My Quest To Find The Best Learning Management System

I looked at 5 of the top LMS

A woman utilizing an LMS platform on her laptop in her living room.

A woman utilizing an LMS platform on her laptop in her living room.

My Quest to find the Best Learning Management System

In this fast-paced digital age of ai and online gurus, the demand for effective and efficient learning management systems (LMS) has soared to unprecedented heights. With a plethora of options available in the market, choosing the right LMS can be an overwhelming task. However, fear not! In this article, I embark on a quest to find the best learning management system that suits your small business needs. Through extensive research and hands-on experimentation, join me as we explore the features, functionalities, and user-friendliness of different LMS platforms. Whether you are a start-up solopreneur or a large corporate entity seeking to enhance employee training programs, this definitive guide will steer you toward selecting an LMS that's just right. So buckle up as we dive deep into my expedition for discovering the crème de la crème of learning management systems!

Defining the Criteria: What Makes a Learning Management System the Best?

When I set out on my journey of evaluating learning management systems, I selected several key areas in my criteria.

  1. User-Friendly Interface: It has been my experience that the best LMS should have an intuitive interface that is easy for both instructors and learners to navigate.

  2. Engaging Multimedia: It has also been my personal experience that an effective LMS should support a variety of multimedia formats such as videos, interactive quizzes, gamification for encouragement, and presentations to enhance learner engagement.

  3. Customization Options: The ability to customize the platform with branding elements and tailor it to specific organizational needs is crucial for creating a seamless learning experience.

  4. Coaching or Growth: I believe that the new content creator should be able to add some type of goal-oriented experience to their learning management system.

Additionally, 5. Robust Reporting Capabilities: A top-notch LMS will provide detailed analytics on learner progress, allowing instructors to track performance effectively. 6. Mobile Accessibility: With the rise in remote work and mobile usage, an ideal LMS would offer full functionality across devices for learners on the go. 7. Scalability and Integration Potential: The best platforms are scalable, allowing organizations to grow organically without compromising user experience or data integrity. 8. Return on Investment: In a day and age where resources are scarce a platform should have the ability to get a return on investment sooner rather than later.

By considering the aforementioned essential criteria areas when researching different providers' offerings, you can narrow down your choices pretty quickly and 5 platforms stood out the best.

Exploring Popular LMS Platforms: A Comparative Analysis

When comparing popular Learning Management System (LMS) platforms, it is important to consider factors such as user-friendliness, features, and pricing. Thinktific, Teachable, Podia, EzyCourse, and Kajabi, stood out the most when it came to feature-rich abilities. I wanted to rank them in order but found it better to give them their flowers in the areas where they shined amongst their peers and list some areas where I thought they needed the most improvement.

Thinktific: Sure, with more than 50,000 paying customers, they are one of the most popular learning platforms having started back in 2021. The unfortunate part about having started some time ago is their platform appears to be a little bit dated. Two years ago seems like a century in a post-Covid 19 era, but I digress. It has a nice layout but where it does not stand up to the current competition is their website builder. It uses a series of blocks that are not as flexible. You have to paint within the lines of the color book canvas, which hinders the creative mind of someone who wanted to go off script.

Where it shines above all other platforms is its ability to give you a play-by-play of every financial dollar earned in your online academy. This may be from the background of the founders who were former securities lawyers. Their pricing does not appear to be the most up-to-date, unfortunately. See my full walk-through of this learning management system here below.

Teachable: A grizzled veteran of the online courses space this company boasts a whopping 83,000 monthly paying customers. Rightfully so as teachable was the first platform that I was drawn to when I first started teaching online. They started around 2014 and have been a bell weather in the online course business. It is almost like they know where all of the landmines are as they have become more of a fintech being one of the first to launch their own payment system. This type of structure has alienated some as their payout is usually around 45 days compared to others who pay much faster.

Where they shine is their use of A.I. when it comes to offering course titles and subject ideas. Their drag-and-drop course creation tools hurdle the competition. This feature allows you to make a mistake and quickly address it in your course creation setup. Nevertheless, they have unfortunately rested on their laurels. They have not added anything major but a coaching portion in the last 3-4 years. The coaching portion is a welcomed addition but the platform has been laid flat in development for some time. Their pricing appears to be stuck in the mid-2014's as well. See my full walkthrough of this learning management system here below

Podia: A less well-known veteran to some of its counterparts has been around since 2014. They have been nimble enough to change with the times showing off a robust web builder. They appear to have one-upped teachable in their interface design and product offerings. Their platform allows the would-be course builder/owner to host a community, webinars, and affiliate programs. Their overall website layout still does not appear to be the best but it can be overcome by some of their product offerings. They also offer the best ability to scale from a beginner course creator to a large academy. See my full walkthrough of this learning management system here below

Kajabi: Is the 5,000-pound gorilla. They are the "King of the Hill" when it comes to Learning Management Systems. Make no mistake about it when it comes to an e-learning platform that is second to none then Kajabi has been crowned the champion of them all. They started back in 2010 really before online learning and online training courses were even a thing. They have a 2 Billion dollar valuation and show no signs of slowing down. They have evolved from just doing online courses to now offering communities, podcasts, and coaching. Their builder is clean and uses the template model to get new users up and going fast.

They really have no flaws, well accept one. Their pricing lets you know right away that there is no room for you to start with them. This is one of those big Boy/Girl learning management systems. This is the private school that has all of the endowments and funding to dominate all of the school athletes. Even though the competition and playing field has opened up for more Learning Management Systems you would think the pricing would have come down or become more competitive for a tool like Kajabi. Not on our watch, says Kajabi. We are the crème de la crème and everyone else is fighting for second place. See my full walk-through of this learning management system here below.

EzyCourse: A newcomer to the online teaching space appears to have come out of nowhere. Having only been around less than a year they appeared to take only the good from everyone and create an LMS Freshness that has become stale. When you first show up at their website you are overwhelmed by their list of offerings. They offer you two, yes count them, two communities under their basic starter plan. They offer the ability to drip courses out to students, but most other platforms do not offer either of these options until their highest pricing tiers. They offer a custom domain and give you the ability to create unlimited courses all under their basic tier. The biggest feature even for their basic tier is the ability to have unlimited students. It is like they took everything that everyone else was doing and just threw it in at no additional cost. Check out a 14 Day Trial with EzyCourse LMS Platform today

Here is something that may surprise new would-be course creators. The brand-new smell wears off when you log in and look for the User Interface to be set up like a veteran platform of teachable. It is not as clean and tightly woven as Thinktific, but can you make money as an online instructor with this type of Learning Management System? The ones that promise a fully furnished house upon moving into your e-learning platform. EzyCourse does not disappoint with more than 16 streams of revenue right out of the box. I explain in this video how this is possible. For that reason alone it tops my list for Best Learning Management System. It gives you an unbelievable amount of ways to make money at a fraction of the monthly cost as some of the heavyweights that have been around for more than half a decade. Learn how EzyCourse became my Learning Management Platform of choice and won my heart.

Ultimately, the best LMS platform will depend on your specific needs and budget considerations. Taking the time to explore these popular options can help you find the right fit for your organization or educational institution.

User Experience Matters: Navigating the Interface and Customization Options

Navigating the Interface

A user-friendly interface is crucial for an effective learning management system (LMS). With a well-designed and intuitive interface, users can easily find what they need without wasting time searching. The best LMS platforms feature clear navigation menus and organized layouts that guide learners through their courses effortlessly.

Aside from easy navigation, responsiveness is also key. A responsive design ensures that the LMS adjusts to different screen sizes, making it accessible on both desktop computers and mobile devices. This flexibility enables learners to access their content anytime, anywhere.

Thinktific: Appears to have the best navigation

Podia: Appears to have the worst navigation

Customization Options

Every educational institution has unique needs when it comes to online learning. That's why customization options are essential in an LMS. Administrators should have the ability to tailor the platform according to their specific requirements, including custom branding with logos and color schemes.

Furthermore, educators must have control over course creation and delivery. An ideal LMS allows them to organize content modules in a way that aligns with their teaching style or curriculum structure. With customizable interfaces and flexible functionalities tailored specifically for each user's roles or preferences, individuals can personalize their learning experience accordingly.

EzyCourse: Appears to have the best Customization

Thinktific: Appears to have the worst Customization

Unlocking the Power of Features: Student Assessment and Reporting Capabilities

Assessing Assessment and Reporting Capabilities

When searching for the best Learning Management System (LMS) to meet your organization's needs, it is essential to evaluate its assessment and reporting capabilities. A robust LMS should allow you to create and deliver assessments easily, provide a range of question types, and track learner progress effectively.

Easy Creation and Delivery of Assessments

A user-friendly interface that simplifies the creation and delivery process of assessments can save valuable time for instructors. Look for an LMS that offers intuitive authoring tools with drag-and-drop functionality or pre-built templates. This allows even non-technical users to develop engaging quizzes or exams efficiently.

Variety of Question Types

To ensure learner engagement and cater to different learning styles, an effective LMS should offer a wide array of question types. Multiple-choice questions may be suitable for some topics, while essays or discussion boards might be more appropriate for others. By providing diverse options like matching exercises or fill-in-the-blank questions, instructors have the flexibility to design assessments that suit their content objectives.

Effective Tracking and Reporting

Tracking learner progress is crucial in any educational setting. An ideal LMS should generate detailed reports on individual student performance as well as overall class statistics at both micro (question-level analysis) and macro levels (course completion rates). The ability to access these reports easily enables educators to identify knowledge gaps promptly, assess instructional effectiveness accurately, and make data-driven decisions based on learners' achievements.

Thinktific: Appears to have the best Reporting Capabilities

EzyCourse: Appears to have the worst Reporting Capabilities

Seamless Integration: Evaluating LMS Compatibility with Existing Systems

Evaluating LMS Compatibility with Existing Systems

When searching for the best learning management system (LMS) for your organization, one crucial aspect to consider is how well the LMS integrates with your existing systems. Seamless integration between your LMS and other software applications ensures a smooth user experience and maximizes productivity.

Factors to evaluate compatibility include:

  1. Single Sign-On (SSO): Look for an LMS that supports SSO, allowing users to log in using their existing credentials without the need for multiple passwords or accounts. This simplifies the login process and enhances security.

  2. Data Exchange: The ability of an LMS to exchange information with other systems, such as HR or CRM software, is vital for tracking employee performance and delivering personalized training experiences.

  3. API Support: Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) enable different software applications to communicate and share data seamlessly. Assess whether the LMS offers API support so you can easily connect it with your current systems.

By evaluating these compatibility factors, organizations can ensure a hassle-free implementation of their new learning management system while maintaining smooth operations across all of their existing systems.

Kajabi: Appears to have the best Compatibility

EzyCourse: Appears to have the worst Compatibility (but having webhooks slightly makes up for it)

Price vs Value: Balancing Budget Constraints and LMS Profitability

When selecting a learning management system (LMS), it is crucial to strike the right balance between price and value. While cost may be an important factor for budget-conscious organizations, compromising on performance can have long-term consequences.

Here are some key considerations when evaluating the price versus value trade-off:

  1. Budget constraints: Determine your organization's financial limits and consider how much you are willing to invest in an LMS. Additionally, evaluate any additional costs such as customization, maintenance, or ongoing support.

  2. Features and functionality: Look beyond the price tag and focus on what features and functionalities the LMS offers. Consider whether these align with your organization's specific needs, objectives, and target audience.

  3. Ease of use: A user-friendly interface can save time and resources by reducing training needs while enhancing productivity. Evaluate how intuitive the system is for both administrators and learners.

  4. Scalability: Anticipate future growth needs to ensure that the chosen LMS can accommodate increasing numbers of users and content without facing limitations or requiring significant upgrades.

  5. Feedback from existing users: Research customer reviews or speak directly with organizations similar to yours that are already using the LMS under consideration. Their experiences can provide valuable insights into how well it performs in real-world scenarios.

By carefully weighing price against value while considering these factors, you can make a well-informed decision that will benefit your organization in both financial savings and improved learning outcomes.

EzyCourse: Appears to have the best profit ability and budget constraints

Kajabi: Appears to be the worst when it comes to profit ability and budget constraints