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Top Open Source Learning Management Systems for Workplace Learning

Learning Management Systems

The last few years have seen a lot of noise about learning experience platforms that would replace the humble learning management systems that have been used for so many years. Fortunately or unfortunately, the shift is still something that has not happened on a whole-scale level. On top of this there is too much confusion in terms of what exactly constitutes an LXP and most of the new polished interfaces and marketing campaigns are only for a more refined LMS. The topic of this blog post is not about LXPs. It is about open source learning management systems and how organizations can use them effectively to deploy learning solutions for their employees.

What is an Open Source LMS?

An open source learning management system is an LMS whose core source code is freely available for individuals or organizations to download and use to create their own learning platforms.

Why Consider an Open-Source LMS?

An open source LMS brings many benefits that can be used to great effect by an organization with a competent IT team. Let us look at some of the key benefits:

  • Limitless customization opportunities to provide the best learning experience

  • Modern and intuitive interface

  • Strong community support from developers and database administrators from all around the world, trying to help each other on forums and discussion boards

  • Significant cost benefits when compared to a paid and proprietary LMS

If you have a skilled IT team with domain experts in the chosen open source LMS, it can help your organization save time and money and have a powerful learning system ready for your organization. Do read this blog that showcases the different steps involved in LMS implementation in an organization.

Looking at Popular Open Source LMSs

The eLearning Industry website publishes a list of popular and top-ranked learning management systems on a regular basis. When one runs an online search for “open source LMS” the search results can be truly overwhelming. We have tried to simplify things for you by filtering out some of the best and most popular open source learning management systems and have listed them here.

Totara Learn

The growth of Totara LMS has been massive in the last few years. From one LMS to now running a complete talent management system and offering multiple services and products the team behind Totara is looking to break new barriers in learning tech. Totara Learn functions as an enterprise grade LMS and offers an excellent selection of features. Totara can be customized as per industry and training needs and is one of the most robust products in the market.


Moodle is known more as the standard LMS for colleges and universities but it also has a strong presence in corporate learning. Organizations looking for a simple and effective LMS without too much fuss can opt for Moodle. What makes Moodle even more attractive is its strong developer community.

Canvas LMS

Canvas by Instructure offers free and paid versions of their product. Used actively both in higher education and corporate learning, Canvas LMS offers an evolving set of highly useful features. Integration with third-party apps and its mobile app suite makes Canvas even more attractive and useful for learners.

Open edX

Open edX has something unique when compared to the other entrants in the list of LMSs. It has a large library of online courses on different topics and learning solutions devised by some of the top universities of the world are available on its platform. This makes it easier for organizations who need the training content and training delivery platform packaged together in one easy deal.

You can look at a more detailed list of different open source learning management systems at the following link - Open Source Learning Management Systems (

The Cons of Using an Open Source LMS

Akin to a coin having two sides, open source LMSs also come with a set of caveats or cons. The learning curve and skills needed to customize the original source code and tweak it as per personal requirements may be highly challenging. Unless your organization has a really strong development team, it can be a massive task.

We often confuse between free and open source. An open source product could still require paid support for query resolutions or guidance from the official support team for a quick resolution.

Always weigh in on the costs and benefits before going in for an open source LMS. An organization with a lesser number of employees to be trained could go with a simple website or a mobile app for training employees. It is when the number of people to be trained increases in number with multi-format training content that investing in a full-scale enterprise LMS makes sense.

Remember that an LMS or an LXP or a mobile learning app are all different mediums to deliver training. It is crucial to have good quality training content first. Once the content is in place finding the right medium to deliver it and taking it to your employees should be the next goal.

S4Carlisle – LMS Consulting Simplified

It can be quite confusing for L&D or HR teams to decide on which LMS to be used for internal employee or external vendor training. At S4C, we offer LMS consulting as a service and help understand your requirements to suggest the right training delivery medium or platform and recommend the best options suited to your needs. We can also help you with LMS implementation and transfer of your existing training content to the new LMS.

Our team of experts can guide you on-call and online, we also offer on-site and in-person expert LMS admin support to help train your IT team and make the transition to the new LMS easy and effective. Write to us at to learn how we can help you find the best open source or proprietary LMS for your organization.


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