Our learning management systems picks for 2022

By: RAECHEL CONOVER | Fact Checked By: JAMIE OSTROE | Updated: September 29, 2022

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Higher education institutions and businesses of all sizes also use Learning Management Systems to educate their students and onboard and train their staff. If you think your organization could reap the benefits of a learning management system, our guide will help you decide what learning management system will work best for your school or business.


Our Top Picks

  1. Absorb LMS – Best Learning Management System for Business
  2. TalentLMS – Best Learning Management System for Small Business
  3. Docebo – Best LMS for Corporate Training
  4. D2L Brightspace – Best Learning Management System for Educators
  5. Schoology – Best Learning Management System for Schools

Learning Management Systems Reviews

All the LMS systems on our list are well known in their industry and offer a range of features and options to help businesses and educational systems teach, reinforce learning, store and manage coursework, and, if needed, assess and issue certifications. We identified 85 learning management systems and narrowed the list to five vendors based on key features, pricing transparency, brand reputation, and customer service. Read our methodology section for more information about how we selected these top five picks.

absorb lms logo

Absorb LMS – Best Learning Management System for Business

Absorb LMS is one of the best LMS systems for business. It uses cloud-based technology to train employees, external partners, and customers. The interface allows many customizations and branding for the different audiences you are training, and it has the power to scale quickly with enterprise and growing businesses.

Users find the program incredibly easy – the assigned onboarding specialist makes it easy to get up and running fast, while the interface is simple and easy to understand and use.

Pros
  • Assigned onboarding specialist
  • Easy to learn and use
  • Designed to scale and grow with your business
Cons
  • Could include more streamlined workflows
  • Communication with learners could be better

Absorb LMS features

  • Formats – Share materials in several formats including webinars, documents, and videos.
  • Social learning – Users can create a social profile, rate courses, and connect with other learners.
  • Testing and reporting – Track and test learner activities, progress towards goals, and overall competency on topics
  • Certifications – Certifications and social profile badges are available.
  • Course library – Create and manage your own courses, or choose from thousands of pre-built online courses to keep staff skills current and compliant.

What markets does Absorb LMS serve?

Absorb LMS is one of the best LMS systems for business. It works well with any company looking to train employees, customers, and vendor partners. While it works best with enterprise businesses, it can also grow and scale with smaller businesses planning rapid growth.

Read our full Absorb LMS review

talentlms logo

TalentLMS – Best Learning Management System for Small Business

Designed for training success, TalentLMS is a go-to for businesses that want to customize and manage their trainings. By providing aligned training to any team in every setting, for any use, the goal is that training is embraced and not looked at as a chore. Guidance and support are provided the whole way, making it a seamless experience.

Users find TalentLMS one of the most affordable and feature-rich platforms available. One customer says it enables his business to be very responsive to their clients, and many find it hands down the best learning management system for small business.

Pros
  • Free version available
  • Rich in features offered for the price
  • Cross-device compatibility
Cons
  • No phone support
  • Some delays in the enrollment process

Talent LMS features

  • Formats – Offer your learning materials on mobile devices and tablets, with video, presentations and documents as ways to view them. Also, invite learners to live and in-person trainings.
  • Social learning – Invite your learners to video conferences, start discussions, and gamify your courses with awards and badges.
  • Testing and reporting – Create learning pathways and completion parameters for guided learning and issue quizzes, tests, and assignments.
  • Certifications – Hand out custom certifications based on testing and course completion.
  • Course library – Group content into categories to make it easier for users to find.

What markets does TalentLMS serve?

TalentLMS is a feature-rich program at an affordable price point. The free version is perfect for small businesses with up to five users and ten courses, while small businesses will find the Standard plan feature-rich and very affordable.

Read our TalentLMS review

docebo logo

Docebo – Best LMS for Corporate Training

If you are a large enterprise company looking for fast onboarding and employee and customer development, Docebo delivers. Docebo has features and add-ons that enhance your internal and external learning processes. The AI-powered platform supports learning in multiple environments with many integrations and automation opportunities such as virtual coaching, auto-tagging, and content suggestions.

There are many things users love about Docebo. It’s a turnkey experience with customization that gives companies complete control allowing them to bend the program to meet their specific learning needs. One user even credits it to their success in creating a learning culture.

Pros
  • Extremely customizable
  • Turnkey experience
  • Many integrations and automation features
Cons
  • Add-ons can add up
  • Occasional slow support response times

Docebo features

  • Formats – Choose from various formats, from webinars to video training and a mobile app.
  • Social learning – Encourage collaboration and knowledge sharing with user-generated content, discussion forums, gamification, and more.
  • Testing and reporting – Align your employee needs to your business needs with automated reskilling and upskilling.
  • Certifications – Includes many free extensions like certifications.
  • Course library – Create and sell your own online learning courses, integrate with pre-made courses, and create audience-specific learning.

What markets does Docebo serve?

Docebo works best for corporations with 500+ learners. It’s designed to scale up to thousands of learners and integrate with over 400 programs.

d2l logo

D2L Brightspace – Best Learning Management System for Educators

Brightspace is a powerful learning management system that accommodates learners of all ages and education levels. Available with an education side and a corporate learning site, we found it better suited to education and educators. It’s a great educational tool because it provides many different learning formats so that learning can be a personalized experience. Regardless of the education level you’re working with, onboarding and support are included.

Users love that the platform is very visually appealing overall. It keeps courses organized and allows educators to create beautifully visual learning opportunities in their courses. As an added perk, users say all the modules work seamlessly together, and customer support is spot on.

Pros
  • Ability to create beautiful, visual displays to aid in learning
  • Visually organized courses that are easy to navigate
  • Easy for students and educators to use
Cons
  • Glitchy at times
  • Can’t edit classes in bulk

D2L Brightspace features

  • Formats – A mobile-first design accessible on any device, educators can upload existing content or create their own visually appealing content. Blended learning is supported, and video assignments, as well as virtual classrooms, are available.
  • Social learning – Students can create their own portfolio and document and share their learning journey. Forums are also available for group discussions and projects.
  • Testing and reporting – Educators can connect their curriculum expectations to courses and assignments to grade based on expectations. Progress dashboard shows and tracks classes and student performance.
  • Certifications – Available on the corporate learning side of D2L Brightspace.
  • Course library – Design your own courses and content and keep them organized in a visual, easy-to-navigate way.

What markets does D2L Brightspace serve?

D2L Brightspace is a great learning management system for various users, especially educators. It allows educators to create unique, visually appealing learning experiences for the individual learner.

schoology logo

Schoology – Best Learning Management System for Schools

Schoology by PowerSchool allows school districts to unify content across the district while connecting students, parents, and educators on one platform for better communication, collaboration, and engagement. Teachers can create their own content and share with the district or pull content from the district and individualize it to meet their classroom or individual students’ needs.

Users view Schoology as a one-stop-shop platform that wraps everything you need in the best learning management system for schools. It makes it easy to move between classroom work, remote work, and hybrid learning while keeping the district connected and collaborative.

Pros
  • Create and share content district-wide
  • Encourages collaboration
  • Individualize content to meet student needs
  • Quickly move between classroom and remote settings
Cons
  • Delays and breaks in connectivity/service
  • Differing interfaces for students and parents can be confusing

Schoology features

  • Formats – Comes integrated with over 200 education tools, platforms, and student information systems.
  • Social learning – Parents, students, and teachers can all communicate and collaborate on one platform, along with video tools, small group chats, and more.
  • Testing and reporting – Test, quiz, and assess students, then pull data from all the schools in the district to view, analyze, and compare per school, per classroom, and per individual student.
  • Certifications – Not applicable on the education side.
  • Course library – Educators can build courses and curriculums, share them with the district, and allow other educators to seamlessly add them to their content.

What markets does Schoology serve?

Schoology is one of the best learning management systems for schools in the K-12 age group. It incorporates the district as a whole and allows data collection and assessment from the district level all the way down to the individual student. It encourages district-wide communication and collaboration as well as collaboration and communication between parents, students, and educators.

Read our full Schoology review

Compare the best learning management systems side-by-side

Software Name Why we picked It Starting price for cheapest plan Highlights
Absorb LMS Best LMS for Business Request a quote Easy to use interface that trains internal and external employees, vendors, and clients worldwide.
TalentLMS Best LMS for Small Business Free or $69 per month (billed annually) Feature-rich at the most affordable prices.
Docebo Best LMS for Corporate Training $25,000 per year (per a 3rd party site) Over 400 integration and automations to scale to large corporate onboarding and training needs.
D2L Brightspace Best LMS for Educators $9,500 per year (per a 3rd party site) Very visual program that allows educators to create and assign content that is visually appealing and individualized to the learner.
Schoology Best LMS for School Request a quote Encourages cross-district collaboration and communications as well as parent engagement.

What is a learning management system?

A learning management system is a program that allows companies and education systems to create coursework and lessons, distribute these lessons electronically, manage students and staff taking the course, test them on their knowledge, and issue certifications if applicable. While learning management systems will never replace classroom work, they are growing in popularity. They have become a quick and efficient way to provide educational materials to employees, students, and even customers who need them. Learning management system examples include programs like our top five picks: Absorb LMS, D2l Brightspace, Docebo, Talent LMS, and Schoology.

Who uses learning management systems?

Learning management systems grew in popularity during the COVID-19 pandemic when schools worldwide were forced to take their learning remote. And they aren’t slowing down anytime soon. In fact, Fortune Business Insights reports that the learning management system market size grew at an unprecedented rate in 2020 and is projected to grow from $16.19 billion in 2022 to $40.95 billion by 2029. And these days, it’s not just educators using learning management systems. The following find learning management systems useful:

  • Educational systems use learning management systems to support other teaching programs they have in place. The ability to develop lessons and courses and use videos, flashcards and interactive quizzes mean that educational systems can reinforce subjects and ideas and provide a well-rounded learning experience at an affordable rate. Those in education will like Schoology and D2L Brightspace. Schoology is great for K-12 students, while Brightspace can accommodate lower grades and higher education learners.
  • Small to enterprise businesses use learning management systems to educate their employees. Businesses use learning management systems to develop their training courses, manage their own material in a course library, and give quizzes and issue certificates based on the results. LMS systems for business mean that companies can distribute training materials to employees worldwide quickly and efficiently. TalentLMS is an excellent option for small businesses and even has a feature-rich free version very small businesses can use. Absorb LMS is better suited to enterprises and large companies that will benefit from the thousands of pre-built classes that keep staff compliant and educated no matter their location. At the same time, Docebo is great for corporate training with its many integrations and automation opportunities.

What do learning management systems do?

The main premise of all learning management systems is to provide education. Learning management systems work for students, educators, and companies to keep their employees well trained. Depending on which group you fall under, different systems might be a better fit and more catered to your needs.

Provide education

Learning management systems allow you to distribute your coursework and training to your audience on their mobile devices and desktops.

Coursework and training organization

Whether you create your own coursework and training or purchase them, you can manage them and keep them organized in your own library of classes and courses.

Track and analyze data

The best learning management system will assess learning and track scores so that you can analyze data to see how students or employees are progressing. For businesses, it will also allow you to issue certificates of completion for required training and indicate who needs to review the coursework again for better understanding.

Benefits of a learning management system

There are many benefits to learning management systems. The biggest is the ability to provide education and employee training when in-person learning is not possible or when employees or students are spread out in many locations.

Learning management systems also support in-person learning by reinforcing ideas and concepts through quizzes and games. Some also bring a social element into learning by encouraging group discussions and engagement to reinforce topics.

The best learning management system also aids in the organization of your learning materials. Online coursework libraries provide one central location to house all your learning materials while giving groups and people access at your discretion.

How much do learning management systems cost?

Learning management systems bill based on functionality and the program’s number of users. Typically, the more users, the more functionality required and the higher the cost. Companies can expect to pay either monthly or annually. If annually is selected, the price is generally lower. Not many learning management systems offer free versions, but TalentLMS does for up to five users and ten courses.

Software Name Monthly Cost Annual Cost Free Trial
TalentLMS $89 when billed monthly $69 per month when billed annually A free version is available for up to 5 users and 10 courses
D2L Brightspace $9,500 30 day trial
Docebo $25,000 14 day trial

Learning management system FAQ

What is learning management system?
A learning management system or LMS is a cloud-based program that supports learning and training programs. LMS systems offer courses, content, quizzes, assessments, opportunities for social learning, and ways administrators can collect and analyze data, handing out certifications as necessary. They are typically used in education systems, corporate training, and business for employee, vendor, and customer education on products and topics.

What is the best LMS system?
The best LMS system is one that is a good fit for your organization. Educators, for example, will love D2L Brightspace for the ability to create content that suits individual learning styles. At the same time, school districts in the K-12 space will appreciate Schoology‘s ability to share content across the district. Businesses with fewer than five users and ten courses will love TalentLMS because it has a feature-rich free version. At the same time, corporate training is best suited to Docebo, and large enterprise businesses will get the most out of Absorb LMS.

What is the best LMS for education?
There are several good LMS systems for education. Knowing your educational needs will help you make the best choice in an LMS for education. Educators will appreciate D2L Brightspace, which is compatible with higher education and K-12 age groups, while Schoology is best suited for schools and school districts supporting grades K-12.

How we chose the best learning management systems

We curated a list of 85 learning management systems available today and identified 15 of the most popular vendors to narrow our focus. From there, we chose five vendors based on the features they offer, their brand reputation with users, pricing, and customer support options.

We collect information from vendors and verify it through:

  • Company interviews
  • Customer and expert reviews
  • Vendor and parent company websites

We scored companies on a scale of 1 (poor) to 5 (excellent) across the following criteria, each worth 25% of our total score:

  • Variety of features: We looked for services that offered various learning format delivery, social learning, learner testing and reporting, content library and management, SCROM compliant, and for businesses, the ability to create certifications. A company scores higher when it offers all these features because it means learning is more effective.
  • Pricing transparency: We not only compare actual pricing for each learning management system, but also assess how readily available this information is. Companies that are straightforward and list their monthly or annual prices, as well as offer a free trial period, scored higher in this section than companies that don’t share this information without a customized quote.
  • Customer support: We looked for companies that offered multiple ways to access customer support, including onboarding, live chats, email, and a dedicated customer service line. Services that included all these features scored highest in this section.
  • Brand reputation: We studied what customers said about each company. Reviews and ratings from trustworthy review sites were compiled into a percentage rating to get a sense of each vendor’s brand reputation.