How to compare different LMSs?
A step-by-step guide to find your e-learning solution matching your needs
Comparing Learning Management Systems (LMS) involves a thorough assessment of various features, functionalities, and considerations. At Abstract Technology, we are specialized in LMS consultation and advice, assisting you in creating the best digital learning platform for your organization's specific needs. Our team can develop custom solutions to integrate and extend your digital learning platform, ensuring it perfectly suits your requirements and we can assist in customizing and configuring your digital learning platform (LMS) while providing the necessary training to maximize its potential.
The 'best' LMS varies depending on specific needs, so it’s crucial to prioritize features aligned with your institution or organization’s requirements. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to compare different LMS:
- Identify your needs
- Goals: Define your objectives and what you aim to achieve with the LMS.
- Users: Understand your audience — students, instructors, administrators, etc.
- Features: List essential features required (e.g., content creation, assessments, analytics, mobile access, etc.).
- Feature comparison
- Create a checklist: Make a comparison chart listing features and functionalities. Get a checklist template here.
- Key features: Highlight must-have features for your institution or organisation.
- User interface and experience
- Ease of use: Evaluate the platform’s usability for both administrators and end-users. For example, conduct user testing sessions with administrators and learners to observe their interactions and gather feedback. Then, collect feedback through surveys or dedicated forms to understand user experiences and use data analytics to track user behaviour, engagement, and any usability issues based on metrics.
- Customization: Check if the LMS allows customization to fit your branding and user preferences. For example, assess how easy it is to navigate the admin dashboard and check if the dashboard layout can be personalized for quick access to frequently used features.
- Integrations: Assess compatibility with existing systems or tools (e.g., CRM, video conferencing, etc.). Several standards facilitate integrations within Learning Management Systems (LMS). Some of the most commonly used standards include:
- SCORM (Sharable Content Object Reference Model): It is used for creating and packaging e-learning content and it enables content interoperability between different LMS systems. SCORM-compliant content ensures that it can be uploaded and used across various SCORM-compatible platforms.
- xAPI (Experience API) or Tin Can API: It allows tracking and recording learning experiences and activities. It's more versatile than SCORM, enabling tracking of various learning activities beyond traditional LMS boundaries (like mobile learning, simulations, etc.). It collects data on a wide range of learning experiences, providing more comprehensive insights.
- LTI (Learning Tools Interoperability): It enables tools like external content repositories, video conferencing, or assessment tools to seamlessly integrate with an LMS. It offers a standardized way for these tools to communicate with the LMS.
- Devices and accessibility: Check if it supports various devices (mobile, tablet) and if it’s accessible to users with disabilities.
- Cost and scalability
- Price model: Compare pricing structures (one-time purchase, subscription-based, per-user fees, etc.).
- Scalability: Consider if the LMS can accommodate your organisation's growth.
- Support and training
- Customer support: Evaluate the support provided (24/7, email, phone, chat).
- Training resources: Check availability of tutorials, documentation, and training materials.
- Security and compliance
- Data security: Assess the LMS’s security measures, encryption, and compliance with data protection laws (GDPR, HIPAA, etc.).
- Trial and demo
- Free trials or demos: Take advantage of trial periods or demos to test the platform with a subset of users.
- Decision making
- Evaluate responses: Gather feedback from stakeholders based on trials, feature comparisons, and user experience. How well does each response address your specific needs or requirements? Assess the depth, accuracy, and completeness of the information provided and evaluate how closely each response aligns with your goals and priorities.
- Cost-benefit analysis: Weigh the features against the cost and choose the LMS that best suits your needs and budget. A cost-benefit analysis for selecting the best Learning Management System (LMS) involves weighing the costs of implementing and maintaining the system against the benefits it provides. Here is an example on how to do it:
- Additional Tips
- Consultation: Consider consulting with experts or peers who have experience with the shortlisted LMS options.
- Future trends: Anticipate future trends and updates in the LMS landscape to ensure the chosen system remains relevant.
- Audience: Docebo primarily focuses on corporate training and enterprise solutions, while Open edX is widely adopted by educational institutions and organizations.
- Customization: Docebo provides a user-friendly out-of-the-box solution with customization options, whereas Open edX offers extensive customization abilities.
- Pricing Model: Docebo typically follows a subscription-based model, while Open edX, being open-source, has no licensing fees but might incur costs related to customization and support.
Focus: Docebo is a commercial LMS designed primarily for corporate training and enterprise solutions.
- User interface and ease of use: Known for its intuitive and user-friendly interface, making it accessible for learners and administrators with varying technical skills.
- Features: Offers a wide range of features including content management, social learning, gamification, and robust reporting/analytics.
- Customization: Provides extensive customization options, allowing organizations to tailor the platform to their branding and specific needs.
- Mobile learning: Strong mobile learning support with a responsive interface and a native mobile app.
Pricing model: Typically subscription-based with various tiers based on features and user count.
Open-source nature: Open edX is an open-source platform developed by MIT and Harvard, known for its flexibility and customization options.
- Target audience: Widely adopted by educational institutions, universities, and organizations seeking a highly customizable platform.
- Flexibility: Offers extensive customization abilities, allowing institutions to modify and adapt the platform to suit specific requirements.
- Community support: Benefits from a robust community contributing to its development, providing a wealth of resources and plugins.
- Scalability: Known for its scalability, capable of handling large user bases and courses.
- Learning tools interoperability (LTI): Supports LTI, enabling integration with other educational tools and platforms.
Cost: While the software itself is free due to its open-source nature, implementation and customization costs might be higher depending on specific needs.
Docebo and Open edX® platform: Two LMS solutions that couldn't be more different
As part of this How-to guide, we will show you in the following the main differences between Docebo and Open edX. These two Learning Management Systems (LMS) have distinct features, focuses, and target audiences. Key Differences are:
We’ll try to analyse their differences, highlighting them in the next section.
Video source: https://youtu.be/OAJQR1kDMxk
Video source: https://vimeo.com/893628455?share=copy
When choosing between Docebo and Open edX platform, it often comes down to the specific needs and priorities of each organisation and project. Docebo might be preferable for its user-friendliness and AI-driven features, especially for businesses seeking a scalable and intuitive solution. Meanwhile, the Open edX platform, being open-source and having a worldwide active community behind, suits organisations looking for greater customization, especially in educational environments, with a focus on robust course creation, user and content management as well as comprehensive analytics.
Ultimately, the choice between these two solutions depend on factors such as the organisation's size, industry, desired features, customization needs, and budget considerations. Evaluating these aspects against the specific requirements will help in making a well thought and sustainable decision.
At Abstract Technology, we develop products and services for people, with people. We offer a range of services tailored to your needs. Book a meeting today and start growing your online learning business.
Explore the Open edX platform in our Sandbox
You want to have a hands-on experience of the Open edX LMS without having to set up the environment from scratch?
Try out a Open edX sandbox!
This immersive experience allows you to explore the platform's basic features and functionalities from both the learner and the course author perspective. Now you can explore and try Open edX LMS without any need to create and configure an own environment. It's easy because you don't need any authentication process, just register with an email address and start playing.