Open Source Online Teaching Platforms

Learning management systems (LMS) help businesses and educational institutions create, track, and manage their eLearning programs. However, most tools come with a set pricing model that can be expensive for small businesses and institutions.

While finalizing a budget for LMS software, you need to consider factors such as cost of installation, license, fees per user/course, and ongoing maintenance. On top of these upfront costs, there may also be hidden fees that could strain your tight budget.

If you only have a handful of employees or students, a free or open source LMS tool may be your best option. Small businesses that use free LMS tools will have lower software costs, while still realizing the benefits of core software features.

Open source LMS tools are often free to use and customize—unlike proprietary software with restrictive copyright licenses (meaning you can’t change source code to improve the design). Essentially, this means that an open source LMS allows more customization without having to purchase expensive licenses.

While there are hundreds of LMS tools out there, only a handful are free or open source. That’s why we created this list of the top four free and open source LMS tools.

1. Moodle

Community-driven, this globally supported effort makes one of the largest open source teams in the world. Moodle comes with a full kit of features that allow not only corporates but also educators to create a private learning space online, filled with tools that easily create courses and countless activities – all optimized for collaborative learning.

Moodle Mobile

Access learning at a touch of a button even when offline, thanks to the Moodle Mobile app. Available for both Android and iOS.

Extend Moodle

Browse the extensive Moodle plugins directory for extra activities, blocks, themes, and more.

Support & Community Forums

Get support and share ideas, all in your own language. Experience how efficiently Moodle is globally supported and discover the value of an open, collaborative effort.

Plans And Pricing

Apart from the standard, free plan, there are premium options available, starting from $59 per year.

Achievements

Moodle holds the 19th place on The Best Learning Management Systems based on User Experience list and is 16th among the The Best Learning Management Systems based on Customer Experience.

2. Chamilo

An open source LMS that’s here to improve access to education. Backed up by the Chamilo Association, it aims at the maintenance of a clear communication channel and the building of a network of services providers and software contributors. Its features allow users to easily create content, as they’re offered tools for all types of learners.

Mobile-Friendly

Chamilo has online mobile learning support available, making it easy for users to choose their own pace and place for attending courses.

Full Of Support Options

To get support for Chamilo you can turn to the online community, the knowledge base, or one of the several one-on-one options available.

Customizable Interface

Intuitive language and media embedding settings are among the many options offered.

Plans And Pricing

No premium options available. Ask the vendor for more information.

Achievements

Chamilo holds the 15th place on the list of The Best Learning Management Systems based on Customer Experience.

3. Open edX

The Open edX is a tool empowering learners to access course content, including videos and textbooks, while checking their progress in the course. The Open edX LMS has a discussion forum and a wiki that both learners and course team members can contribute to, whereas the latter can also use an instructor dashboard.

Open edX Studio

The tool for building your courses, creating structure and then adding content. You can also manage the course schedule and the course team, set grading policies, publish different parts of your course, and more.

Community Support

There’s a discussion forum and the Open edX Insights – those are particularly useful as they’re part of the community structure and learners can benefit from interaction with experienced members. The Open edX community includes webinars, upcoming events, and blog posts.

Plans And Pricing

No premium options available.

Achievements

Open edX is 5th on our list of The 20 Best Learning Management Systems (2018 Update) and 8th on the Best Learning Management Systems Based on User Experience list.

4. Totara Learn

A corporate distribution of Moodle, Totara Learn delivers individual learning plans effectively and offers rich functionality which can be implemented quickly and with a significant cost reduction comparing to proprietary solutions. This award-winning open source learning platform is designed to help you develop, train, manage, and engage your staff.

Learning On The Move

Fully responsive by design, the user interface will adjust seamlessly depending on the device. Mobile apps are also available through the partner network and can be extended or fully-branded to be in harmony with the way your LMS looks and interacts.

Learning Plans

Learning plans through which learners can monitor their progress and directly access learning activities. You can manage the process with approval workflows, comment boxes, and notifications.

Flexible Authoring Options

Combine instructor-led, self-paced learning, and social for a blended approach, all in a single course. Roles and permissions, course progression, and group-based activities give you all the flexibility you need.

Plans And Pricing

No premium options available.

Achievements

Totara Learn is in the 5 Top Open-Source Learning Management Systems in our list of The 20 Best Learning Management Systems (2018 Update) , no7 on the list of The Best 20 Learning Management Systems Offering An LMS Demo, and no13 on the list of The Top 20 Extended Enterprise Learning Management Systems. It also lands on the 13th position among the Best Learning Management Systems based on User Experience and the 14th position among the Best Learning Management Systems based on Customer Experience.

5. Canvas

An open source LMS that is free for instructors. It makes teaching and learning easier in terms of implementation, adoption, customer support, and success. It is adaptable, reliable, and customizable. With interface and features crafted to save you time and effort, this open source LMS is designed to get out of your way and let you do your thing.

Powerful Community

Over 300,000 Canvas users are involved in sharing, collaborating, and shaping Canvas.

Easy To Use

This LMS does what learners and instructors need it to do. Simple mobile use and a time-saver that gets adopted in growing rates.

Easy Plug-In For Third-Party Tools

Its extensive, open API, published to the world, paves the way for third-party apps to plug right into Canvas, pulling and pushing its data.

Personalized Support

In-house Canvas experts are there to ensure the speediest, most frictionless interactions.

Plans And Pricing

You’ll need to ask the vendor for a quote.

Achievements

Canves is on the 4th place among the 5 Top Open-Source Learning Management Systems in our list of The 20 Best Learning Management Systems (2018 Update).

6. Forma

An open source, web-based, award-winning eLearning platform that grades high on managing and delivering online training courses. Forma’s design focuses on corporate training and it is made to fit your company needs and processes. Easy integration with any intranet software allows you to extend functionalities with a wide range of plugins. Forma is developed by a network of companies and backed by a strong and active community.

Report System

Extensive reports can be exported through the built-in wizard in different formats and sent with the email scheduler.

Sell Courses Online

Native eCommerce functionalities with cart and PayPal integration.

API Integration

Easily integrated with any other system through powerful APIs and connectors.

Plans And Pricing

No premium options available.

7. Effectus

Focusing on the learner to improve engagement, mobility, and collaboration. The Effectus LMS is designed with you and your learners in mind, making it a comprehensive training management suite for business of all sizes. For the most part it has proven to be an incredibly simple and economical way to host, manage, and deliver training programs.

Gamify Learning

Effectus incorporates features such as scores, badges, and leaderboards.

Report Real-Time

Get access to rich data and customize reports to suit your very own analysis requirements – this way you measure the impact of training on your learners’ performance.

Intuitive User Interface

An interface that is designed based on the latest research on User Interface (UI), User Experience (UX) and Interface Design for Learning (IDL) standards.

Plans And Pricing

Three options, starting from $129 per month and billed annually.

Achievements

Effectus holds the 17th place on our The Top 20 Extended Enterprise Learning Management Systems list.

8. ILIAS

An open source LMS that is deemed to be powerful in developing web-based eLearning. With the goal of reducing the cost of using new media in education & training and ensure the maximum level of customer influence in implementing the software, ILIAS excels in allowing users to create, manage, and track learning, doing so through supporting SCORM 1.2, SCORM 2004, and AICC standards.

Community Organization

Several ILIAS users have organized themselves in regional or national user groups to exchange experience and influence the further development of the LMS.

Customization

System styles may be customized, allowing to bypass the default system style of ILIAS. There are also multiple substyles which can be active for different branches of the repository. To generate a customized system style, first install the necessary tools to your server.

Getting Support

There are several ways and levels to get support and services for ILIAS: through the community forums, the feature wiki, the bug tracker, the direct email, and even the paid support by several companies.

Plans And Pricing

No premium options available. Free of charge.

9. OpenOLAT

A web-based learning platform for teaching, learning, assessments, and communication. OpenOLAT has caught the attention of the market with a sophisticated and innovative modular toolkit, the capability to extend the initial installation, its architecture, and its simple and intuitive operation. All these result in offering course authors a wide range of possibilities.

Tailor-Made

With an LMS that gives tutors the chance to tailor the system according to the need of their learners, you can create groups, run exams, contact users in numerous ways, and adjust personal settings.

Collaborative

Tools such as forums, chats (group or one-on-one), virtual classrooms, blogs, podcasts, etc. make for an enhanced learning experience. Collaborative techniques and a series of ideas for exchanging knowledge are at your disposal.

Powerful Course Editor

The people behind OpenOLAT take pride in the capabilities of this tool, which is not restricted to predefined structures. It has a preview feature, archive tool, decentralized user management, and many more to give you freedom in implementing any didactic concept.

Plans And Pricing

There two free and two paid packages, starting at $250 per month. These packages differ in the number of users and courses, disk space, data volume available, and other extras.

10. Opigno

This open source eLearning platform allows you to manage your online training and efficiently ensure that your students’, employees’, and partners’ skills are updated according to your needs. Opigno is designed for companies, corporations, and universities looking to become eLearning solutions that are flexible and easily scalable. This makes it possible for you to create engaging online training and thus manage in-house training and blended learning paths.

Module For eCommerce

This allows selling courses or subscriptions to classes. There is also time-based subscriptions management, meaning users can subscribe to one or several courses for one or several months, and renew the subscription at the expiration.

Multiple Integration

Compliant with SCORM 2004, Tin Can (xAPI), and H5P, certified LRS: Learning Locker, Watershed, Apache Solr, LDAP (Active Directory), and CAS integration. Easily scalable thanks to its internal Apps Management System.

Collaborative Tools

Interactive chat with workspaces that allow to share asynchronous messages, files, and to-do lists. Capable as a live meeting solution with screen sharing, whiteboard, and recording capabilities.

Plans And Pricing

No premium options available.

Conclusion

The future of education is unpredictable. Much has changed dramatically in this era and it will continue to change at an unprecedented rate, but one thing will always remain constant: there will be a need for education. The greatest challenge of the 21st century is to find a way to make sure that our students are receiving the education they need and deserve. These Open Source Online Teaching Platforms give us a new opportunity to take part in making this happen.

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