Learning Management System (LMS) Software

What is Learning Management System (LMS) Software?

Learning management system software is used by both employees as well as schools and educational institutes to automate and manage the administration, documentation, delivery, testing, tracking and reporting of training and learning. These online portals allow you to create and manage training materials and educational content, set curricula, deliver courses online, provide a space for discussion and collaboration, as well as to test and report on learning progress.

Educational institutes, agencies, training companies and businesses of all sizes can benefit from learning management systems software. Many organizations use these systems to create online courses that can be accessed from any device, whether that is a laptop, tablet or smartphone. Rich media can be uploaded and shared, including videos and images. These apps can also be used to sell courses online.

For employers and HR staff these tools can be used to administer training to new and existing staff members. Training content can be easily created and shared across numerous channels. Training sessions and events can be scheduled and course enrollment can be managed using these applications.

Content development and management is a key functionality of any LMS software. Your LMS can usually be integrated with other data systems to gather information and use this in the creation of content. Documents can be created based on pre-set templates which can be customized and branded to meet your organizations needs.

Educational institutes, training bodies and companies alike can use LMS software to set curricula based on specific goals, requirements, specialization and area of focus. Courses can be assigned and unassigned to employees or students based on predefined criteria. You can establish certification paths and ensure teachers and trainers follow guidelines and meet industry requirements. Progress can be tracked across each stage and reports can be used to show compliance with regulatory standards.

Learning management software can be used to test proficiency and to report on progress. You can automate the creation and administration of testing material based on your library of content. This can include ongoing assessments as well as current level/ placement tests.

Communication among teachers, trainers, students and staff can be improved using the collaboration and feedback features of LMS software. These might include discussion groups, forums, instant messaging, live chat, social media platforms, groups and communities. User profiles, status updates and live feeds can further foster communication among learners and trainers.

The analytics and reporting tools of LMS software can be used to give better insight into the effectiveness of your learning procedures and identify learner difficulties. Data can also be used to identify the strengths and weaknesses of your team. Real.time monitoring can help you track how much of your material is being consumed and when.

Key Features & Benefits

  • Create branded training material and educational content
  • Upload multimedia such as video, images and slideshows
  • Facilitate communication through discussion boards, forums, live chat and more
  • Provide access to course material from any device
  • Schedule training sessions and events
  • Manage course enrollment
  • Sell courses online
  • Set curricula and certification paths
  • Track learner progress and ensure trainer compliance
  • Create proficiency tests and assessments

Learning Management System (LMS) Category Leaders Q3 2018

GetApp's quarterly ranking showcases the leading 10-15 Learning Management System (LMS) apps based in the cloud. Each app is scored using five factors, worth 20 points each, for a total possible score out of 100. These factors include user reviews, integrations, mobile app availability, functionality, and security. Each app's score is independent of commercial interests and existing relationships that GetApp has with app vendors.

Scroll down for more details about inclusion criteria and scoring.

ReviewsIntegrationsMobileFunctionalitySecurity

What is Category Leaders?

GetApp's Category Leaders graphic identifies leading cloud-based software products in the Learning Management System (LMS) software category. If you’re a business owner or decision maker who is evaluating LMS technology options for your company, Category Leaders is for you.

The ranking highlights key factors that small businesses should consider when assessing which software products may be right for them. These factors include user perception (“user reviews”), compatibility with other systems (“integrations”), mobile offerings (“mobile”), technical capabilities (“functionality”), and product security (“security”).

To create each Category Leaders ranking, our research team typically evaluates hundreds of products in any one category. The 10-15 with the highest scores become Category Leaders.

What makes a product eligible for Category Leaders?

Category Leaders is focused on the North American LMS software market. To be eligible for inclusion, products must offer a core set of functionality, as determined by our research analysts, who provide coverage of and have familiarity with products in that market. Please see the “Functionality” section below for additional details on the core set of functionality we define for the LMS market.

Since Category Leaders is intended to cover the LMS market at large, individual analysts use their market experience and knowledge, existing market-based research, and small business software buyer needs analysis to assess an application's suitability for a given category depending on whether it can reasonably be expected to be relevant to most small business buyers across industries searching for a system with a strong focus on LMS capabilities.

In addition, a product must have at least 20 unique user-submitted product reviews across the three Gartner Digital Markets web properties: softwareadvice.com, capterra.com, and getapp.com, and those reviews must be published within 18 months of the start of the analysis period. The analysis period for the Q3 2018 Category Leaders update is December 22, 2016 to June 22, 2018.

How are the scores calculated?

An app's score is calculated using five unique data points, each scored out of 20, resulting in a total score out of 100. The ranking and scoring methodology ensure complete impartiality and independence from any relationships that GetApp has with app vendors.

User Reviews

Review scores are calculated using weighted reviews collected from GetApp and its sister sites, Software Advice and Capterra. This score is based on average user ratings (on a scale from 1 to 5) of how satisfied users are with a product overall. The scoring includes ratings left within the previous 18-month period; ratings that are more recent are weighted more heavily.

The methodology calculates the percentile ranking for each product relative to all other products in the software category that have qualified for inclusion. That percentile ranking is then translated into a 1 to 20 score.

Integrations

Integration scores factor in a number of variables. Up to 16 points are awarded based on the number of integrations an app has. The first 10 points are awarded based on the number of integrations relative to the category average, while 4 points are awarded based on the number of integrations relative to the leaders in the category. An additional 5 points is awarded for an integration with Zapier, a widely used software integration platform, while an extra point is given for having an open API. The total possible score for integrations is 20 points.

Mobile Platforms

Mobile scores are calculated based on the availability of an iOS and Android app. Five points are awarded for the presence of each app, with an additional 10 points awarded for the number and average rating of reviews in both the App Store and Google Play. These review scores are calculated on a scale based on the category average for a maximum of 5 points per platform and an overall maximum score of 20.

If there isn't a native iOS or Android app, the product's website is assessed using Google's PageSpeed Insights to measure mobile usability. A score out of 100 is given, then scaled to a score out of 5 for a maximum of 5 points.

Functionality

Functionality scores are assigned based on a combination of two assessments: user ratings and functionality breadth data.

Fifty percent of the score is based on average user ratings on a scale from 1 to 5 of how satisfied users are with the product’s functionality. The scoring includes ratings left within the previous 18-month period; ratings that are more recent are weighted more heavily.

The methodology calculates the percentile ranking for each product relative to all other products in the software category that have qualified for inclusion. That percentile ranking is then translated into a 1 to 10 score.

The other 50% of the score is based on a functionality assessment of the product. For each software category, our research analysts define a core set of features that a product must offer, as well as additional “nice-to-have” common and optional features. For the LMS category, we identify the following set of features:

  • Core features: learning management and course tracking.

  • Optional features: certification and compliance management, virtual classroom, course library, proficiency testing/reporting, content authoring, extended enterprise, social learning, mobile learning, AICC/SCORM compliance, blended learning, gamification, gradebook, student portal, and Experience API (xAPI).

Products are assessed according to how many of those pre-defined features they offer, and products with more features receive a higher score. We use this data to calculate a product's percentile ranking, which allows us to determine how products compare relative to one another rather than determine an absolute number.

All told, a vendor can receive up to 10 points based on user ratings and up to 10 points based on the features assessment for a total maximum score of 20 for “functionality.”

Security

Security scoring is calculated using answers from a vendor-completed survey. The questions in the survey are based on the Cloud Security Alliance self-assessment form as part of the Security, Trust & Assurance Registry, supplemented by the expertise of our security research experts. Each answer in the 16-question survey is assigned a point value. The scoring then calculates the percentile ranking for each product relative to all other products in the software category that have qualified for Category Leaders consideration. That percentile ranking is then translated into a 1 to 20 score.

In the event of a tie, each data point is weighted for importance, with security taking precedent, followed by reviews, integrations, mobile apps, and functionality, respectively.

External Usage Guidelines

Providers must abide by the Category Leaders External Usage Guidelines when referencing Category Leaders content. Except in digital media with character limitations, the following disclaimer MUST appear with any/all Category Leaders reference(s) and graphic use:

GetApp Category Leaders constitute the subjective opinions of individual end-user reviews, ratings, and data applied against a documented methodology; they neither represent the views of, nor constitute an endorsement by, GetApp or its affiliates.