The Best Learning Management System Software for Businesses in 2021

Business and technology are evolving faster than ever. A learning management system (LMS) can help your employees and your business keep pace. Create exciting courses, practice critical skills, educate your partners and customers, and maybe even monetize all that tribal knowledge you've been amassing. The right LMS makes it easy.

Top Rated

WorkRamp

WorkRamp is an exciting LMS that makes it easy to create professional, high-impact training programs. See what it has to offer your business.

Best for SMBs

TalentLMS

TalentLMS is a feature-rich, affordable, accessible LMS package with friendly terms, fast onboarding, and outstanding support for all your online learning needs.

Easiest to Use

Skyprep

SkyPrep is a standout learning management system with affordable pricing, applause-worthy support, and all the functionality you need to deliver online learning on any device, anywhere.

Best Features

Absorb LMS

Explore Absorb LMS, a user-friendly learning management system that supports internal and external training and selling courses online.

Best Value

eFront

eFront is a full-featured learning management system ready to tackle employee training, customer education, and selling online courses. What's not to love?

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If you're in business today, you probably have a skills gap. The pace of change in technology and business virtually guarantees it. But few business leaders understand what that really means, let alone how to address it.

Too often, skills gaps are mistaken for hiring problems. We're just not getting qualified applicants, people will say, or we're not recruiting the right people. But if that's true, why are so many people bored at work? And why do the best and brightest so often go hunting after bigger challenges?

Your skills gap is not a recruiting problem. It's a development problem. The beauty of recognizing this is that it lets you solve not just one problem but many. It helps you:

  • Develop the skills you actually need with up-to-date training
  • Keep your employees happier and more engaged
  • Hold onto those top performers longer

The desire to learn new things, master some, and put that knowledge to work is hardwired into the human brain. By creating a culture of continuous learning in your company, you can give employees the kind of challenges and growth they're looking for at work. And that, in turn, can be the most powerful recruiting tool of all.

A learning management system (LMS) makes it much easier to create a learning culture in your company. An LMS takes you beyond slide shows and all-hands meetings to a full-blown education program with tools for building courses, delivering live and on-demand training, and continuously tracking results.

An LMS also makes it easy to educate partners and customers about your unique offerings and processes. Some systems also come equipped for e-commerce to let you sell courses online.

This article highlights features to look for in an LMS. We'll also explain what LMS software is, what it will cost you, and what can you expect to get in return.

Our top picks for the best Learning Management System:

Top Rated

1. WorkRamp

   

WorkRamp is a mobile learning management solution that lets you create enticing learning experiences for employees, customers, and partners. With WorkRamp's web-building tools, you can create unique branded academies for external audiences. WorkRamp also comes equipped with e-commerce features so you can sell courses online.

WorkRamp is set up to provide live and asynchronous learning sessions anywhere, on any device. Scheduling events, assigning courses, and managing user groups are all easily handled from the main admin dashboard. Automated assignments and notifications save managers and trainers valuable time.

Unlike many learning management systems, WorkRamp doesn't have tiered pricing packages or upcharges. All users receive the full functionality, including powerful integrations that embed the learning experience in your daily operations.

WorkRamp's support is equally democratic, with high-touch features such as a dedicated Slack channel for every account, where you can connect with your WorkRamp team. That's a direct line to an account manager, an implementation team, support people, and even marketing.

WorkRamp is an agile, up-and-coming LMS with solicitous support and new features coming out weekly. Its user-friendly interface makes it easy to create immersive, engaging programs for just about any business training need.

Easiest to Use

2. Skyprep

   

SkyPrep is a mobile-ready learning management system ideal for business training, with affordable pricing, responsive support, and a user interface that guarantees you won't be needing it anytime soon.

SkyPrep is fully mobile so your teams can learn anywhere, even when internet service is unavailable. It supports asynchronous learning, webinars, live classes, and multimedia presentations. It's also primed for ecommerce, so you can easily use it to sell online courses.

SkyPrep's user interface is an absolute pleasure to use. You can build courses and set key parameters such as prerequisites and credits with just a few clicks. Importing and organizing content is equally quick with SkyPrep's integrated file uploads and bulk importing features. Course materials can be organized into learning paths and added to a course catalogue for easy management. Test creation and automated grading are also baked in.

SkyPrep makes it easy to group users, arrange them into hierarchies, and control permissions. Reports are quick and easy to generate, showing key stats such as course participation, progress, and grades.

The software automates many tasks to save your admins and instructors valuable time. In addition to grading tests, SkyPrep automatically notifies users of critical milestones and upcoming deadlines. It can even create certifications and mail them to your students as soon as they complete a course.

Best of all, SkyPrep features an accommodating, scalable pricing model that only charges you for users who are active in your system each month. With a free 14-day trial, you can get in and take a test drive before committing.

Best Support

3. Lessonly

   

Purpose-built for team training, Lessonly takes a truly fresh approach to learning management for business. The software features innovative tools for practicing real-world skills, trading feedback with colleagues, and tracking results. Lessonly is cloud-built and mobile-friendly, making it easy to connect remote teams.

The software is exceptionally simple and intuitive to use, with an interface you can customize to reflect your brand. Lessonly makes it easy to create exciting assignments employees will enjoy completing, thanks to interactive elements, smart contextual help, and an emphasis on small learning units (microlearning).

Lessonly provides all the functionality you need to create and manage team training. It supports true blended learning through a mix of interactive lessons and live events. It also provides LMS staples such as automated tracking and notifications, user management tools, and analytics to measure learner progress and engagement.

A unique feature available on the Pro + Coaching plan is Lessonly's practice feature, which lets users hone critical skills such as delivering a sales pitch or responding to a service request. Employees can record their responses via video, audio, or screen capture, share them with coworkers, and gather feedback to help them improve.

Lessonly interfaces with a number of applications such as Slack and Zendesk to help you integrate training into your daily operations. It also provides open application programming interface (API) for further integration with the software you use every day to run your business.

Lessonly is ideal for businesses that want to go beyond slide decks and all-hands meetings to really engage employees and create a culture of learning.

Best Value

4. eFront

   

eFront is a mobile-friendly learning management system (LMS) designed for internal and external training as well as online course sales. eFront offers advanced security and customization to support complex learning environments. It also offers you a choice of self-hosted or cloud-hosted solutions.

eFront began as an open-source solution, and it shows. The LMS provides exceptional control and flexibility through access to its source code and powerful REST and plug-in application programmable interface (API) technologies. Basically, eFront is ready for your tech team to take as far as you like.

Yet you don't have to be a coder to love eFront. The platform comes loaded with all the features you need to design and manage multiple learning portals. While its interface is straightforward to the point of being plain, eFront's features run deep.

eFront provides complete course-building capabilities including interactive HTML5 content, tests and surveys, certifications, gamification, and live training sessions. eFront further lets you connect skill sets to jobs and conduct skill gap testing. You can then tailor learning paths to serve employees' specific needs.

eFront is fully optimized for mobile devices so you can engage learners anytime, anywhere, on devices of their choice. Users can download courses to work offline and sync up automatically when they are online again.

eFront makes it easy to manage user groups, schedule automatic notifications, and analyze performance. Divide your training content into multiple portals and theme them independently to suit your brand and audiences.

With transparent pricing and an unlimited free trial of the full platform, eFront is ready for you to explore. eFront is provided by Epignosis, which also offers TalentLMS as an affordable alternative for business training.

Find out what eFront LMS can offer your business.

Best for SMBs

5. TalentLMS

   

TalentLMS is an excellent cloud-based learning management system (LMS) ideal for training employees, educating customers and partners, and selling online courses. It is mobile-friendly with offline capabilities and can support all types of course-delivery modes.

If you have a very small business or you're just getting started with online training, TalentLMS is a great way to wade in and test the waters. With a fully packed free version, you can support up to five users and ten courses. Moving beyond that, paid plans start at an affordable $59/month for up to 40 users.

For all these plans, including the freemium version, TalentLMS builds in attractive extras such as gamification, a white-label user experience, and e-commerce integrations for selling online courses. This makes TalentLMS an accessible and powerful training platform for even the smallest businesses.

The interface is relatively simple and easy to use. With little preparation, users can assign roles to admins, instructors, and students and group them according to their needs. TalentLMS also has a helpful branching feature that lets you create separate audiences and environments complete with their own URLs and custom settings.

The software also provides key LMS features such as automated task management and user notifications to save admins and instructors valuable time on routine back-end tasks. TalentLMS integrates with a wealth of third-party programs for further efficiency and capability.

TalentLMS's support receives high marks from customers. The company provides an email ticketing system for all administrators with a guaranteed response by "an actual human being" within 24 hours. Their current average response time is 1.6 hours. Pretty sweet!

All in all, TalentLMS is definitely worth a look. And with the free account setup, there's no reason not to take this user-friendly LMS for a test drive.

Best Features

6. Absorb LMS

   

Absorb LMS is a versatile, mobile-ready learning management system that provides employee training and development, customer education, and the tools to sell courses online. It supports in-person training events and on-demand courses, so you can create a mix of learning experiences to suit your goals.

Absorb has clean, intuitive user interfaces. The learner interface features bold graphics showing recent activity and progress, a nice feature to encourage engagement.

Absorb can be customized to suit your brand, including splash screens for your home page and custom icons for your menus. You can further customize multiple portals within your account to differentiate audiences and training programs. With Absorb, it is easy to create inviting learning environments that showcase your offerings and your brand.

The company offers numerous add-on packages that expand and deepen Absorb's core capabilities: Absorb Engage, for social learning and gamification; Infuse, for embedding Absorb into your existing systems; Inform, for advanced reporting; Quick Start, for rapid onboarding; and Koantic, for interactive course content.

Absorb relies on key integrations for many of its features, such as video conferencing through Zoom and e-commerce through PayPal and Stripe. The platform also integrates with human resources software to incorporate training into your employees' daily flow.

All clients receive Premium support from Absorb, which includes 24/7 phone support, email and web ticket support, a help center, and onboarding support. You can also buy additional support packages: Elite, which gives you a dedicated customer success manager, and Enterprise, which adds tailored support such as on-site training.

Best for Enterprises

7. Canvas

   

Canvas is a learning powerhouse, with dedicated platforms built for K-12, higher education, and corporate learning management. Corporate Canvas is designed for enterprise-level training.

Parent company Instructure also offers a learning management system (LMS), Bridge, for employee learning and performance management.

Canvas was one of the industry's first cloud-native learning management systems, a fact that allowed it to quickly catch and eventually surpass behemoths Blackboard, Moodle, and D2l/Brightspace to become the top LMS for higher ed. The company has been equally adept at tailoring offerings for the needs of business.

Corporate Canvas is the space shuttle of corporate LMSes, with a depth and breadth of capabilities at your fingertips. Documentation is encyclopedic, right down to the ability to check uptime for any system from the footer of the company's website. This is an LMS that literally won't let you down.

Canvas makes sense for enterprise-level training. If you have extensive training needs spanning large groups of administrators, managers, instructors, and learner groups, compare any LMS you're considering to Canvas. This is easy to do since you can get a free trial of the basic interface and access to Canvas's exhaustive user resources online with no hassle, no credit card, and no commitment. Also, take Bridge for a spin.

Canvas is a mobile software-as-a-service (SaaS) platform that can support any learning goals. It can deliver on-demand courses, live training sessions, and blended learning to learners, anywhere. Besides the usual LMS features, Canvas supports interactive video, skills practicing and coaching, and a portfolio tool to showcase employee achievements.

Here's a high-level tour of Canvas's unique offerings.

8. Skilljar

   

Skilljar is a learning management solution designed for selling courses online and training and credentialing customers, partners, and other external audiences. The software can also be used for internal training purposes.

Skilljar has a straightforward interface focused on the needs of external learners. The system allows you to build courses with a variety of media, including video or audio, embedded content, and created assessments.

The software lets you create multiple training domains for different audiences, each with its own theme and content. If you have the resources, you can further customize themes via hypertext markup language (HTML), cascading style sheets (CSS), and Javascript.

Skilljar sports a fully mobile-responsive interface, so you can engage learners wherever and whenever they're ready to learn. Lessons can be completed offline and synced back up when the internet is available.

Skilljar's e-commerce features are well developed, with options for packaging and pricing your courses, selling them by subscription, and integrating with numerous payment gateways. With its emphasis on external training, Skilljar is invested in helping companies measure the impact of their courses.

Skilljar provides a customer success manager and onboarding support to get your team up and running quickly. The company also provides a help center, a customer community forum, and an online training portal to answer questions and help clients get the most from the software.

9. Adobe Captivate Prime

   

Adobe Captivate Prime is Adobe's cloud-based, mobile-friendly learning management system (LMS), and it has a lot to offer businesses with intensive training needs. Prime is a mature, sophisticated LMS with advanced features and capabilities.

The software supports live and virtual training events as well as on-demand courses. It encourages skill building with elements such as gamification, learning paths, and certifications. Captivate Prime also provides an impressive array of novel features that enhance the learning experience, such as automated content curation, a cutting-edge Fluidic Player, social learning tools, and attendance tracking via quick-response (QR) codes.

Unlike many learning management systems, Adobe Captivate Prime doesn't include content building tools. To manage the full learning cycle from course building and assessments through learning management, you would need to build your content through e-learning authoring software such as Adobe Captivate.

Another feature you won't find in Adobe Captivate Prime is ecommerce, so it won't work for businesses looking to sell online courses.

Adobe's pricing is set at $4/month per registered user with a 10-user minimum and discounts for organizations with more than 500 users. You can get pricing based on active users by quote. It does require an annual contract, which will work against you if you have high learner turnover.

Adobe backs Captivate Prime with ample support, including phone, chat, and email channels, a robust help center, and a user forum. Enterprise users also get a customer success representative.

All around, Adobe is a very advanced LMS with reasonable pricing for the capabilities it affords. But the annual contract requirement and lack of authoring tools mean that it's not a simple out-of-the-box solution for every business training need.

10. Blackboard Learn

   

Blackboard is a pioneer among learning systems. Unfortunately, using it has often been a pioneering experience of its own. Think bumpy, buggy, and trundling along at a snail's pace. There was a time when bashing Blackboard was something like a recreational sport for academics, not without cause.

Over time, Blackboard's initial edge proved a liability, as it had to evolve from the era of downloads and patents into the anything-goes world of cloud hosting, open-source solutions, and learning on the move.

But Blackboard hasn't been holding class for two decades without learning a few things along the way, and its learning management system (LMS) remains a major contender. To be fair, every learning system out there owes an intellectual debt to Blackboard.

Blackboard Learn has made inroads into the government and business training markets over the past few years. With millions of users around the world, Blackboard is definitely worth touring before you land on an LMS.

This is easy enough to do with Blackboard's free LMS for students and instructors, CourseSites. Through CourseSites, you can try the basic features of Learn and its newest version, Learn Ultra. More on that in the full review.

Because Blackboard doesn't share details on its sales and pricing, you will have to discuss your needs with a sales representative to determine whether Blackboard is a viable option for your budget and plans. But that's probably a conversation worth having, given Blackboard's dominance in the LMS space.

Let's dive into what today's Blackboard has to offer business.


What The Blueprint looks for in a great learning management system software

So what should you look for in an LMS? Some of that will depend on your goals. You can use an LMS for:

  • Internal training
  • Educating external audiences, such as customers and partners
  • Selling courses online

Here are some features you should consider in your search for the ideal learning management system software.

User-friendly interface

An LMS should eliminate barriers to training, not create them. That's why the LMS experience is so important. Your LMS should have an inviting, simple interface that employees and customers can jump in and use with little or no LMS training.

Some LMSs are focused on business training and present more streamlined interfaces. WorkRamp, Lessonly, SkyPrep, and TalentLMS are examples. Lessonly has features specifically designed for customer service training and sales training. Skilljar focuses even more tightly on customer training and selling courses online.

Other LMSs, such as Canvas and Absorb, have deeper functionalities suited to more complex learning environments.

SkyPrep's instructor dashboard with courses displayed.

Your LMS should be easy to use and allow you to make your own content. Source: SkyPrep software.

Being able to create different learning portals for different audiences and brand them are also desirable features.

Course creation tools

Most LMSs offer core features for building courses and importing content. Within those features, however, there's quite a bit of variation. Adobe Captivate is the only LMS on our list that doesn't include course-building tools.

Some LMSs support only a handful of test question types, which is very limiting. Others have interactive test elements, such as flip cards and hotspots.

Canvas's test-building tool with question options.

A good LMS helps your trainers get creative with tests and lessons — and does the grading for you. Source: Canvas software.

Gamification features, such as personal training scorecards and badges, are great for enhancing engagement. Certifications are also a desirable feature for business LMSs. Some systems allow users to upload external certifications and will even track renewal dates for you. If you're in a highly regulated industry, this can be really useful.

Your LMS should allow you to create immersive, media-rich course content that turns instruction into digital storytelling. Lessonly and WorkRamp let employees practice key job skills and submit videos of their performances for review and coaching. These are really exciting tools for team collaboration and training.

A video of a sales rep practicing a pitch with feedback tools.

Look for business-friendly tools, such as Lessonly's Practice feature. Source: Lessonly software.

Some LMSs also provide access to ready-made courses on key business skills. These are often available for a fee. If you have limited content to draw on, this can be an economical way to provide professional training quickly.

Automations

Your LMS should automate as many administrative tasks as possible, including group notifications and enrollments. For example, you should be able to automatically enroll new sales employees in sales onboarding or notify employees of a new course.

Tools for setting employee assignments in WorkRamp.

An LMS automates administrative tasks such as enrollments. Source: WorkRamp software.

You should also be able to pull key training metrics in reports to see what content is working and how training is affecting your performance.

A learning report in Adobe Captivate Prime.

LMS reports illustrate training progress and impact. Source: Adobe Captivate Prime software.

Mobile and remote learning

Your LMS should be optimized for all mobile devices. Ideally, it should allow learners to download course materials and work offline as needed and automatically sync back up when they're online again.

Your LMS should also be able to deliver a mix of live training sessions, remote learning via video conferencing, and on-demand content. Some LMSs provide native video conferencing tools, while others simply connect to software such as Zoom. However, consider limits on system load and file sizes when looking at native video features.

Integrations

Another key aspect of e-learning systems is integrating them with your existing systems. For example, your LMS could be integrated with Slack, giving employees training notifications right in their feeds.

A training notification in Slack.

An LMS can embed training in your employees' daily flow. Source: Slack software.

Or, you could connect to Salesforce customer relationship management (CRM) software and analyze how customer training is affecting retention and customer lifetime value.

A Salesforce dashboard with training data.

Integrating an LMS with SalesForce CRM provides deep insight into the impact of training. Source: WorkRamp software.

Some integrations are included free with an LMS, while others may be offered as add-ons.


How your business can benefit from using learning management system software

Learning management system software takes you from sporadic training efforts to online learning academies. Instead of pointing customers to YouTube videos and instruction manuals, you can provide courses and certifications with your offerings. Instead of the same old PowerPoint presentations, you can offer employees a catalog of training and development opportunities to choose from.

Here's how that benefits your business.

Reinforces training best practices

An LMS automatically ups your training game because it's built to support current education best practices. For example, most LMSs are designed for microlearning, which are short lessons connected into longer learning paths with interactive elements or quizzes along the way to reinforce important takeaways.

Lessonly offers a high five popup for completing a practice session.

Microlearning makes training memorable and fun. Source: Lessonly software.

Many LMSs also come with discussions and other social learning tools, further promoting engagement and retention.

Tracks and closes skill gaps

An LMS makes it easy to test skill levels and assign training to close the gaps. It also gives you full oversight of your learners and their training progress through reports and analytics.

Engages learners

Learning is more fun when you have tangible milestones and results to show for it. With an LMS, it's easy for employees and customers to identify training opportunities, sign up, get feedback, and track their progress. Gamification features, such as badges and leaderboards, add to the rewards and excitement.

Cuts the paperwork

An LMS eases the administrative burden of delivering training to different groups of employees. New employees can be automatically tested and slotted into training based on their jobs and needs. New training can be rolled out automatically to various groups, with completion of tasks or courses reported to the appropriate administrators.


Frequently Asked Questions for Learning Management System Software

What is an LMS?

A learning management system is software for creating, delivering, and tracking learning experiences. An LMS usually has interfaces for administrators, instructors, and learners.

LMSs automate many administrative training tasks, such as notifying users of milestones and deadlines, enrolling them automatically in appropriate training, tracking their progress and completions, and reporting results to instructors and admins.

LMSs can also be used by online businesses to sell courses.

How much does an LMS cost?

Most LMSs are priced based on registered or active users in your system. While many LMSs release pricing information only by individual quote, a few on our list — SkyPrep, TalentLMS, eFront, and Adobe Captivate — publish their pricing, and the range among them is a pretty good illustration of average LMS costs.

The lowest among them is TalentLMS, which provides a free LMS for up to five users and 10 courses. TalentLMS's pricing remains low as you move into paid subscriptions, starting at just $59/month for up to 40 users. This low entry price, along with its full feature set, earned TalentLMS our Best for SMB badge.

SkyPrep is probably more typical in its pricing. If you get the full feature set, you're in the Premium package, which costs $599/month for up to 100 active users.

eFront, Talent LMS's enterprise-ready sister LMS, starts at $1,000/month for 1,000 users. That's economical on a per-user basis. These are good benchmarks for your LMS search.

Is there a free LMS?

TalentLMS offers free accounts for up to five users. Many academic LMSs, such as Blackboard, offer free instructor and student accounts. The cost is borne by the institution. You can also find freemium versions of many LMSs, with advanced features available with paid accounts.

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