In the current times of uncertainty, more and more companies are looking for alternatives to train their employees or increase their knowledge. Thanks to the development of technology, the best LMS or Learning Management System, for its acronym in English, is a solid alternative to face-to-face and traditional training that we are all used to.
Just a few years ago, these online learning management systems were heavy, poorly optimized systems that made the user cold, but thanks to advances in educational and e-learning standards , today they are a real and necessary alternative.
What is an LMS?
Entering fully into the matter, the acronym LMS refers to a Learning Management System in virtual classrooms, managed from different platforms that provide their services to academic institutions and companies.
Each of these LMS platforms have their own characteristics, and their particular educational method, which depending on the needs of the user company, or the student who uses it, may be more or less adequate for the purposes pursued.
There are Open Source or Open Source LMS, and proprietary software. There are those that operate in the cloud, and those that require knowledgeable personnel for their maintenance and deployment. There are LMS that bet on a Gamification system, with rewards and levels, and the classic and much more institutional ones. In short, we have an LMS for almost any taste. Find the best online learning platforms.
What are LMS platforms used for?
Once the first approach to the world of what E-Learning platforms is has been made, we may be assailed by the question of what they are used for. Many companies lack the budget to access a collaboration agreement with training institutions, or simply the cost of mobilizing staff to send them to regular training is unaffordable.
However, any employer wants their employees to be well trained, in order to improve performance in the company. Well-trained staff is a sure value for a business.
Companies have found in e-Learning, in LMS platforms, a good opportunity to keep their staff updated, at a contained cost, and with some control over the knowledge that is imparted, and how it is distributed . An LMS offers flexibility and training capacity to any company, no matter how small. Implementing an LMS can take a few weeks of work, but years of quality training.
LMS platforms are designed to be able to deliver online training systems in an interactive and entertaining way. They have tools to carry out periodic evaluations, exchange information between trainers and students or create their own content. A virtual universe at the service of training.
For its part, the use at a particular level opens a new horizon for those who want to continue training in their field, without having to give up their time or money. Training through the best LMS will always be cheaper than face-to-face , and that means that many potential students who do not consider taking a course or face-to-face training take the leap.
The flexibility of schedules in classes, not being subject to strict time control, or the fact of having to waste time traveling, are factors that make more and more students (or workers) opt for these e-platforms. -Learning.
What advantages and disadvantages does an LMS have?
But far from being perfect, like any system, LMSs have a series of advantages and disadvantages , both by themselves and their nature, as well as with respect to traditional education methods.
Synthesizing the pros of the LMS, we can state emphatically that they are a way of opening up education, professional retraining, and knowledge to anyone. On the other hand, the access barriers that open the doors to these Learning Management Systems are much more accessible, both due to schedules, cost and requirements.
As cons , the LMS essentially have two:
- Lack of personal contact . The physical guidance of a teacher who advises us on how we are advancing in the studies, or on how to face certain aspects of the studies, is necessary to successfully face training.
- The technological barrier . While the younger generations do not have a major problem with this (and we have seen this during this pandemic, with traditional schools making the leap to the online world), people of a certain age are reluctant to make the leap, or have difficulties to interact with these virtual educational platforms.
What types of LMS platforms are there?
We can divide LMS into two large groups. Those of open code , or OPEN SOURCE and those of Proprietary Software , or SAAS (Software as a Service)
Open Source LMS
Open source LMS are platforms developed in an open way. Its code is free and the community has access to it. That means that any company that wants to use it, can adapt this LMS to their specific needs , and add or remove resources according to their wishes. This has a number of clear advantages over SAAS platforms. Another point in favor is that OpenSource E-Learning platforms are usually free, or you only have to make a small payment at the time of installation. There are NO more hidden costs.
But since all that glitters could not be gold, these open source Virtual Classrooms have their drawbacks: on the one hand, a certain knowledge is needed to modify this platform according to our needs, in addition, the maintenance is the responsibility of the person who acquires it and customer support is essentially non-existent . On the other hand, the software update is at the mercy of the community and what it develops. Perhaps the LMS you purchased has a security hole, but until the community detects it and gets down to work to fix the bug, it can take months.
For their part, SAAS have certain advantages over Open Source LMS. First, they are platforms that are normally Ready to Use . You hire their services, decide what structure and appearance you want your company’s classroom, or your educational center, to have, and that’s it. It can be used now. No need to start creating administrator profiles and dozens of files for teachers, students, payments… You don’t worry about all that. On the other hand, they are much more up-to-date platforms, both in terms of security and user interface , without forgetting customer and user service. You pay for not worrying about those aspects of everyday life.
Given the advantages, we can think that the SAAS LMS are the winners of this contest, however, let’s go with their cons. SAAS are closed systems . We will have to adapt ourselves to that platform and to what it offers us. If we want to implement something, we will have to go through opening a ticket, talking to customer service, so that, perhaps, in the end we cannot do what we wanted. On the other hand, we have no control over the code, and we will never know what is hidden in it. Finally, remember that we will have to pay, on many occasions, an initial payment for access, and annual or monthly fees to keep the platform active. A delay in a payment may lead to the closure of our classroom.
The best open source LMS
Once the details of the LMS have been explained, here I leave you, the ones that in my opinion, based on my personal experience, are the best Open Source LMS today.
eLeaP LMS platform with the ability to support multiple channels for different types of users: resellers, dealers, internal employees and external students, etc. Support for multiple learning portals, types of authorizations, a deployed administration network, integration with CRM (automated customer interaction management system) .
|► full-featured reportingwith the ability to createyour own reports;► certificate management;► support for SCORM, xAPI;► catalog of courses;► creation of registration rules;► curriculum;► MOOC constructor;||► the possibility of trainingexternal students;► blog;► course store;► the ability to connectmultiple domains;► gamification;► notifications;► access rights.|