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?

We may receive compensation from partners and advertisers whose products appear here. Compensation may impact where products are placed on our site, but editorial opinions, scores, and reviews are independent from, and never influenced by, any advertiser or partner.

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

   
Easiest to Use

2. Skyprep

   
Best Support

3. Lessonly

   
Best Value

4. eFront

   
Best for SMBs

5. TalentLMS

   
Best Features

6. Absorb LMS

   
Best for Enterprises

7. Canvas

   

8. Skilljar

   

9. Adobe Captivate Prime

   

10. Blackboard Learn

   

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.