to Chamilo. This is for live videoconferencing. If you want to replay pre-recorded videos, then you can just use Chamilo and upload your videos from YouTube, Vimeo or whatever you want, it’s built in.

      Of course, I might not be considered neutral here as I am a developer for Chamilo, but considering most of our users are very happy to use it or to have moved from Moodle, I’m pretty sure that I’m not telling tales here, and that you’ll like it (most of the time people choose Moodle as the first, not the best, option).

    • Mayur Shethe

      try this wordpress plugin  
      http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/hexam/

      • Chadley

        Hi everybody,
        Isnt it just so sad that none of these systems, or any of the other systems cater for K-12 properly. You see Primary school Grade 00 to 7 are still based on a assement criteria. Where we to an assement area with the kids, then we asses them to confirm they have learnt the concept. All the LMS systems require that school employ graphic designers and good one at that to create the look and feel of these systems. We recently looked at chamilo, and you have to build the entire inteface. I have 15 years in the IT business and I spent days playing with it. When I finally gotit working there are no template and no clear way to build an assesment criteria (course) that follows a learning path properly. So what I mean is that you can jump around the course parts in any order you like. Kids of the age 5 to 14 need to be guided by a very clear structure, which oddly enough Dokeos offers all that, but it is full of bugs, and the documentation jumps from area to are leaving the reader completly lost.

        All of the LMS systems open source have actually failed. Dokeos is your best bet if you can speak french, which luckiliy my wife can. So we have used it in our school, but there are some serious down falls. it is completly modular, which is supposed to be a benifit to reusing course content. But this doesnt actually work as I discovered when I created a copy of one course and later discovered that the changes I made to the copy had effected the original course as well. I have to recreate both courses and the quizzes. Modular no none of them are. Get worse –  When you export the results of quizz. It creates one big list of everyone who wrote the quizz, it doesn’t filter the results by class, so what is the point of having class lists. The work with the results you need to seprate and organize in to classes and grades using excel. A massive time consuming task. 
        Modular? really? I have had to make do with Dokeos it has templates and we have figured a way to make it work for us. if we had a wish list it would be to have the classes report by classes and the social networking needs a facebook like wall. becuase it creates interest and excitement.

        Seriously when is someone going to create a decent template driven LMS for Primary schools?
         

  • http://georgedonnelly.com George Donnelly

    I need something primarily for keeping in touch with individual students while class is not in session. It would be nice if it could also manage courses, but primarily I need it for keeping student records in a permanent place where they can always find it and liaising with individual students.

    Is there anything for that?

    • Barry

      Hi George. Most of the options listed in the original post and comments, as well as Moodle, would let you do this. If you don’t need the LMS specific features, you could consider a more mainstream CMS such as Drupal or Joomla, or perhaps WordPress with the BuddyPress plugin.

  • Elena

    George,

    Besides Drupal and Joomla are WordPress compliant both. You can also use Droomla – new integration of Drupal and Joomla. Some details about Joomla: you can use Joomla with Joomla LMS or Joomlearn and add the JomSocial (social networking tool – http://www.jomsocial.com/). Joomla LMS is integrated with JomSocial and it is possible to view LMS related information in a user profile.

    • Steve

      Great article, much appreciated Barry.

      I am looking for a way to create an online community to support existing students who learn on site or online in different cities.

      At this point I need the community element more than the LMS course ware, is this something Moodle can do? I have just begun the discovery processes, so much to learn! I’m thinking the grouping function might be part of the answer, and the way the courses are categorised.

      At the core, I’d like to students who have taken class 1 to be able to chat, collaborate and get together virtually with other class 1 attendees, no matter where they attended class, or how.
      The same with class 2, 3, 4, 5.

      Should class 1 be able to meet class 2 or 3 attendees? I don’t even know, probably. Thanks for the feedback.

      • Barry

        Hi Steve,

        You could use Moodle to build a community site (moodle.org is such site) but my own view is that it isn’t the best tool for the job.

        I would consider using WordPress + BuddyPress (and maybe ScholarPress later when you need the courseware element?) or Open Scholar which is built on Drupal.

  • http://beeznest.wordpress.com/author/ywarnier Yannick Warnier

    Hi George,

    Out of the box, you can install Chamilo 1.8.8 from http://chamilo.googlecode.com/files/chamilo-1.8.8.zip, follow the installation guide from http://chamilodev.beeznest.com/documentation/installation_guide.html and you’ll not only get a messaging tool between students that recognize each other as “friends”, and the capability (through a few options) to get these messages to trigger e-mails and let them form groups, but also the possibility to later start using a fully fledged (and easy to use) e-learning system… It all depends on your needs, but I doubt you’ll find anything easier or more adapted to your needs 😉

  • Sarit

    To Yannick Warnier ,

    Is there a way to have English documentation available since there is a French version on the Chamilo documentation site?

    Chamilo is very to use and jump into but documentation in English would help make this LMS a much better learning experience for both the student and teacher user.

    Thank you in advance.

    • Brian

      Q. Referencing these OS LMS recommendations … I’m particularly interested in OLAT and .LRN – these seem to be the most robust from reliable sources. My client specified “Must have the ability to generate course completion certificates.” Suggestions? Experiences? Your comments are welcome and appreciated, thank you.

  • http://www.olat.com Christian

    Hi Brian,

    In OLAT you do not have the possibility to generate certificates yet. For our clients we suggest to open a course element “contact form” called “Request for certificate”. You define the rules on this course element that it will open if users finished the test successfully. So you can print a nice certificate and send it by mail. Another option is to use SCORM and to integrate the print of an certificate in SCORM (used by other clients of us). Also we can develop this nice feature for you 😉

    Regards
    Christian

    New OLAT is out now with ePortfolio included: olat.org

    • http://beeznest.wordpress.com/author/ywarnier Yannick Warnier

      You can generate certificates automatically from an HTML-based template, based on score of specific course elements (exams, learning paths, forum contributions, assignments, external evaluations, surveys) inside Chamilo 1.8.8.2 (you can try it using http://chamilodev.beeznest.com test platform by creating a teacher account and a course, then going to the “evaluations” tool inside your course and following the instructions). That is if you’re open to something else than OLAT and .LRN at all…

      This being said, it doesn’t include (just yet) barcode generation.

      The method described by Christian is alright in most cases and can pretty much be implemented in any LMS easily (thanks to SCORM).

      Cheers,
      Yannick

  • Oladipo

    Hi Yannick

    The chamilo demo looks pretty good, however I am not sure what it is I am doing wrong, I have been trying to install the application on a website but have been unsuccessful so far. Do you have any pointers as to what could be the cause of this? The website is running on a linux platform with cpanel.

    Thanks
    Dipo.

  • http://about.me/thelle Thelle Kristensen

    Thanks a lot Barry!

    You can find, edit and express your opinion about open source alternatives to moodle here:

    http://alternativeto.net/software/moodle/?license=opensource

    AlternativeTo.net is based on users recommendations to give you the best overview of alternative software and is free to edit by anyone!

  • George Kelvin

    Moodle is although a stable system with plenty of user group. Its quite complicated to work on. I feel Dokeos is quite good on simplicity sake. Its a bit buggy but a cool one.

  • http://beeznest.wordpress.com/author/ywarnier Yannick Warnier

    Dipo: You should try version 1.8.8.4 of Chamilo that we’re releasing next week, it comes with a series of little fixes that might fix your issue.

    Also, you might want to check (although in Spanish) an article I wrote a long time ago about installing Dokeos on CPanel. As Chamilo comes from the same root as Dokeos, it’s still valid for both (although we already stabilized and simplified a series of things since we left it behind).
    http://beeznest.wordpress.com/2009/11/03/instalar-dokeos-en-un-hosting-con-cpanel/

    You should be able to work it out with translate.google.com. From what I can remember, most problems come from not selecting the single database mode or not leaving the other db-related fields (other than “main database”) empty.

    • http://www.geniekids.com Ratnesh

      I am looking for a LMS that allows me to do the following. Have tried moodle but found it restrictive (unless i knew programing whihc i don’t). Can you suggest which LMS will work for our req. WE WANT:

      Step by step flow of learning tasks - Student cannot go to (or even see) task 2 without first finishing task 1.
      Every task - the student gets some inputs (text / video / audio / weblink etc) and has to submit some response (open ended).
      Student can go back and see her previous submissions (though can’t change them)
      student can see submissions made by others (in the past or even in future) when they attempted that task (and is able to comment on their submissions)
      Similarly other students  and faculty can comment on each submission from the student.
      During each task - the student can separately make her personal notes (private)
      During each task - student can ask question(s) to the faculty  - which the faculty responds to later. Student receives a notice when faculty’s responds.
      Student is also able to see what questions others have asked and what were responses of faculty / others.
      Even after finishing the whole module - student can see the whole whole lesson including own submissions & other student’s submission and faculty and everybody’s comments
      
  • abhijeet

    Hi barry
    I want to start online classroom using live video conferencing for the students of rural and semi-urban part of india.
    Which of these open source software will be best suited for my needs.

    • Wayne

      Barry

      Are any of the open source LMS’s easily configurable to start on online classroom or does the nature of open source systems necessitate personnel with good IT background? I’m looking for something open source but easily configurable that supports video presentations, slideshows and course management.

  • http://www.visualoutcomes.com.au Larissa

    Hi,
    I need to create training portal for several universities. We teach students how to use practice management software in teaching clinic. I’ve used Moodle for first university, but there are few problems, one – it is bit slow, second – how can I separate different universities groups – I’d like to monitor users and have separate reports on different university progress. May be someone can advise how to overcome this problem or what application to use?

    • Barry

      Moodle doesn’t have any out of the box support for groups, nor very good reporting (mind you, that’s not uncommon in many LMSs, open source or commercial). You might want to have a look at the Moomis plugin which adds these and other features.

  • Nikolaos Melaxronitis

    You might want to check efront (www.efrontlearning.net) that has a very good reporting tool included on the main package and comes free of charge. I think that the Commercial editions include a report generator as well.

  • Nikolaos Melaxronitis

    … eFront also support branches that act as logical entities. You can add each university as one branch and create reports as being isolated.

  • http://beeznest.wordpress.com/author/ywarnier Yannick Warnier

    It depends on how you want to group users exactly and what report you want, but you might want to have a try at Chamilo too. It allows you to:
    – create sessions (a specific notion that groups students to take a group of courses during a limited timeframe, and enables the “coach” of that session to have precise reports of only those students in all these courses)
    – group students by “classes”, which lets you subscribe/unsubsribe them to sessions or individual courses

    There are many reporting panels and an easy way to develop new reports with some basic PHP development skills from a special feature called the dashboard.

    It has an adaptative tests feature which includes the possibility to mark an area on an image (like a radiography) and ask the student to mark the same area, and calculates the results based on the percentage of coverage. This is similar to what was available in D0keos medical. We find it particularly useful in the health area where the human training requirements are slightly more… vital, so to speak.

    But as I mentioned before, the biggest differentiation with others is that it’s easier to use from both the teacher and the learner’s point of view.

    You can try it on http://chamilodev.beeznest.com (it’s a test platform, you can login as admin / admin and do whatever you want, with respect) and you can download the (still raw) manual in English here: http://support.chamilo.org/attachments/1782/Chamilo_Admin-guide-1.27-6_reviewed.pdf (the manual explains about sessions in one of the last chapters and it is also available in French and Spanish if that suits you better).

  • http://beeznest.wordpress.com/author/ywarnier Yannick Warnier

    Ratnesh, it seems to me that most LMS will do what you want with just a little configuration.

    • Eelco

      Despite being familiar with most of the programs in the list above, I usualy swear by a wordpress/buddypress install. That takes care of any content delivery and group-building aspects of the learning environment. The only problem is that there is no apparant way to save test results. As a workaround I use the mquiz plugin and link a keyword that’s given upon succesful completion. This keyword is then used as the password for the next assignment and/or noted on a PDF-worksheet.

      Perhaps this isn’t the most sophisticated way to go about it, but it’s quick, easy and get’s the job done.

    • Mayur Shethe

      try this wordpress plugin  
      http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/hexam/

  • Elena

    Larissa, I use JoomlaLMS and group users to interact with LMS independently. In group they have their own courses that other users can’t view, their own teachers and CEOs etc. You just go to back-end create a group, create restricted category to collect all the courses you would like to be available for this group only and assign this restricted category to the group. Then you should assign teachers and CEOs to the group. Teacher and CEO are default roles. More roles can be used within a group. You can customize default roles too. For example I have Pro version and I set role permission for a teacher to work with certain groups only.

    And about reporting. Reports are available right from your dashboard. You can choose a group to get separate reports. You will get access report on number of visits to every course by students and courses completion report for every course and every student. Student grade report is also available to track a student progress in all his courses. It is not a group report, just a person related. The reports are reportable to CSV or EXL. Have a look – http://www.joomlalms.com/lms-help/teacher-documentation/reports.html

    It is all about default options. Besides Pro version is delivered with PHP open code, so it can be customized by yourself or you can hire native developers.

  • Maria

    Hi, abhijeet ,

    you may have a look at BigBlueButton for video conferencing .

    http://bigbluebutton.org/overview

  • Dee

    Open source LMS is a new frontier for me. I am working with a business that would like to setup a formal training program for one software program of many. I would like to suggest an open-source LMS, because it seems to meet their needs of low-cost, easily maintained (post setup) and user-friendly. They would like to be able to load tutorials (presentations), do assessments, track and report trainees. I’ve never used Moodle or Sakai, only read what was offered via their respective sites. For example, I see that assignments is an option to complete an assignment and upload it, versus signing-in, do/view a tutorial and then executing a quiz (assessment). Am I understanding the process correctly? Is the way these systems work or are they customizable? Feedback is greatly appreciated.

    • Barry

      What you want to do is pretty standard fare for any LMS including Moodle, Sakai or most of the other systems listed in the post and comments.

  • http://Dillonthompson.com Kate

    We need an LMS that is good at publishing quizzes and tallying and reporting answers. Any recommendations?

  • jeiem

    Is there LMS that based on .NET? and it’s OpenSource?.

    • Rachel

      Thank you for all this wonderful information! Very helpful. I am a education consultant looking to help school districts in California find low-cost, easy to manage LMS systems to replace the for profit ones they are currently using. In some districts, they are interested in introducing new programs to students (and teachers) who have never previously been exposed to online learning. One compliant that I have heard from teachers is that Moodle is a bit confusing and daunting to someone new to LMS. Is there a particular system that you recommend that is less “scary” for those teachers and administrators just now coming into the light of online learning? Thank you.

      • Barry

        Hi Rachel,

        I can understand why some people might find Moodle difficult to learn at first; I was the same. However, if you’re new to LMS I think they’re all a bit scary, and that includes the commercial systems.

        A few people have recommended eFront as being a more user friendly solution, but it isn’t as ‘open’ as Moodle.

        To my mind, the most important thing to do is to clearly identify all of the requirements of the scholl district (and that will include ease of use for teachers) and then prioritise that list. Compared to some other types of software, there are relatively few open source LMS solutions and it’s likely that you will have to compromise somewhere. A prioritiSed lost will help you to do that.

        There’s also no substitute for a proper evaluation, so you really need to get all of the posible solutions installed and try working through as many scenarios as possible to see how they cope. You may want to get a group of teachers to help you do this, and they can feedback on the usability.

        Good luck, and do let us know what choices you make.

    • Barry

      If you want something built on MS technologies you’re limited for choice. I believe that Open Elms is built on asp/net and SQL server but it’s difficult to find out much from their web site. There was also a project to ad LMS capabilities to DotNetNuke called DotNetSCORM, but their website currently says they’re moving to new servers.

  • http://beeznest.wordpress.com/author/ywarnier Yannick Warnier

    Rachel, if that helps at all (although I’m obviously biased as I know my solution – Chamilo LMS – more than others), I was recently invited in a country-side primary school in Uruguay (=Latin America, developing world) using those little green laptops from the One Laptop Per Child project. I was invited there by the father of the teacher who taught a multi-grade class of 15 students from 6 to 9 years old, and as I presented myself the teacher suggested I presented the software I helped building (as it was related to learning anyway). In less than one hour and with the help of those (quite slow) little laptops, the pupils knew how to create courses, how to create documents and how to create a mini-exam inside the platform. They tend to learn faster than adults, obviously, but apparently they really loved it (to my surprise).
    You can guess how much less trained these kids were to using technologies in comparison with children in California. Some of their parents have cellphones with texting capability and a TV, but that’s pretty much it. Only at school do they have a small laptop to play with (and I was said they only used it 2h a week).
    I don’t want to extend much on the subject, but as far as I understand Chamilo is quite suitable for primary schools (we have at least 50 of these reportedly using it in Latin America, but we don’t have much reports from the US, although it is completely translated to English – actually it’s the source language).

    Just for the fun, here is the school: http://maps.google.com/maps?q=salto,+uruguay&hl=en&ll=-31.391217,-57.71553&spn=0.001969,0.004128&sll=37.0625,-95.677068&sspn=58.946508,135.263672&hnear=Salto,+Uruguay&t=h&z=19

  • http://www.LatitudeLearning.com Jeff Walter

    The Latitude Learning LMS is based on .Net technology. It is available on the cloud at http://www.LatitudeLearning.com or installed with a free internal use license. You can sign up for a 100-user Forever Free LMS at LatitudeLearning.com

    • Rachel

      Thanks for all the great suggestions everyone!

  • http://www.openolat.org Christian Franck

    Hi Barry,
    If you are interested you can add another alternative on your list. We just created the new open source initiative OpenOLAT which is a fork from OLAT. The University of Zurich decided to redesign OLAT for the next years and because we added so many new features to OLAT which will not work anymore, we founded OpenOLAT. Also open source with Apache lisence, with many additional features. Information you can find at http://www.openolat.org.
    Christian

  • http://equadrants.com swati saha

    Hi All,
    I just wanted to clarify one thing like, any course developed in moodle / olat etc. are free for commercial usage?

    Thanks in advance for your guidance.
    Rgds:
    S Swati

    • Barry

      @Swati – can you clarify your question a little? Are you asking if courses produced in an open source LMS must be free, or whether you can produce commercial courses i an open source LMS?

  • http://www.microassist.com Ella Jane Moore
  • Kevin Andreyo

    Open Learning Management Systems: Sakai and Canvas—Serious Contenders to Moodle?

    The open learning management system (LMS) landscape continues to change at a rapid pace. Many educational institutions are moving from proprietary LMS solutions (Blackboard, Desire2Learn) to open solutions (Moodle, Sakai, Canvas). However, can Sakai and Canvas compete with the proverbial 800 pound Open LMS guerrilla – Moodle? The verdict is still out; but it is clear that many secondary and post-secondary institutions are finding Sakai and Canvas to be a better fit.

    If you are currently evaluating LMSs, consider the following criteria when deciding on best fit:

    • User Experience
    • Tools and Feature Set (Chatrooms, Discussion Boards, Messaging, Email, Galleries, Virtual Whiteboards, Calendar, Survey, Voting, Assessment)
    • Platform Development Technology
    • Reliability
    • Support
    • Mobile Learning
    • Analytics
    • Scalability
    • Integration with your current Student Information System
    • Company Reputation
    • Best Value
    • Future Outlook

    In addition, carefully consider these common features: (1) availability to host on the cloud; (2) peak load management; (3) development technology; (4) integrated learning outcomes; (5) mobile applications; (6) accessibility; (7) integration of state standards (k12); (8) browser support; (9) ePortfolio; (10) online student storage; (11) resource gallery; (12) SCORM compliance; (13) integration with third party add-ins; and (14) multimedia support.

    Sakai in Higher Education

    University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Rutgers, University of Delaware, Wake Forest University, Pepperdine University, Boston University, Columbia University, Cornell University, Johns Hopkins University, New York University (NYU), Northwestern University, Rice University, Seton Hall University, Stanford University, Tufts University, University of Dayton, University of Notre Dame, University of Pennsylvania, Yale University

    Sakai in K-12

    Graham and Charles Schools (Columbus, Ohio), Minisink Valley Central School District (Slate Hill, NY), Huron Valley Schools, Ohio Learning Network, Oregon City School District

    Canvas in Higher Education

    New Mexico State University, Utah Valley University, Brown University

    Canvas in K-12

    Utah Education Network (UEN), Park City School District, Rockingham County School District,
    Cottonwood High School, Granite School District, Jordan School District, Davis School District,
    Tooele County School District, Nebo School District, Murray School District, SUCCESS Academy,
    City Academy

    According to company press releases, Sakai has a user-installed base of more than 300 institutions and Canvas has more than 100. This past month, Instructure released Canvas K-12 with specific features including pre-populated state standards and common core curriculum, parental co-enrollment, attendance, and curriculum mapping. Web conferencing and social media settings are disabled by default.

    Finding the correct LMS is a challenge and just when you think that you have a solid understanding of the LMS landscape, it changes.

    Resources:

    http://www.moodle.org
    http://www.instructure.com
    http://www.sakaiproject.org

    Submitted By: Kevin Andreyo, Berks County Intermediate Unit

  • Rachel

    Absolutely loving Canvas right now!

  • Justine

    Hi Barry,
    I’m searching for an LMS similar to Moodle that will be able to integrate with IMIS as well as our website. I’d like it for CPD, events, quizzes, education, courses, etc.
    With the assessments we need something that will let us set the CPD credits/points to a certain number, not percentages…..and also be able to set up non-member access where they can do a quiz and receive a certificate at the end of the assessment without giving them access to all of our activities.
    We will also want to be able to upload videos, pdf’s, podcasts, audio, quizzes etc. Any ideas??
    Thank you
    Justine

    • Barry

      You say you are looking for something similar to Moodle; are there particular reasons for not using it? I’m pretty sure that Moodle could do what you need, albeit with some additional plugins to handle CPD.

  • Amin

    Hi every body, I need a business purpose LMS with video conference,virtual class, e-library,white board features and HRM compatibility which could support high interacted learning activities and whether possible to develop mobile application or plugins for it, what is the best solution?

  • Chadley

    Hi everybody,
    Isnt it just so sad that none of these systems, or any of the other systems cater for K-12 properly. You see Primary school Grade 00 to 7 are still based on a assement criteria. Where we to an assement area with the kids, then we asses them to confirm they have learnt the concept. All the LMS systems require that school employ graphic designers and good one at that to create the look and feel of these systems. We recently looked at chamilo, and you have to build the entire inteface. I have 15 years in the IT business and I spent days playing with it. When I finally gotit working there are no template and no clear way to build an assesment criteria (course) that follows a learning path properly. So what I mean is that you can jump around the course parts in any order you like. Kids of the age 5 to 14 need to be guided by a very clear structure, which oddly enough Dokeos offers all that, but it is full of bugs, and the documentation jumps from area to are leaving the reader completly lost.

    All of the LMS systems open source have actually failed. Dokeos is your best bet if you can speak french, which luckiliy my wife can. So we have used it in our school, but there are some serious down falls. it is completly modular, which is supposed to be a benifit to reusing course content. But this doesnt actually work as I discovered when I created a copy of one course and later discovered that the changes I made to the copy had effected the original course as well. I have to recreate both courses and the quizzes. Modular no none of them are. Get worse –  When you export the results of quizz. It creates one big list of everyone who wrote the quizz, it doesn’t filter the results by class, so what is the point of having class lists. The work with the results you need to seprate and organize in to classes and grades using excel. A massive time consuming task. 
    Modular? really? I have had to make do with Dokeos it has templates and we have figured a way to make it work for us. if we had a wish list it would be to have the classes report by classes and the social networking needs a facebook like wall. becuase it creates interest and excitement.

    Seriously when is someone going to create a decent template driven LMS for Primary schools?
     

  • Piero

    Hi ,
     we are looking for an educational tool that help us tutoring students from K1 to K8 ,we looked at Moodle , we installed as local host , we created lessons etc. We had a big problems with importing / exporting of lessons and servers ( it is taking months for the hosting system to fix it ) and we are not yet online . Our conclusions is that Moddle is not suitable for single teacher or professionals that like to put lessons online and cooperate with other “private” single teachers without the help from an IT department . We like very much how Moodle system allows to grade and direct students .

    Summary : we are single teachers , professionals that want to create interactive lessons ( personalize the lesson upon the student’s answer ).

    A) we are looking for educational tool that help us tutoring students from K1 to K8  and adults .

    B) we should be able to create our lessons with any software Office , OpenOffice or LibreOfiice etc.

    C) the system should have a strong evaluation tool .

    D) it should be feasible to direct the students to different directions based on the answer to questions and quizzes.

    E) it should have a question bank and possible to export to every lesson any question .

    F ) It should be possible for a single teacher to manage the education website without need the support of an IT department .

    G) we have limited financial resources .
         The system should be robust and allows us to concentrate in building lessons and follow the students.

    Thanks

    Piero

  • Piero

    Hi ,
     we are looking for an educational tool that help us tutoring students from K1 to K8 ,we looked at Moodle , we installed as local host , we created lessons etc. We had a big problems with importing / exporting of lessons and servers ( it is taking months for the hosting system to fix it ) and we are not yet online . Our conclusions is that Moddle is not suitable for single teacher or professionals that like to put lessons online and cooperate with other “private” single teachers without the help from an IT department . We like very much how Moodle system allows to grade and direct students .

    Summary : we are single teachers , professionals that want to create interactive lessons ( personalize the lesson upon the student’s answer ).

    A) we are looking for educational tool that help us tutoring students from K1 to K8  and adults .

    B) we should be able to create our lessons with any software Office , OpenOffice or LibreOfiice etc.

    C) the system should have a strong evaluation tool .

    D) it should be feasible to direct the students to different directions based on the answer to questions and quizzes.

    E) it should have a question bank and possible to export to every lesson any question .

    F ) It should be possible for a single teacher to manage the education website without need the support of an IT department .

    G) we have limited financial resources .
         The system should be robust and allows us to concentrate in building lessons and follow the students.

    Thanks

    Piero

  • Daniel Guidotti

    Hi Barry,

    What would you recommend as the best alternative to moodle for TVET among these 10 open source LMS ? It should also have the capability of providing reports. Thanks :)

    • barrysampson

      @a34a8c9b036ef59980ffde8848693e16:disqus Without knowing what your requirements are it’s impossible to make a sensible recommendation. You need to take the time to clearly define what you expect an LMS to enable your organisation and learners to achieve. Then you can take a look at what each offers and start to make an informed assessment of the options, taking into account the time, skills and budget that you have available.

  • Daniel Guidotti

    Hi Barry,

    What would you recommend as the best alternative to moodle for TVET among these 10 open source LMS ? It should also have the capability of providing reports. Thanks :)

    • barrysampson

      @a34a8c9b036ef59980ffde8848693e16:disqus Without knowing what your requirements are it’s impossible to make a sensible recommendation. You need to take the time to clearly define what you expect an LMS to enable your organisation and learners to achieve. Then you can take a look at what each offers and start to make an informed assessment of the options, taking into account the time, skills and budget that you have available.

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